Have you already searched for “felony approved apartments near me” and were you disappointed with the results?
Unfortunately, the search terms we use don’t always give us the answers we are expecting.
In this guide to finding apartments that are felon-friendly, we’ll give you some tips on using the search term, and we’ll share other more effective ways to find an apartment.
When Searching For Felony Approved Apartments Near Me, Make Sure Your Location Service Is Active
The first thing to do is make sure your location services settings are on.
If you’re using an Android device:
- Swipe down at the top of your screen.
- Look for the map marker icon and tap to turn it on.
- If you don’t see the map marker, look for the edit icon (a pencil).
- Tap the icon to open the panel.
- Now tap the map pointer to turn your location service on.
If you’re using an Apple device:
- Go to Settings.
- Choose privacy and security.
- Select location services.
- Slide the toggle to on (the toggle will be green if your location service is already active.)
In the Google Chrome browser:
- Go to google.com
- Look for the padlock icon at the top left of the address bar.
- Click the padlock.
- Slide the location toggle to on. The toggle will be blue if your location service is already on.
- Or, if you don’t see the toggle, choose the “site settings” option.
- Then, look for “location”, and change the setting to “allow”.
Your search for felon friendly housing will be more accurate if you’re signed into your Google account. If you haven’t added a home address to your Google account, updating that information will help Google give you more useful results.
Use Different Search Engines To Look For Felony Friendly Apartments Near Me 2024
Google is the most popular search engine by far, but other search engines can give more accurate results, so it’s worth searching for apartments that accept felons on these sites:
- ● Bing.com
- ● Startpage.com
- ● Brave.com
- ● Duckduckgo.com
- ● Swisscows.com
Use Different Search Terms
Using slight variations of your search term can give you a wider list of felony-friendly apartments to contact.
Apartments that accept tenants with low incomes or financial problems don’t always accept felons, although they may be willing to work with you on a case-by-case basis depending on the type and the age of the felony on your record.
Related Article: Financial Assistance For Released Prisoners
Felony-Friendly Search Results Aren’t Always Accurate
Apartment listings don’t often clearly state that they will accept felons, but some listings will use the term “second chance apartments”. It’s that term the search engines see and misunderstand because second-chance apartments cover several very different categories.
- Second-chance apartments can mean that certain types of criminal backgrounds are considered. They may accept felonies, but they may only work with misdemeanors.
- Second-chance apartments may refer to bad credit or evictions.
- Second-chance apartments can also refer to supportive housing programs for people with alcohol, drug, homelessness, and mental health problems.
And that’s why many of the apartment listings you contact will say they can’t help you. You should still contact every apartment that’s suggested to you, though, and it’s still worth doing the “second chance apartment near me” search. Some of the results will be relevant to you.
Now we’ll move on to other ways to find apartments that rent to felons.
Get Help from A Second Chance Apartment Locator (Best Method)
Instead of trying to find apartments that rent to felons on your own, it’s a smart move to let a 2nd chance apartment locator do the work for you.
Second-chance apartment locators are licensed real estate agents who work with individuals who have trouble qualifying for apartment rentals.
Some second chance agencies only work with bad credit and evictions, but most will be able to help you find an apartment with your felony.
When you use a locator to find felony housing, you’ll receive a selection of apartments to view very quickly because these agencies know the landlords and property management companies in your area who will accept tenants with criminal backgrounds.
When you contact an apartment locator, they’ll ask for your personal details and for details about your offense. They’ll also want to run a background and credit check to verify your information. That way they can match you with landlords who will accept your particular background.
How much does it cost to use a second-chance apartment locator? In many cases, their services are free to use because they receive a finder’s fee from the landlord when you sign a lease. But if the apartment they pre-qualify you for doesn’t offer finder’s fees, they’ll ask you to pay. Always ask how much the fee will be before you choose an apartment locator to work with.
To find second chance apartments for felons locator, search for “second chance apartment locator near me”, or “second chance apartment locator” followed by your city.
You won’t have any trouble finding a 2nd-chance apartment locator in large cities. But in less populous areas, where there isn’t as much demand for their services, you might not get any results. In that case, start contacting regular real estate agents in your area.
Realtors work with rentals as well as property sales, and they can see all the latest rental listings via databases the public doesn’t have access to. Those databases also list detailed information about tenant acceptance criteria.
When you contact realtors, if they say they can’t help you find apartments that accept felons, ask if they can refer you to a realtor who offers that service.
Search For Felon Friendly Apartments In your Local Area In Person
The internet is a great source of information, but sometimes you can’t beat a trip out to scout your local area and to talk to people.
Believe it or not, there are landlords out there who put a for rent sign in the front yard or front window and attract tenants without using any online methods at all.
Unless you take a trip around local neighborhoods, you’ll miss those rentals that a “housing for felons” search will never find.
When you’re out scouting, make sure you drop into local businesses to look at notice boards where rent cards are often posted.
- Coffee shops
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Community centers
- Food banks/pantries
Walk into the fast-food restaurants in the area too. Fast-food restaurants are often willing to employ felons, and there’s a good chance you’ll get leads on local housing for felons near me by asking the counter staff if they know of local landlords who aren’t strict about background checks. Don’t bother them during the lunch hour rush, though!
Other businesses you should visit include:
- Liquor stores
- Beauty salons and nail bars
- Check cashing services
- Mailbox providers
- Vape stores
- Tattoo parlors
Next, think about the areas in your city which have the most diverse communities. These neighborhoods will likely be home to some undocumented residents, and if those landlords rent to tenants without residency or employment rights, it’s almost certain they’re not carrying out background checks.
These landlords won’t advertise online either, so the only way to find them is to ask around.
Widen your property search to include apartments near me that accept felons. Houses for rent tend to be owned by individuals and they can be cheaper to rent than apartments.
Let’s keep going with more ways to find no criminal background check apartments near me.
Check Felony Friendly Apartments for Rent On Facebook Marketplace
Not so long ago, local newspapers were the only way to find ads posted by independent landlords with houses or small apartment buildings for rent. These days, those ads have moved online. One of the best places to find independent landlords is Facebook Marketplace.
Independent landlords are far more likely to consider your application based on your current circumstances rather than rejecting you because of a past mistake.
- Create a Facebook account if you don’t already have one.
- Click on the Marketplace tab.
- Click Property Rentals.
- Enter your search area and budget.
- Select apartments and houses.
- Toggle the “listings from individuals” button.
- Browse the results.
Now comes the work! You’ll need to message each landlord to ask about their tenant acceptance standards. Facebook makes this easy. All you need to do is hit the blue message button to make an inquiry. To save time, type up a message to copy and paste for each inquiry.
There are two ways you can approach this. Be entirely upfront about your felony in your message, or wait until you view a property before you mention the offense.
The advantage of the second option is that the landlord gets to see and interact with you as a real person, instead of judging you based on an impersonal text message mentioning the scary word felony.
Face-to-face communication makes a world of difference in how we perceive people, so it’s something to consider.
When you view a rental, make an effort to dress well. Put on a shirt and tie or blouse and jacket if necessary. Cover up tattoos if they can be covered. Remove facial piercings and over large earrings.
Take a folder or folio containing your recent bank statements and pay stubs, your character references, and your personal statement outlining your offense and emphasizing all your good points.
Apologize for not mentioning your offense sooner, and stress that you were hoping for an opportunity to make your case.
If you have a rent guarantor, make sure you tell the landlord!
Be polite. Shake hands. Thank the landlord for letting you view the property. If they turn you down, thank them for their time. Be gracious. Ask if they know any other landlords you could talk to. Ask if there’s anything you could do to qualify in the future.
How To Place An Apartment Wanted Ad On Facebook Marketplace
Place an apartment wanted ad on Facebook Marketplace and let landlords come to you. There’s no fee to place an ad.
In your ad, specify your budget and the type of accommodation you need. Mention your felony, and when it took place. If your felony was non-violent, make that clear. If you’ve had a clean record since include that information in your ad.
Include as much positive information about yourself as possible.
- Your employer and how long you’ve worked for them.
- Income level
- Credit score
- Any education or training you’ve completed
- Volunteer work you do
- Religious or other community involvement
- Character references
- Rent guarantee
- Mention your hobbies and lifestyle if your activities are likely to reassure a potential landlord.
To place your ad, follow these steps.
- On Facebook, click on Marketplace.
- Select “Create New Listing”.
- Select “Item Wanted”.
- Enter a title, examples – “Places that rent to felons near me Wanted” or “Wanted: Felon Friendly Houses For Rent”.
- Enter your budget and the type of accommodation you want.
- Write the body of your rental ad.
- Choose the “Real Estate” category.
- Specify the price range.
- Specify the area.
- Preview your ad and hit publish.
Check Apartments for Rent On Craigslist
Craigslist is another excellent resource for felony friendly apartments for rent from independent landlords.
- Go to Craigslist at https://www.craigslist.org/about/sites.
- Find your state in the list and choose your nearest city.
- Use the menu to choose a closer area.
- Under Housing, select “apts/housing”.
- Use the filters to set your price range and the type of rental you want.
- Check the box next to “no application fee”.
- Click “Apply” to see the search results.
- Use the filter to order the results from the lowest price to the highest. The option looks like this $ – $$$.
By using the no application fee filter, you’ll get a selection of rentals where the landlord is less likely to ask you to take a background check.
By filtering for the lowest price first, you’ll get rentals in less expensive neighborhoods, which are also less likely to be as strict with their tenant acceptance criteria.
How To Place An Apartment Wanted Ad On Craigslist
- Look for the “Post” link at the top right.
- Select “Housing Wanted” then click on continue.
- Choose the category “Wanted: apts” and click on continue.
- Fill in the details to create your ad.
Watch out for scammers. Never send any money until you’ve toured the property with the landlord. Scammers will show you photos online, say they’re out of town, and promise you the rental once you send deposits and rent.
Often the genuine landlords who contact you will be renting on the down low. It could be that their rental doesn’t meet city ordinances, or they could be looking for no-questions-asked, cash-only tenants.
If you’re desperate, you could be perfectly happy to find felon-friendly apartments with a cash-only rental, but those rentals won’t help build your rental history background.
If a property can’t pass a city inspection, there could be mold issues, leaks, or dangerous appliances, so be careful. It’s better to turn down dangerous accommodation and keep on searching for other felon-friendly houses for rent.
Ask About Apartments near me that accept felons on local forums
Reddit and City-Data are two very large forums that have dedicated sections for every city where local users share information and offer helpful advice.
You can use these forums in two ways. Either search for existing messages posted by other felons looking for a list of felon friendly apartments, or post your own message.
To post a message yourself, you’ll need to make a free account on both forums. In your message, give as much or as little information about your situation as you want to, but you should mention the type of felony on your record and its age.
Other forum users will offer apartment suggestions you can follow up on. You may even get offers from people who want to sublet their own apartment.
Forums on Reddit are called subreddits and you need to go to the subreddit for your city. Use your search engine to search for “Reddit” followed by your city, then click on the result to go to the subreddit.
For City-Data, go to https://www.city-data.com/forum/. Then choose your state from the list on the main forum page, then choose your city.
Always Mention Your Felony Before you Apply For An Apartment On Any Of The Main Rental Sites
While the main apartment rental sites aren’t the best places to look for apartments that rent to felons, it costs you nothing but time to browse the listings and send inquiries. You don’t want to leave any stones unturned in your search, so it’s worth going through the newest listings each day.
However, when you know your felony is going to show up on your rental background check, there’s no point in making applications and hoping that you get approved for an apartment.
Most landlords and property managers advertising on the big sites charge an application fee, and many will reject your application when you answer yes to the question about criminal offenses, or when they get your background report.
With fees ranging from $40 to over $100, very few people can afford to make multiple failed applications. It’s important to find out if you can qualify before you spend money on the application fee.
When you call or email to ask about an apartment in a large complex, always mention your felony after you’ve introduced yourself and shared your positive information. Always lead with your positives.
Here’s an example you can use. Just fill in the blanks with your info.
Hi, my name is —-. I’m — years old, and I’m single/married. I’m in full-time employment at —. I make $— per month, have a credit score of —-, and have character references I can share with you. I’m interested in your apartment and have the full security deposit and advance rent. Unfortunately, I have a non-violent felony for — from — years ago. Am I eligible for this apartment?
If your felony was non-violent be sure to make that clear because it’s easier for a landlord to say yes when they don’t have to worry about potential threats to themselves or other residents.
Apartment Rental Sites To Check:
Get Help Searching For Felony Friendly Landlords From Re-Entry Organizations
Re-entry groups specialize in helping people in your situation, and they’ve got the resources and local knowledge you need.
Instead of working your way through your “felony friendly apartments near me” search results, why not get a referral to landlords who will definitely accept your application?
If you’re recently back in society after a period of incarceration, re-entry groups will help you find accommodation and employment, access education and training, provide transportation help (bus passes, rides), and make sure you’ve got food, clothing, and other basic necessities.
Some groups provide full residential re-entry programs, while others offer to coach and mentor.
Even if you’ve been back in society for several years, re-entry groups are always a resource you can count on for help, and they will be able to give you the list of Landlords that rent houses to felons in your area.
Do an online search for “re-entry organizations” followed by your city, or try “re-entry organizations near me”.
The term “re-entry” covers several broad categories (ex-offenders, mental health, addiction, homelessness, domestic violence, disabilities, veterans), so you’ll need to look at their websites to find out which groups work with felons.
Ready To Start Your Apartments Near Me Search?
We hope the advice we’ve provided in this guide helps to make your search for apartments with no background check easier.
According to a Senate report, over 20 million Americans have had a felony in the past. That means there are millions of apartments for felons near me out there.
It takes more effort to find housing that rents to felons, but as long as you keep searching, and take advantage of the resources offered by re-entry organizations and second-chance apartment locators, you’ll soon find a new home.
Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.