Finding housing for felons in Georgia isn’t easy. Landlords and property managers are reluctant to rent to felons because of financial and security concerns.
The state of Georgia offers some help with transitional housing for recently released felons, but beyond that, reentry and homelessness assistance is provided through charity organizations.
Low-income housing programs also exist, but due to their lengthy waiting lists, these programs won’t provide an immediate solution to your housing needs.
Let’s explore some options and resources that will help you find second chance apartments in Georgia
Can A Felon Rent An Apartment In Georgia?
Having a felony doesn’t take away your right to rent an apartment in Georgia, but landlords may deny your application based on your criminal background if they’re concerned about risks to their property or their other tenants.
Corporate-owned apartment complexes always run background checks and felons are frequently turned down.
In Georgia, there’s no limit on how far background checks can go. Many landlords will go back 7 to 10 years, but some will look at your entire adult history.
When you’ve got a recent criminal record, you’ll have more success if you look for single-family home rentals or rentals in small apartment buildings owned by private landlords.
Where To Find Landlords Willing To Rent To Felons in Georgia
Two of the best places to find private landlords willing to rent to felons in Georgia are Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Some private landlords don’t bother with background checks. Those who do may be willing to work with you if you provide character and employment references and a higher security deposit. But some landlords will still turn you down. Don’t take it personally, just move on to the next rental on your list.
Watch out for rental application fees. These fees soon add up if you keep getting turned down. When you contact a landlord, ask for their rental application or tenant screening policy. This policy should detail the application fee and acceptance criteria.
To find Georgia apartment listings on your local Craigslist site, visit Craigslist Georgia at https://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/GA. You’ll find rentals listed in the housing section. The site menu lists other Georgia cities, letting you easily check the rentals in nearby areas.
To find apartments and houses for rent on Facebook Marketplace, login to Facebook, click the Marketplace icon, then choose the property rental section from the category menu.
Look For Extended Stay Hotels
Extended-stay hotels are worth considering if you don’t have pets. These hotels charge rent on a week-to-week basis. They don’t require security deposits, and rent includes utilities and parking.
Hotels don’t run background checks on guests, but you will need ID and a credit card to secure a booking.
At first glance, extended-stay hotels look expensive considering you only get a bedroom and bathroom, but you won’t have to pay for gas, electricity, water, or internet, which makes extended-stay hotels an affordable option. If you choose to stay for a longer period, lower rents are available.
Look on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find rooms in extended-stay hotels, or run an online search.
Rent Felony-Friendly Apartments In Georgia Through Apartment Finder Services
Searching for felon-friendly apartments on your own takes time and requires persistence. Second-chance apartment finders offer a better way to find apartments willing to accept felons.
Apartment finders specialize in helping renters unable to pass background screenings because of poor credit history, previous evictions, or criminal records.
Because apartment finders know which landlords offer second-chance rentals, they’ll save you a lot of time and effort.
You’ll need to agree to a background check because second-chance landlords have different acceptance criteria. Some will only rent to non-violent offenders, some won’t accept drug-related felonies, and others require 5 years since conviction.
With access to your full background information, the rental agent can match you with suitable landlords.
Search online for “second chance apartment finder” followed by your city, or county.
Apartment Alternative – PadSplit Georgia
PadSplit offers cohousing by renting rooms in shared houses. PadSplit renters get a private bedroom and the use of a shared kitchen and bathroom.
Weekly rent includes utilities, internet, and parking. PadSplit also reports your rent payments to credit bureaus allowing you to build your credit and rental history.
To get a room through PadSplit, you’ll need to become a member and go through a criminal background check (they don’t run a credit check). If your felony is less than 7 years old, they’ll conduct a review before deciding to approve or deny your membership.
Once you’re a member, reserve the room of your choice and get ready to move in.
PadSplit rentals are a little unusual because your membership contract isn’t actually a tenancy agreement, so you have fewer rights. Make sure you read the membership information and understand the terms before you sign up.
Learn more about renting housing with PadSplit here: https://www.padsplit.com/
Georgia Reentry Partnership Housing
Georgia Reentry Partnership Housing (RPH) is a program run by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and several other state agencies. This housing program can only be accessed through your community supervision officer.
The RPH program provides transitional felon friendly housing in Georgia who are under a supervision order (on parole or probation).
Housing is available for up to 6 months and the program provides room and board at no cost to program participants.
During the program, participants receive reentry support to find employment and access other services.
The housing program is also open to level 1 and 2 sex offenders.
Georgia Justice Project
The Georgia Justice Project offers help to felons denied housing because of their criminal record.
As a first step, the Georgia Justice Project invites ex-offenders to a free information session on the first Friday of each month. These First Friday sessions are virtual and you need to register in advance.
Register your spot on the next Free Friday session by completing the form on this page: https://gjp.org/first-fridays/.
The Georgia Justice Project will also help you get your record expunged if you’re eligible.
Under Georgia’s Second Chance Act, non-violent felonies are eligible for expungement if you meet certain conditions.
Low-Income Housing Resources For Felons In Georgia
You may be eligible for low-income housing assistance if you meet the income limits for the program and pass a background check.
You’re considered low-income if your household income is 80% of the median income for your county or city. You’re considered very low-income if your household income is 50% or less of the median income for your area.
Low-income housing is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD provides funds to housing authorities for their Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs.
HUD also funds apartment owners, allowing them to offer subsidized housing to low-income tenants.
Are Felons Eligible For Housing Programs?
Your eligibility for Public Housing Authority (PHA) programs will depend on the type of felony and its age. Housing authorities set their own acceptance criteria, so you’ll need to contact your local PHA to find out if you can apply.
A sex offense, violent offense, or drug-related offense may result in permanent or temporary ineligibility.
If you decide to apply for subsidized housing, you’ll need to meet the eligibility criteria set by the apartment complex.
How to Apply For Subsidized Apartments
To find out if the waiting list is open, contact the property management office of each apartment community you’re interested in.
The sooner you apply, the sooner your name will reach the top of the waiting list. You’re free to register for as many subsidized apartment communities as you like.
Once you’re at the top of the waiting list, you’ll be invited to apply for accommodation. If you’re eligible, you’ll be assigned housing.
Find low-income subsidized apartments throughout Georgia by following the instructions at https://www.hud.gov/states/georgia/renting
How To Apply For Public Housing Programs
To apply for public housing programs, contact your local Public Housing Authority. PHAs administer project-based housing and the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program.
The Housing Choice Voucher program is more flexible than applying for public housing. Housing vouchers pay part of your rent directly to your private landlord. Once you’re in the program, you’re free to move to any apartment or single-family home in the private rental market as long as the landlord accepts housing vouchers.
Waiting lists for these housing programs are long, and Georgia uses a lottery system to place applicants on the waiting list.
Check the Georgia Department of Community Affairs website for more details. Visit https://www.dca.ga.gov/newsroom/blog/housing-choice-voucher-program-wait-list-open
Georgia Homelessness Resources
Georgia helps homeless individuals and families through its Continuum of Care network (COC).
For a list of resources in your area, visit the Continuum of Care website.
Georgia Reentry Resource List
The Georgia Department of Community Supervision provides a comprehensive list of reentry resources on its website.
You’ll find links to local organizations and charities able to help with transitional and permanent housing, employment, health, and education.
Access the list at https://dcs.georgia.gov/locations/reentry-resource
Felony-friendly apartments in Georgia are limited. Your supervision officer can help you find transitional housing through the state-run reentry program. Charities and other organizations also offer shelter places and help find suitable long-term rentals.
If you’re looking for housing in the private rental market, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are good sources for rentals.
You should also contact your local housing authority for details of their housing programs, waiting lists, and application process.
Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.