Top Apartments That Accept Felons: A Guide to Finding Your Fresh Start

Are you facing obstacles in finding an apartment due to a felony conviction? You’re not alone, and there are options. This guide outlines the apartments that accept felons and practical steps to enhance your application, connect with understanding landlords, and tap into supportive community networks—all to secure the roof over your head that you need and deserve.

Key Takeaways

Small Landlord Opportunities

Finding a home with a felony conviction can indeed be a challenge. Many landlords, especially those of large apartment complexes or property management companies, may be reluctant to rent to felons because of perceived risks. But all is not lost! There are landlords out there who, understanding the complexity of life situations, are willing to give you a chance.

Small landlords, particularly those with fewer properties, can be more accommodating than property managers. They might forego rigorous background checks, especially if you demonstrate financial stability and meet deposit requirements. Now, let’s explore how you can connect with these landlords and increase your chances of securing a nice place to live.

Utilizing Online Platforms

Online platforms have revolutionized the way we find housing. Websites like Craigslist, Zillow, and Realtor feature listings from independent property owners who may be more open to renting to individuals with criminal backgrounds. They often offer private landlord listings, which can be more accommodating than large property management companies. Utilizing an apartment locator can also help streamline the process of finding the perfect rental for your needs.

By leveraging these online platforms, you can increase your chances of finding felony-friendly apartments. They provide a great tool to help you bypass the traditional rental market, where criminal background checks can be a significant barrier.

Networking Through Friends and Family

Who knows you better than your friends and family? If you’re looking for a landlord who’s open to renting to felons, starting with your personal network can be a great strategy. Your loved ones may know of landlords who are more understanding and flexible, offering rental opportunities that might not be publicly advertised.

Don’t limit yourself to just immediate family and friends. Church members and other individuals in your community network can often provide unexpected leads to private landlords willing to rent to felons. Every connection counts!

Local Community Resources

Local community resources can be a treasure trove of opportunities. Churches and faith-based organizations often have programs aimed at helping individuals in need, including those with a criminal history. They might even have connections with property owners who are willing to rent to individuals looking for a second chance.

Non-profit organizations and advocacy groups can also be very helpful. They work tirelessly to support the transitions of previously incarcerated individuals into stable housing situations and focus on changing policies to increase access to housing for people with felony convictions.

Reentry Programs and Government Support

Government support can be a life-saver for those with felony convictions. Despite the lack of legal protection for felons seeking housing, there are numerous government reentry programs designed to help felons secure housing after incarceration.

Programs like the Reentry Partnership Housing initiative provide grants for permanent supportive housing, and organizations like Virginia CARES offer counseling and service referrals. Let’s delve a bit deeper into how these programs, along with public housing authorities, reentry organizations, and parole officers, can help you secure a home.

Public Housing Authorities

Public housing authorities are a beacon of hope for many felons. They offer housing assistance to low-income individuals, including those with criminal records. While they prioritize those with disabilities and particular age groups, they also consider factors like the nature and recency of an applicant’s felony.

Programs like Section 8 provide financial aid to low-income individuals for renting privately-owned residences, which can be considered a form of affordable housing. These programs can open up a whole new range of possibilities for felons seeking housing.

Reentry Organizations

Reentry organizations play a significant role in aiding those recently released from incarceration. They provide a range of support services that extend beyond just housing assistance, including job training, counseling, and help with demonstrating rehabilitation.

Some of these organizations also offer sober living environments or step-down options. These programs focus on gradual reintegration into society, providing a safe and supportive space for individuals to rebuild their lives after incarceration.

Parole Officers and Government Referrals

Your parole officer can be a great ally in your housing search. They have access to a wealth of resources and can provide you with a list of housing options known to be felon friendly housing. They can also connect you to re-entry programs that offer comprehensive support, including housing assistance.

Government referrals can also play a crucial role. They can connect you with organizations and programs equipped to help you navigate the housing market as a felon. So, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and tap into these resources!

Sober Living and Transitional Housing

Transitional housing options, such as halfway houses and residential reentry centers, can provide a temporary solution for those who’ve recently been incarcerated or are recovering from substance abuse. These programs extend beyond just providing shelter by offering case management services like counseling and job training.

Organizations like The Fortune Society and The Osborne Association in New York City offer transitional or permanent supportive housing. However, these programs often require the individual to be otherwise homeless to qualify. So, it’s essential to explore your eligibility and find a program that meets your needs.

Alternative Rental Options

While traditional rental applications may pose challenges, there are alternative options that can help you secure housing without the burden of monthly rent. From buying a house to short-term rentals and roommate arrangements, these options can provide a way around the rigorous background checks that bar many felons from securing a lease.

Let’s explore these alternative options in more detail, starting with subletting, moving on to roommate arrangements, and wrapping up with extended stay hotels and motels.


Subletting is a strategy that allows individuals with criminal records to bypass the rigorous background checks common with traditional leases. This strategy involves renting from an existing tenant rather than directly from a property manager or landlord, which can be a more temporary and flexible arrangement.

Online platforms such as Craigslist can be a great resource for finding subletting opportunities. Many listings are posted by individuals instead of large property management companies, making it an effective way to connect directly with potential landlords.

Roommate Arrangements

Roommate arrangements can provide another viable housing strategy for individuals with felony convictions. By living with a friend, or finding a roommate through platforms, you can bypass the more stringent rental application processes.

There are many platforms that can help you find a roommate situation. Some popular platforms include:

It’s important to note that each platform has its own policies and procedures for screening potential roommates. Be sure to research and choose a platform that aligns with your preferences and safety requirements.

Whether you’re looking for a room in an existing lease or hoping to share a new place with a roommate, these arrangements can offer you a home without the need for a background check.

Extended Stay Hotels and Motels

Extended stay hotels and motels can also provide a lifeline for felons in search of housing. Offering affordable short-term stays with kitchenettes and basic amenities, these establishments can provide a temporary solution without the need for a criminal background check.

While not a permanent solution, extended stay hotels and motels can offer a safe and comfortable space to live while you continue your search for long-term housing. Their month-to-month rental options can provide the flexibility you need during this transition period.

Strengthening Your Rental Application

While having a felony conviction can make the rental application process more challenging, there are ways to strengthen your application and improve your chances of securing housing. From showcasing rehabilitation to enlisting a co-signer, these strategies can help you present yourself in the best light to potential landlords.

Let’s delve deeper into specific strategies to strengthen your rental application, beginning with the importance of honesty and transparency when you pay rent, followed by demonstrating rehabilitation and growth, and concluding with the benefits of enlisting a co-signer.

Honesty and Transparency

Honesty is the best policy, especially when dealing with potential landlords. Being upfront about your criminal history when applying for rentals shows sincerity and can be seen as a sign of responsibility.

Proper disclosure etiquette involves respectfully and accurately providing information about your criminal history. This practice can help prevent defensiveness and foster a transparent dialogue with potential landlords, improving your chances of securing a lease.

Demonstrating Rehabilitation and Growth

Your past doesn’t define you, and demonstrating personal growth and rehabilitation can make your rental application more appealing. Engaging in education or vocational training can be evidence of your commitment to change post-conviction.

Consider providing documentation such as employment records, character references, and certificates from rehabilitation programs. These can showcase your responsible conduct and commitment to personal growth, painting a more positive picture for potential landlords.

Enlisting a Co-Signer

A co-signer can be a game-changer in your housing search. By vouching for your reliability, a co-signer with good credit can help overcome hesitancy from potential landlords.

Using a co-signer can significantly improve your chances of securing an apartment rental as a felon. It reassures the landlord by providing the financial backing that may be needed due to the barriers faced after a criminal conviction.

Expungement and Record Sealing

Expungement and record sealing can be powerful tools to improve your housing and employment opportunities. Expungement involves the removal of arrests and/or convictions from your criminal record, while sealed criminal records are removed from public view but can still be accessed through a court order.

Obtaining an expungement or sealing can involve some costs, but it may not be as expensive as some assume, potentially making it a viable option if you’re eligible for these procedures. Moreover, states and localities are increasingly adopting ‘clean slate’ laws to automate the process, making it more accessible.


Navigating the rental market as a felon can be a daunting task. However, understanding your options can make the process significantly less intimidating. From small landlords to reentry programs and alternative rental options, there are plenty of avenues to explore. Strengthening your rental application through honesty, demonstrating rehabilitation and growth, and enlisting a co-signer can also improve your chances. Lastly, expungement and record sealing can greatly enhance your ability to secure housing.

The journey towards finding a home after a felony conviction may be filled with challenges, but remember, every step you take brings you closer to a fresh start. Keep pushing forward and never lose hope. With determination and the right resources, finding a place to call home is within your reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I find housing with a felony conviction?

Yes, it is possible to find housing with a felony conviction. There are options available, such as small landlords, reentry programs, and alternative rental options. Good luck!

What are the benefits of enlisting a co-signer?

Having a co-signer with good credit can boost your chances of securing a rental by providing financial reassurance to landlords, especially when facing barriers after a criminal conviction. It's a great way to improve your renting prospects.

Can online platforms help me find housing?

Yes, online platforms such as Craigslist, Zillow, and Realtor can be helpful in finding housing, as they feature listings from independent property owners who might be more flexible with rental criteria.

What is the importance of honesty in rental applications?

Honesty is crucial in rental applications as it demonstrates responsibility and sincerity, fostering a transparent relationship with potential landlords and improving your chances of securing a lease. So, it's important to be honest about your criminal history when applying for rentals.

What is the role of reentry programs in housing?

Reentry programs play a crucial role in assisting individuals recently released from incarceration by providing comprehensive support services, including housing assistance and job training.