Finding a private Rental with
a criminal record
Often, people with criminal records are more likely to successfully rent housing from individual owners rather than large apartment complexes operated by companies. Even if you meet a property manager who likes you and wants to rent to you, corporate policies often will not allow people with felonies or certain crimes to rent their apartments. Mom and Pop owners have a lot more freedom. Craigslist is an excellent resource for locating single homes, duplexes and apartments.
Also, Socialserve.com can be a very helpful resource. They specialize in helping people find rental housing. You can even specify on their search page whether you would like to search only for landlords that don't require a criminal background check. Simply search and filter "No criminal check". Socialserve.com also has a toll free bilingual call center where they can call in for searches and resources: 1-877-428-8844.
It is illegal for potential landlords to discriminate against you based on race, ethnicity, religion, family status and disability. However, there are no laws in Charlotte at the present time that keep people from renting to you based on your criminal record, no matter how old your charges are.
Until the law changes, you can help your chances of getting rental. If you suspect that a landlord will run a background check, it helps to know your criminal history so that you can present it to a landlord during the application process. Have a written statement prepared addressing your charges, showing who you are now, not who you were at the time of your last conviction. Make a case to your potential landlord that you have changed since the time of your charges and that you will be stable, law-abiding will pay your rent on time. Provide a written list of references if you can. Having a relative or trusted friend co-sign on your rental can also help you get your foot in the door.
There is a coalition of concerned citizens, The Reentry Housing Coalition, working to solve this challenge. If you are interested in getting connected and hearing about future events, please email: email@example.com