Can A Felon Rent An Apartment

Write admin Wed, 04 Oct 23

Can A Felon Rent An Apartment


When it comes to finding a place to live, one of the most common questions that felons have is whether they can rent an apartment. The answer to this question is not always straightforward, as it depends on a variety of factors. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the topic of felons renting apartments and provide valuable insights and information to help felons navigate this challenging situation.

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Felons in Renting an Apartment

Being a felon comes with a unique set of challenges, and finding suitable housing is definitely one of them. Landlords and property management companies often conduct background checks on potential tenants, and this can be a significant obstacle for individuals with a criminal record. However, it is important to note that not all hope is lost. There are several strategies and resources available that can increase the chances of a felon successfully renting an apartment.

1. The Impact of a Felony Conviction on Apartment Rental

When a landlord or property management company conducts a background check, they typically look for criminal history, including felony convictions. Unfortunately, having a felony conviction on your record can negatively impact your chances of securing an apartment. Landlords may view felons as high-risk tenants and may be hesitant to rent to them. However, it is essential to remember that every situation is unique, and there are landlords who are willing to give felons a second chance.

2. Overcoming the Stigma of a Felony Conviction

One of the biggest challenges for felons seeking to rent an apartment is overcoming the stigma associated with their criminal record. There is often a bias against individuals with felony convictions, and this can make the rental process more difficult. However, there are steps that felons can take to present themselves in the best possible light and increase their chances of being approved for an apartment.

Here are some strategies that can help felons overcome the stigma:

  • Provide character references: Having reputable individuals who can vouch for your character and reliability can make a significant difference. Ask former employers, probation officers, or community leaders to write letters of recommendation on your behalf.
  • Be honest and upfront: When filling out rental applications, be honest about your criminal history. Trying to conceal your past will only lead to more significant problems down the line. Instead, take the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding your conviction and highlight any positive changes you have made since then.
  • Offer to pay an increased deposit or provide a co-signer: By offering to pay a higher security deposit or having a co-signer with good credit, felons can demonstrate their commitment to fulfilling their rental obligations.

Legal Considerations for Felons Renting an Apartment

1. Federal Fair Housing Act

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status. However, it does not specifically address discrimination against individuals with a criminal record. While some states and cities have laws in place to protect felons from housing discrimination, it is essential to research the specific laws in your location.

2. Landlord's Discretion

Ultimately, the decision to rent to a felon is at the landlord's discretion. They have the right to deny housing based on a criminal record, as long as it does not violate any fair housing laws. This means that even if you meet all the requirements and present a strong case, a landlord may still choose not to rent to you due to your conviction.

Strategies for Finding Felon-Friendly Apartments

While finding an apartment as a felon may be challenging, it is not impossible. There are several strategies that felons can employ to increase their chances of finding a felon-friendly apartment.

1. Look for Private Rentals

Private rentals, such as those offered by individual landlords or small property management companies, are often more lenient when it comes to renting to felons. These landlords may be more willing to consider your individual circumstances and give you a chance.

2. Seek Assistance from Reentry Programs

Reentry programs are designed to help individuals with criminal records reintegrate into society successfully. These programs often provide resources and support for finding housing, including connections to landlords who are willing to rent to felons. Reach out to local reentry programs in your area to explore the available options.

3. Utilize Online Resources

There are several online resources and platforms specifically designed to help felons find housing. These platforms connect felons with landlords who are open to renting to individuals with criminal records. Research and utilize these resources to expand your housing options.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a felon be denied an apartment?

Yes, a felon can be denied an apartment based on their criminal record. Landlords have the right to deny housing based on a felony conviction, as long as it does not violate any fair housing laws.

2. Is it legal for a landlord to discriminate against felons?

The legality of discriminating against felons varies depending on the jurisdiction. While some states and cities have laws in place to protect felons from housing discrimination, others do not have specific protections. It is essential to research and understand the laws in your location.

3. Can a felon rent an apartment in public housing?

Public housing authorities often have policies in place that restrict individuals with certain criminal records from renting in public housing. However, the specific regulations vary depending on the jurisdiction. It is crucial to contact your local public housing authority for detailed information.

4. Can a felon's record affect their roommate's ability to rent?

When applying for an apartment with a roommate, the landlord may conduct background checks on all individuals. If one of the roommates has a felony conviction, it could potentially impact the approval process. It is advisable to discuss the situation openly with potential roommates and landlords.

5. Are there any resources available to help felons find housing?

Yes, there are resources available to help felons find housing. Reentry programs, online platforms, and local organizations dedicated to assisting individuals with criminal records can provide valuable support and connections to felons seeking housing.

6. What can felons do to improve their chances of renting an apartment?

Felons can take several steps to improve their chances of renting an apartment:

  • Provide character references
  • Be honest and upfront about their criminal history
  • Offer to pay an increased deposit or provide a co-signer
  • Look for private rentals and utilize online resources
  • Seek assistance from reentry programs


While renting an apartment as a felon may present challenges, it is not an impossible task. By understanding the obstacles they may face and implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, felons can increase their chances of finding suitable housing. It is crucial for felons to remain persistent, honest, and proactive in their pursuit of renting an apartment. With determination and the right resources, felons can successfully navigate the rental process and secure a place to call home.

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