Finding housing for felons in Arizona is no easy task and we want to assure you that we understand your struggle. Every month we have dozens of people ask our organization for this information and as much as we wish we had a list of felon friendly apartments in Arizona, this information is too difficult to gather as we don't have enough staff on hand to handle the task.
With that being said, we've done the next best thing. Below is a list of organizations and resources in Arizona that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Arizona
Housing for felons can be difficult to find if felons are not prepared for the search. Therefore, in order to perform a housing search, you need to know what course to take so you don’t waste any valuable time. For example, housing can be located by making an appointment with the local housing authority or Housing of Urban Development (HUD) office or by taking a look at the housing alternatives on Craig’s List. You can also review the re-entry programs that are offered in your state.
Perform a Background Check First
The best and most logical way to begin a housing search is to perform a background check on yourself. You can proceed by following this link, which enables you to do so for a small fee.
Getting Turned Down for Housing for Being a Felon is Not Illegal
Indeed, looking for housing in Arizona or any other state in the US can present a challenge. Therefore, being armed with your background information and knowing your civil rights will help you search for an apartment or house that is easier to rent. You have to keep in mind that rejecting a tenant because he or she has a criminal background is not considered illegal. Legislators have not provided a legal safety net for people convicted of felonies.
NOLO online states that specific types of discrimination are classified as illegal. Illegal discrimination takes one of several forms, and can be categorized under religion, race, family status, disability or ethnicity. Some states have also added gender or sexual orientation to the list of discriminatory practices considered to be illegal.
However, NOLO adds that it is also illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a felon who was convicted for illegal drug use if he or she was taking the drugs because of a mental impairment or “disability.”
On the other hand, a landlord is allowed, legally, to reject applicants who were charged with the making and selling of illegal drugs. This kind of activity, according to legal specialists, impacts the well-being of a rental community.
Regardless, a landlord must also be careful about practicing arbitrary discrimination. For example, Jane Felon visits her local landlord and is rejected for housing based on her conviction. John Felon, however, visits the same landlord and is able to rent an apartment. Legal authorities can look at Jane’s rejection as illegal as it was, in all likelihood, based on gender rather than a criminal past.
In general, then, discrimination is considered unlawful when everyone under a certain classification is not treated in the same manner. In Arizona, as well as the rest of the US, rejecting an application for housing to a felon is not considered illegal as it is not related to a protected classification. Read more about this stance by clicking on this link.
Therefore, it is best not to apply for housing at an apartment community in Arizona as they always check backgrounds and generally will not rent to anyone who has a criminal history. You may be able to gain entrance, however, if your crime was non-violent and is now at least a decade old.
A Felon-friendly Property Management Company in Arizona
With that being said, one property management company in Arizona—Step By Step Transitional Living Association is felon-friendly. The company features Second Chance Rentals online. Therefore, the Phoenix-based company offers rental housing to most felons, provided their offenses are of a non-violent nature.
An Assessment-based Program for Housing
The company assists felons and others find safe and secure housing that is affordable. Individuals who apply for housing are assessed using 16 different categories so social service intervention can be employed, if needed. These categorizations include:
- Transportation and mobility
- Substance abuse issues
- Adult education level
- Child care needs
- Child educational level
- Contact or connection with family
- Employment level
- Family relations
- Food and nutrition
- Health care needs
- Annual income
- Legal problems
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Present and past housing
Step By Step or SBS offers accountability programs to an individual or families living with financial challenges, past evictions, poor credit, repossessions, substance abuse problems or non-violent felony convictions.
A Felon-friendly Site Where You Can Apply for Housing Today
The company states on its website that most felonies will be accepted for housing with the exception of individuals holding active warrants or felons whose convictions include a past violent crimes or arson charge. Sex offenders are also rejected for housing by the company. If you meet the company’s criteria, you can follow this link and fill out an application for housing.
Alabama Housing Authority
The Arizona Department of Housing is the housing authority in the state of Arizona in which you want to refer to obtain affordable rental homes or apartments. This housing authority offers discounted housing for anyone who is need of an apartment or house that falls within the parameters of the housing authority’s income requirements. If the income falls significantly below the poverty level for a given area, the house may even be provided for free. Most housing authorities feature rentals that can be occupied right away.
However, if your area does not offer an apartment that is move-in ready, then you usually must ask to be placed on a waiting list. Once you are released from your sentence then, it is important to visit your state’s local housing authoirity without delay. Doing so will ensure that you will receive a place to live sooner, especially if you must ask to be included on a property’s waiting list.
When you visit the Arizona Department of Housing, your rent is based on your annual income. Most housing authorities reserve rentals for people earning less than the stated median income for the neighborhood. Each rental unit is subject to controls that make rental payments more affordable. The HUD establishes the income limitations for each area. Therefore, the agency acts as a type of go-between low-income renters and their landlords. Again, you can find out more about the forms that need to be completed in order to secure housing by visiting the Arizona Department of Housing website.
Arizona Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Whether you live in Arizona or elsewhere in the US, searching Craigslist for housing is a viable option for most felons. Advertisers who list apartments on the site are usually not with major leasing companies. Therefore, it is easier to negotiate a lease with one of these landlords. In some instances, a landlord may not even run a background check. Even if he or she is inclined to check out your history, it is easier to speak to him or her about your housing needs and how you can be relied on as a tenant.
When you visit the Craigslist site, choose Arizona, then proceed on to picking the city where you want to reside. Include the minimum and maximum rental amounts you can afford. Just make sure that the listings you are reviewing are not associated with an apartment management company. For the Arizona Craigslist link, click here.
Reentry Programs in Arizona
A state’s reentry program enables felons to re-enter society with less concern and anxiety. If you wish to find out what programs are offered in the state of Arizona, check on the re-entry programs that have been compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub for Arizona. You can find out more details by clicking on the following link:: https://jobsforfelonshub.com/reentry-programs/.
The Arizona Religious Community
Besides re-entry programs, you can also gather information about housing and jobs from certain religious organizations in Arizona. Felons, who become a member of a church, for example, may be able to find work within their church or at a non-profit that the church operates. The church may also provide suggestions for housing. For example, Catholic Charities in Arizona offers housing and job help for people just released from prison or jail.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Housing assistance can be obtained as well if you ask for friends or family to vouch for you as a reference. Ask people who you know personally or family members to give you housing leads. If a family member or a friend knows a landlord, he or she may also be able to refer you to them. Just make sure that someone close to you does not pay for an apartment so you can live there. You should be listed on the lease. If your name is not added to a lease agreement, you could be sued and evicted.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Arrive on Time
As noted, renting a house or apartment can be a laborious task in Arizona and elsewhere in the U.S. That is why, when you do look for housing, you need to create the right impression. Make sure you show up for your appointment on time and behave professionally. Ask questions that are pertinent to your rental needs. Developing a good relationship with your landlord is propitious for your future. Make sure you develop a rapport that is amiable and respectful.
Be Honest about Your Past
Also, be upfront about your past. You can still move on positively but you need to be upfront with the person you are paying rent. You don’t have to go into a long, lengthy rendition about your criminal history. Just stay positive and briefly explain your past circumstances. Demonstrate to the landlord why you are now a good “risk.”
Focus on Searching for Felon-friendlier Rentals
Finally, focus searching for single-occupancy units versus apartments in multi-plex buildings. The idea is to obtain a rental that will allow you to adjust, once again, to society and do so in a positive manner. Don’t apply for housing where it is likely that you will be turned down. Do everything you can to make your search a rewarding experience.