Finding affordable, safe, stable housing for felons in Ohio isn’t easy. Most landlords and property managers carry out rental background checks on prospective tenants, and having a felony will often lead to your rental application being denied.
The rental market in Ohio’s largest cities is extremely competitive. Landlords don’t have any trouble finding tenants, and renters with a criminal background or poor rental history face significant barriers to housing.
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, over 20,000 people are released from prisons in Ohio every year. So while felon-friendly landlords exist throughout Ohio, the demand for apartments for felons in Ohio is very high.
How to Find Housing For Felons In Ohio 2023
When you’re looking for housing, most of the apartments and homes listed on the main rental websites won’t be felon friendly. You can waste a lot of time and application fees on apartments that won’t rent to you once your background check shows your felony.
Most large apartment complexes are operated by property management companies. These apartments have rigid tenant acceptance criteria, and you’ll need to pass a criminal background check during the application process.
With a felony on your record, you’ll have more success finding housing if you look for housing offered by private landlords.
Searching for felon-friendly housing on your own takes time. Ex-offenders may find housing more quickly by using one of the Ohio re-entry resources listed later in this article.
You can also contact second-chance apartment finders in Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati who may be able to match you with a felon-friendly landlord.
Look For Felon-Friendly Private Landlords
Private landlords are often more felon-friendly than property management companies. Instead of being tied to a rigid company policy, they’re free to use their judgment when they asses your application.
Some private landlords won’t carry out background checks, some will only be interested in your credit report, while others will want to do a full background check.
Landlords who offer month-to-month leases are also less likely to require a background check.
When you contact landlords, always ask about their tenant acceptance criteria so you don’t waste time on applications that will be denied.
Related Content: Housing Assistance For Felons In Texas
Find Private Landlords Online
The best places to find private landlords online are Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. You’ll also find plenty of Ohio renters advertising a sublet or looking for a roommate on these websites.
Background checks are less common when it’s an informal roommate rental, and finding a room to rent is also cheaper than renting on your own.
Go to https://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/OH and choose your nearest city. Then look for the housing section. You’ll see options for apartment and house rentals, as well as single rooms for rent.
To get to the Facebook Marketplace for your city:
- Log in to Facebook
- Select the Marketplace link from the menu
- Update your location to see the Marketplace for the relevant city.
- Select the categories tab, then choose “Rentals”.
Visit Local Neighborhoods To Look For Rental Housing
Searching for felon-friendly housing online is convenient, but you’ll often have a larger choice of rentals if you visit neighborhoods in person. Drive around or walk through a neighborhood and look out for “for rent” signs in front yards and windows.
Landlords advertising in this low-key way are less likely to carry out a criminal background check, especially if they’re hoping to do a cash deal.
Focus your search on less desirable Ohio city neighborhoods because that’s where you’ll find the most landlords willing to overlook your background.
Drop into local stores and businesses to check for rental ads on notice boards. While you’re there, ask staff if they know any apartments in the area that don’t do strict background checks.
When you meet with a landlord, make sure you’ve got proof of your income and some character references with you.
Use A Second Chance Apartment Finder
Another way to find housing for felons in Ohio is to use a second-chance apartment finder.
Second-chance apartment finders work with renters who have criminal backgrounds, evictions, low credit scores, and poor rental histories.
These licensed real estate and leasing professionals know which landlords in your local area will rent to a tenant with a felony. Using an apartment finder is often the quickest and easiest way to find a new home when you’ve got a criminal record.
You’ll still need to agree to a background check so the apartment finder can find the best landlords for your circumstances.
Get Help From Ohio Re-Entry Organizations
Re-entry organizations specialize in helping people with criminal backgrounds successfully reintegrate into society.
If you’ve recently returned from prison or are serving time on probation, re-entry organizations can help you find transitional and permanent housing.
Depending on the service, you may also get help with job training, education, employment, medical care, social support, food assistance, rent assistance, identification documents, and transportation.
Re-entry groups are a good source of felon-friendly housing leads even if you’ve been out of prison for several years.
You’ll find re-entry resources offered by non-profit groups and faith-based groups, as well as services offered through state or city initiatives.
Look At Getting Your Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged
Employers and landlords routinely use criminal background checks to legally discriminate against former felons. But if your criminal record has been sealed or expunged, it’s no longer visible on background reports.
In Ohio, if you have a third, fourth, or fifth-degree felony, you may be able to keep your criminal record hidden from landlords and employers.
To find out if you’re eligible to have your record sealed or expunged, contact the team at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center for free legal advice.
Website & Contact: https://ohiojpc.org/our-work/second-chance/
Get Help With Housing For Felons in Columbus Ohio
For help finding housing for felons in Columbus, Ohio, contact the following re-entry organizations.
Franklin County Reentry Advisory Board
Address: 373 S High St, 25th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215
Contact: (614) 525-5577
Lower Lights Ministries ReEntry Assistance Programs For Women
Address: 1066 Bellows Ave, Columbus, OH 43223
Contact: (614) 228-3855
Alvis House Halfway House and Re-Entry Services
Address: 2100 Stella Court, Columbus, OH 43215
Contact: (614) 252-8402
Check the shelter listings in Columbus, Ohio, if you’re at risk of homelessness. https://www.shelterlistings.org/city/columbus-oh.html
Get Help With Housing For Felons In Dayton Ohio
For help finding housing for felons in Dayton, Ohio, contact the following re-entry organizations.
Volunteers Of America – Dayton
Address: 1931 S. Gettysburg Ave, Dayton, OH 45408
Contact: (937) 262-8876
Montgomery County Re-Entry Training Center
Address: Located in the Job Center at 1111 S Edwin C Moses Blvd, Dayton, OH 45422
Miami Valley Housing Opportunities
Address: 907 West Fifth Street, Dayton, OH 45402
Contact: (937) 263-4449
Check the shelter listings in Dayton, Ohio, if you’re at risk of homelessness.
Get Help With Housing For Felons In Cincinnati Ohio
For help finding housing for felons in Cincinnati, Ohio, contact the following re-entry organizations.
Hamilton County Office Of Re-Entry
Address: 138 East Court Street, Room #101, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Contact: (513) 946-4304
Cincinnati Community Action Agency Ex-Offender Fresh Start Program
Address: 1740 Langdon Farm Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45237
Contact: (513) 569-1840
St. Vincent de Paul Re-Entry Program
Address: 1125 Bank Street, Cincinnati, OH 45214
Check the shelter listings in Cincinnati, Ohio, if you’re at risk of homelessness. https://www.shelterlistings.org/city/cincinnati-oh.html
Get Help With Housing For Felons in Cleveland Ohio
For help finding housing for felons in Cleveland, Ohio, contact the following re-entry organizations.
The Salvation Army Northeast Ohio Division
Address: 2507 East 22nd Street, Cleveland, OH 44115
Address: 6001 Woodland Ave, Cleveland, OH 44104
Northstar Re-Entry Resource Center
Address: 1834 East 55th Street in Cleveland, Ohio 44103
Check the shelter listings in Cleveland, Ohio, if you’re at risk of homelessness. https://www.shelterlistings.org/city/cleveland-oh.html
Next Steps for Finding Felon Friendly Apartments in Ohio
Visit Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to look for private landlords with rooms, homes, or apartments to rents, in your part of Ohio.
Contact second-chance leasing agents in your town or city, and find out if they can match you with a landlord who will overlook your felony.
Use local re-entry support services to get help from professionals familiar with the local felon-friendly rental market and transitional housing for felons.
As long as you’re persistent in your search for felon-friendly housing and make use of re-entry resources, you’ll find a place to call home.
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Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.