Convicted felons have a hard time finding a property for rent. Be it a well-paying job or a suitable apartment to live in, both looks nearly impossible for a felon to find.
Whenever there is an apartment available for rent, landlords tend to eliminate those with a poor record. A criminal record stays with you for a long time and it is the harsh truth you have to live with.
According to some resources, most of the felons get arrested again within a year after release. This happens because of unemployment and discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives. There are however a lot of ways to get out of it. All you need is a proper set of instructions to follow.
This guide will help you find a suitable property to rent even if you are a convicted felon. So, let’s dive straight into it –
Online Platforms for Property Rentals
Many landlords are shifting towards these online platforms to find a suitable tenant for their apartment. People explain their needs in the description which helps both the landlord and tenant understand the requirements. There are however some online platforms to find a felony friendly apartment.
All you have to do is a little bit of research and one fine day, you’ll surely land a perfect apartment’s page.
Here’s the list of websites you must use –
Zillow is among the most popular website where you will find a large list of properties for rent. You will have to however pass through the screening and background check for most of the properties. Many landlords and tenants use this free service to rent out their properties.
You just have to set your filter to properties and landlords who don’t run a background check. You might not be able to find that many properties under this filter but it will ease the process. Background and credit checks are run through Checkr which is a safe and trusted tool.
It consumes a lot of time talking to agents and talking them through your worse days. Well, this platform gives you a chance to contact the landlord directly and talk to them about your needs. There might however be some properties where they don’t run a background check.
As to make your case personally to your landlord, this platform allows you to talk directly without beating around the bust with an agent. Just filter the search with your price range and requirements for the property.
Blending in with society after being out in the bars can be pretty hard. Well, this will surely feel less if you have a person around to share things. Bungalow is one such website where you can get your hands on some of the best shared accommodation.
Also, there won’t be any apartment or a big building here, you just have to share a single room with someone unknown. This might sound a little off but you can make some good friends who fit in the outside world. They just need a credit score above 600 and they accept felons without any further inspection.
Zumper has a cool UI and they also have a filter that shows felony-friendly apartments. They also contain a second chance listing from where you can select a suitable apartment for yourself. Also, they don’t run any credit checks on the mentioned apartments as per the landlord.
As a whole, this is among the best places where you can get your hands on an independent apartment. Make sure you do your research right without falling into any kind of trap.
Boost Your Chances With These Amazing Tips
Now that you know the ways to search for an Apartment, you should also read out a few tips that might help increase your chances. It is not always a guarantee of getting an apartment with these online websites.
Once you have made a list of apartments you like, here are some guidelines or simple tips to help you get a decent house –
1 Reaching Out To Your Family And Friends
Your family or your friends can help you a lot while finding a property for rent. You can always spread the word through your family and friends and they will help you look for decent housing.
If you are however reaching out to a landlord through the online platforms mentioned above, your friends can co-sign or guarantee them for the rent and everything. Ask someone with a good credit score and a decent background for the same. You just have to maintain the same trust with your new landlord and pay the rent on time.
2 Private Housing
Reaching out to plenty of real estate agents to rent a property will never work out for you. Trust me, everyone prefers a non-felon as their first choice and it will never come to a person who is a felon. You can play your odds to choose an apartment outside the center of the city but most of the time it will not work out.
So, what we recommend is to reach out directly to the landlord and explain to them about your conviction and why you were behind bars. This is the best way you can prove to them why you are a good tenant and how desperately you need an apartment. Decently explain it all and talk about things that increase your chance of getting an apartment.
3 Learn New Skills
While you are searching for a new house or an apartment, it is a good idea to invest your time learning new skills. You can always go out to learn plumbing and something that your landlord can use to repair around the house or to mow the lawn in your free time.
In the meantime you do it for your landlord, you can turn it into full-time work pretty soon. This will give you a place to live and also a good job which makes you a pretty good amount of money and hence improves your credit score.
4 Relocate To A New Place
Relocating seems a lot harder when you are out in the world after long years. Well, trust us; it won’t be healthy for you to live in the same neighborhood you grew up in after being behind the bars for years.
It is also pretty hard to find a house around your neighborhood and you can increase your chances by looking at properties farther away from the city center. Consider a place where you can get a good job and a suitable apartment to live happily.
5 Re-Entry Programs
Re-Entry programs are running throughout the nation and you can always find any of that currently running. These programs help felons to find a suitable apartment and jobs after being released from prison.
You can ask your parole officer or some non-profits around you to learn about currently running Re-Entry programs. Get in touch with them and use their network to find jobs and decent housing. You can also use the internet and your phone to look up these programs around you. Find the contact number and get in touch with them to ease the process.
6 Government Assistance
The government runs a lot of free housing programs and offices where you can get a better option. There is a huge list for these rentals and they help out felons to get a property. You just need to visit a local office to give in your name and requirements. Within a few weeks, they will give you a call regarding the same and you can proceed after that.
Felons who have been convicted of something violent and related to sex are not eligible for this program. Moreover, you can get a list of felony-friendly apartments from these offices and you can use the same network to find a suitable place to live in.
7 Hire An Agent
If you can afford some more amount of money, we recommend you to hire an agent for your search. Well, we know we told you that agents are to be avoided but not when you are hiring them. They always find a way to get things and in this case, they will help you find good apartments that are felon-friendly.
We know they work with core members of the real estate industry and they have a better knowledge of available apartments. Just look for a trusty agent in your budget and start exploring some cool apartments for yourself.
Working as a volunteer for some community or a non-profit organization can help boost up your ethics. This will do the magic for sure and you can always talk about working in these organizations while looking for a property.
Not just that, during this time, you will meet a lot of people while volunteering and you can spread the word through them. We are pretty much on the positive side that they will help you find a good job and apartment.
Background Checks and How to Mitigate a Criminal History?
Background checks are legal and a landlord has the right to reject a tenant with a criminal history. These checks contain everything about your past from the time you completed your education to your convictions.
It also includes proper information about your credit score and a minimum of 620 scores is important to rent an apartment.
You can always however do something to improve your credit ranking. It seems pretty impossible for someone to come out after several years without a single transaction.
But, with proper guidance and tips, you can always overcome that.
Here’s how –
- Search for a credit advisor to help you get through this phase
- Start saving your daily wages
- Get yourself a credit card after you get a job and pay bills on time
- Consult a bank and take up small loans that you can afford
- Pay all the installments on time or before to boost your credit score
These tips will always help you get through this time and within a few weeks, your credit score will reflect way higher than just 600. After you boost up your credit score, it’s time to move on to mitigate your background check.
Mitigating a Background Check
Check out the ways mentioned below to lessen the impact of your background check –
- Record Expungement – Expungement of your record or sealing off your records will erase your convictions to almost everyone. Only a few authorities will be allowed to see your record and it is also possible for you to never talk about being a felon. Your crimes however must qualify the eligibility law enforcement needs for sealing off the records.
- Co-Signer – Remember we talked about reaching out to your friends and family? Well, this is where they can help you get your hands on decent housing. A co-signer or a guarantor is someone who signs the papers along with you as a roommate or tenant taking the same responsibility as you. Always ask someone with a good credit score to help you out here. This will provide a good impression on your personality and as a result, your landlord will trust you better.
- Let Your Money do the Talking – Money is a great tool and it always works when the doors shut close. Every landlord wants a lump sum amount of money for their house or apartment. You just need to offer them the rent for several coming months if that falls under the tour budget. This will ease the whole process and maybe you will not even be asked about your background check.
Getting an apartment on rent depends on the first impression you give to the landlord. The way you talk and the way you communicate with people tells a lot about you. It however gets hard when you are out there to find an apartment as a felon.
We hope this guide helped you gather all the important information. We hope you can find your dream apartment and settle in with your family. Good luck in your search for a suitable apartment.