If you have a criminal record, it may be difficult to find an apartment that will accept you. This can be especially true if you have a DWI conviction.
This is because DWIs are considered convictions by law, and most background checks will reveal that you plead guilty to a DWI. However, you can get your DWI case sealed by filing a petition for non-disclosure.
1. Look for a Felon-Friendly Apartment
Having a felony on your record can make it difficult to find housing. Luckily, there are many options for those with felonies looking for rental housing.
You can start by looking for a housing authority (also known as HUD) in your city or county to see if they have any apartments that are friendly for felons. These are local government offices that oversee a range of different types of housing for those in need, including low-income and free housing.
There are also private landlords who rent out single-family homes, duplexes and small apartment complexes. These landlords are often more flexible than larger apartment complexes and may be willing to overlook a felony background check.
Another great place to look for felon-friendly apartments is Craigslist, a website that has a variety of landlords and property owners who rent out their homes or properties. Unlike other rental websites, Craigslist has a much easier way to filter for “no credit check” or “no background check.”
One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting an apartment with deferred adjudication is to look in neighborhoods that are less desirable and in areas with lower incomes. This will help lower your debt to income ratio, a measure of how much you pay in monthly rent compared to how much you earn.
Volunteering in your community is also a great way to demonstrate that you are making positive changes and that you have good character. This can be a great tool for proving yourself to a landlord and will help you stand out from other applicants.
A handwritten letter to the landlord explaining your circumstances, which will include why you need an apartment with deferred adjudication and how your felony has changed your life, can also be very helpful. This shows the landlord that you have thought about their needs and are serious about renting to them.
Finally, be sure to have a reliable roommate before applying for an apartment. This will reduce your risk of being rejected due to a felony conviction, because a landlord wants to rent to tenants who pay their rent on time and take care of their belongings.
2. Find a Housing Authority
A Housing Authority is a governmental agency that provides apartments to people in need. In large cities, they are independent agencies that are governed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but in smaller towns they usually work with county authorities.
They offer rental assistance and public housing for low-income families, the elderly and individuals with disabilities. They also help families with a wide range of issues, including financial self-sufficiency and disaster preparedness.
If you want to apply for an apartment with deferred adjudication, your first step should be to contact a local housing authority and find out if they offer apartments or vouchers that are suitable for someone with a felony conviction. Most authorities have an application process that includes a personal interview and a criminal background check.
The interview will give you a chance to show the Housing Authority that you can handle your responsibility as a tenant. You can tell them about your rehabilitation programs, how you have changed since your felony, and that you will not cause any disturbances to your neighbors or other residents of the community.
Many Housing Authorities will even call previous landlords to verify that you are a responsible, law-abiding tenant who is committed to paying your rent on time. The interviews are not always easy, so it is important to be prepared and well-organized.
One of the most significant benefits of a deferred adjudication is that it will not be counted against you when employers or apartment complexes conduct a background check on you. However, it is important to note that this benefit does not necessarily translate into increased employment opportunities.
You will still need to complete your probation terms and comply with any other conditions that a judge imposes, but you will not have a criminal record on your hands once you have successfully completed the program. In addition, if you wish to avoid future trouble, you can file a petition for non-disclosure that will seal your criminal record from future employers and apartment complexes.
A good lawyer who understands the ins and outs of deferred adjudication can advise you on what steps to take next. If you are interested in learning more about deferred adjudication, contact The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today for a free case evaluation with an attorney who understands how to use this unique opportunity to your advantage.
3. Look for a Section 8 Housing Voucher
If you have a criminal record, you may have more difficulty finding an apartment than the average person. However, federal law prohibits landlords from denying you housing because of your criminal history.
The best way to find a Section 8 apartment with deferred adjudication is to contact your local Public Housing Authority (PHA). You can also look for websites that provide email alerts when housing authorities open their waitlists.
Often, these services will send you a notification when the list reopens, and you can then apply online. It’s also a good idea to contact the Housing Search Agencies in your area, as they often offer search and application assistance.
Once you’ve found the housing agency, make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements. For example, you need to make a certain amount of money, and at least one member of your household needs to have legal documentation of immigration status to be eligible for the program.
In addition to these rules, you’ll need to submit a lot of paperwork. You’ll need to fill out the standard application, and you’ll need to get a criminal background check. It’s also important to get all of your past landlords, and leave no gaps in your file.
After the application is complete, you’ll need to go in for a personal interview. This is your chance to state your case and convince the official that you will be a responsible tenant who won’t cause disturbances in your new home.
If you have a criminal record, you should have a professional attorney review your application before you submit it. This will ensure that it is completely accurate and will not disqualify you from the process.
You should also include information about the neighborhood where you want to live. This will help the PHA determine whether you are a suitable tenant, and will also allow them to inspect your new place before you move in.
Once you’ve been approved for a voucher, you’ll have to lease your apartment and pay rent using the subsidy provided by the agency. The subsidy will cover up to 30 percent of your rent, leaving you responsible for the rest.
4. Look for a Private Apartment
One of the most difficult and frustrating things a person with a criminal past can do is search for a private apartment. Often, landlords and rental management companies will reject applicants based on their criminal histories.
In order to avoid this situation, it is important to find a way to get your background check cleared as quickly as possible. If you are able to do this, your chances of getting an apartment will increase significantly.
Many felony-friendly housing programs and community organizations can provide referrals for apartments that are more willing to rent to felons. These can be located in the outskirts of major towns and cities, which attract cheaper rents.
If you can’t find these types of apartments, it is also worth looking for private apartment complexes that are owned by landlords and not by management firms. These types of apartments typically do not have the same protocols as larger complexes, which means that you have a better chance of finding an apartment with deferred adjudication.
You can also try searching Craigslist, which is full of private landlords who are more than happy to rent to felons. In addition, you should ask friends or family members if they know any small-time landlords who don’t run background checks and may be willing to rent an apartment to a felon.
It is also worth looking into the local area to see if there are any reentry programs that might be able to help you. These programs can connect you with resources that are willing to rent to felony tenants and can help you navigate the criminal justice system again.
Finally, it is a good idea to find someone else who will be able to fill out the application and sign the lease on your behalf. This could be a friend or family member with a clean record, or it might be another tenant of the apartment who will take on the lease on your behalf.
While this may not be an option for everyone, it can be a great way to get past the pitfalls of a criminal record and find an apartment that you can call your own. It is also an opportunity to showcase your positive character, education pursuits and any other qualifications you have that will make the landlord confident that you are capable of paying your rent when due.