How to Find Housing for Felons

By Kesha Ward
Over time, the practice of conducting a criminal background check as part of the applicant screening process has increased.

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Convicted felons face many challenges when attempting to reintegrate themselves into the free society. There are barriers to employment, education, voting and obtaining housing. Although there may be some landlords who do not conduct a criminal background check, there are other requirements for renting that a felon may not possess. Not having a solid work record, responsible credit history or rental history can present a problem. Some landlords do take the extra step and conduct criminal history checks. In this case, a person with a felonious past may either be denied housing or have to prove they will be a responsible tenant.

Finding Housing for Felons

Speak with your parole officer. If you have recently been released, contact your parole officer for referrals. He may know of landlords or apartment communities that would be willing to rent to you despite your past.

Do research on your own. Contact apartment communities in your area and inquire about their application screening requirements. If they conduct a criminal background investigation as part of their process, inquire whether a felony conviction automatically disqualifies you or if they base their approval for tenancy on a combination of factors. If they do not conduct a criminal background check and you meet all other criteria, you should have no problem getting approved.

Not all landlords conduct criminal background checks, but almost all will want to see your consumer credit report. Before applying for housing, access your own credit report and clear up any negative entries. Your credit report provides a picture of how well you meet your financial obligations. You will also need a verifiable source of income. Many landlords like to see that tenants make enough to cover the cost of rent by anywhere from two to three times the monthly rent. Be prepared to provide references and information about past residences. If you have ever been evicted from a residence, you may have a difficult time convincing a landlord to rent to you.

Complete an application for tenancy. Complete the application thoroughly and honestly. If the application has a section for criminal background information, only give information requested. Do not give details of your conviction unless you are personally asked by the landlord.

About the Author

Kesha Ward has been a professional writer since 2010. With a Bachelor of Science in applied economics, she brings more than a decade of experience in public finance.

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