Finding housing for felons in Maryland 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 Maryland, 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 Maryland that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Maryland
According to the Department of Corrections in Maryland or DOC, most felons return to their communities after serving time. Therefore, reentry is stressed in the state as approximately 20,000 felons return home after their prison sentence. Many of the felons need help in managing their basic necessities for reintegration, including finding work and housing, accessing wellness and substance abuse services and reunifying with family.
That is why it is important to gain support from the reentry listings for Maryland that have been collected by the JobsForFelonsHub.com site. This essential information will help you locate the programs and resources you need to obtain housing and get a job. Refer to the data frequently so you can stay on track when looking for employment or a place to live.
Featured Reentry Partner – The Catholic Charities
One of the featured reentry partners that are listed among the reentry listings is the Catholic Charities. According to the organization, it is their goal to prevent returning felons from falling back into previous errors by assisting them with finding and following a path to a new job. They offer this type of support with a network of volunteer mentors who work closely with a felon during their transition. The organization helps felons overcome both minor and major hurdles by finding a job, safe residence and a community that supports them.
Other Housing Resources
Besides referring to the reentry listings on the JobsForFelonsHub.com site, you can also find apartment and house rentals through Craigslist and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Maryland. The HUD and housing authorities in the state work toward helping felons find housing that is affordable and meets their requirements for a habitable place to live.
HUD employs a housing applicant’s annual median income or AMI towards the listings of properties that participate in their subsidized housing program. You should apply to a HUD agency or Maryland housing authority immediately after your prison release as you may have to sign up on a waiting list.
HUD or affiliated housing authorities offer move-in ready apartments for felons and others whose income is far below the AMI for their area. However, as indicated, it is sometimes necessary to wait for a rental. As a result, you have to sign up on a waiting list. While you wait, you can make use of the transitional housing that is offered through some of the listed programs that support re-integration into society.
Avoid Major Apartment Property Management Companies
If you want your apartment search to remain on track, it is best not to take a detour by looking at apartments in larger Maryland apartment communities. That is because the property management companies in these complexes always check references – something you don’t want to happen as you won’t be able to obtain an apartment. Instead, it is best to refer to reentry listings or to conduct a rental search on Craigslist. Your local housing authority or HUD office is also more felon-friendly.
Survey Your Criminal Record
Before you begin a housing search, you will need to perform a criminal background check on yourself. The process will take about two minutes of your time and you will be assessed at a minimal fee. You need this information so you can better negotiate a lease with a potential landlord or move into transitional housing. To initiate the process, begin by following this link.
Why It Is Not Considered Illegal to Turn Down a Felon for Rental Housing
Although most people believe discrimination is an unfair way to conduct business, it is done more often than you think. For instance, every time you have your credit score checked by a loan officer, it is a form of legal discrimination. A property manager can also discriminate against a housing applicant if he or she feels the applicant’s criminal history might be a potential threat to their community.
Property owners can also legally discriminate against applicants that have been evicted or have been guilty of non-payment of rent. When the discrimination is based on a business transaction and not bias, usually it is accepted legally.
How Illegal Discrimination is Prevented
Discrimination in Maryland and everywhere else in the US becomes illegal when a property owner denies a rental application based on his or her prejudice. According to the US Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot refuse to rent to applicants because of their race, sex, family status, ethnicity, disability or national origin.
Actually, you are in your legal right to rent a house or apartment if your felony charge involved illegal substance abuse that resulted from a mental or physical or mental disability. That is because a disability is part of a protected class. As a result, a landlord can get into trouble legally if he or she refuses to rent to you in this instance.
Unfortunately, felony convictions, in and of themselves, are not categorized as a protected class. As a result, you will normally be turned down if a property owner believes your crime could be a potential threat to his or her community. In Maryland and the US, no laws exists that enables felons to rent apartments in major apartment communities.
Unless your crime is several decades old and was non-violent in nature, you will usually be turned down immediately. That is why it is important to refer to reentry programs, Craigslist and your local housing authority when searching for a place to live. You can find out more about discriminatory practices by visiting NOLO online.
How the Housing Law is Applied to Felons in Maryland and the US
A discriminatory practice, basically, becomes illegal when a property owner bases their decision to rent or not to rent on their own biases rather than the facts. Therefore, any felon in Maryland or elsewhere in the US who is turned down for housing is usually denied based on their felony history.
A property owner is in his or her right to turn felons down for housing as long as he or she makes the decision to deny all felon applications that do not extend to a protected class. Therefore, in order for the property owner to make a fair decision, he or she must make sure that any decision that is made is based on factual data and does not extend to a protected category. The decision should be both equitable and objective.
Rental decisions that are based on a property owners bias or which refuse an applicant because of his or her ethnicity, sex, family status, disability, religion or national origin are considered illegal by the US Fair Housing Administration. Arbitrary discrimination does not always appear to be illegal but it can be if a property owner is not careful. You can read more about this form of discrimination by following this link.
Maryland Housing Authority
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development works in conjunction with HUD in Maryland to provide rentals for low-income people, including felons, whose income or means of support is assessed at below the annual median income or AMI for an area. Housing authorities in Maryland act as the representative for low-income renters and participating property managers or property management companies.
Take a positive step once you are out of prison and schedule an appointment immediately with a local HUD agency or the Maryland housing authority in your community. While an agency often lists move-in ready apartments, sometimes it is necessary to be put on a waiting list. Therefore, the quicker you schedule an appointment, the sooner you will be able to settle into a residence. According to housing authority staff, heads of households in government-subsidized housing include elderly or disabled individuals or households that are primary comprised of one person, a working family, or children.
Maryland Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Once again, Craigslist in Maryland can be a boon to your housing search as the site features affordable rental houses and apartments that are usually not located in large apartment communities. Usually, the landlords are entrepreneurial and therefore do not have as stringent of leasing requirements. Some will not even check your background. Even if they do, however, they are still easier to talk to about your situation and negotiate a lease.
To review the listings for Craigslist in Maryland, you first need to click on this link. Choose the town you wish to reside, then click on the “housing” section at the top of the page. Further short-list your selections by including the rental range.
Reentry Programs in Maryland
The best way to initiate any housing search is to scan the reentry programs that are listed for Maryland. Regularly refer to the reentry listings for Maryland that have been created by the JobsForFelonsHub.com site.
The Maryland Religious Community
Make use of the services of faith based organizations in your housing and job search. If you become a member of a local church, ask your minister for housing leads. You might also volunteer in a community based program and ask for referrals through the organization.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Your friends and family can also help in your house search efforts. Just don’t ask a family member or friend to rent an apartment on your behalf. Your name has to be listed as an occupant on the lease. Otherwise, you could get evicted or sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Maintain a Professional Appearance
During a housing or job search, present a professional appearance. Stop by the community thrift store to pick out some professional-looking clothes. If you want to be a success in your efforts, you need to convey a professional look and demeanor.
Ask Professional Questions
Once you schedule a leasing appointment, make sure you establish a good rapport with the property manager or leasing agent – ask professional and pertinent questions. Be polite during your conversation. You want to establish good communications so you can stay in your rental for a long length of time.
Reference the Reentry Listings
Always refer to the reentry listings that have been compiled by the JobsForFelonsHub.com site. If you are unable to locate a rental, you can always consider transitional housing as a temporary solution for your housing needs.
Maintain a Routine
Always stick to a routine, whether you are living temporarily in housing or have rented an apartment. Stay focused on your job hunting goals or go to work every day. You have been given a second chance. Therefore, don’t become demotivated in your efforts. Stay on track on you will realize success.