Finding a place to live after going out of prison or while on parole may be a challenge. There are certain conditions that you have to comply with to avoid being rearrested and returned to prison. Now, you might be wondering: can a felon live with an ex-felon?
It depends on the situation. If both of the felons have fully served their prison time, then there’s no law that prohibits two felons from living together.
If you’re a parolee or you’re trying to seek answers for a loved one to clarify their living situation, then you should continue reading.
Can You Live with an Ex-felon if You’re on Parole or Probation?
If you’re a felon out on parole or probation and intend to live with another ex-felon, you should appeal your case to a judge. As mentioned, there are parole restrictions when it comes to living situations.
To be specific, parolees are not allowed to live in the same house with an ex-felon. However, there are situations that can be an exemption. You can talk to your probation officer and lawyer and ask for a judge to make exemptions. Here are common exemptions to the rule:
- Convicted spouse: If you’re married to someone with a felony record, the judge may approve of the living situation. This is only applicable if you got married before doing time in prison.
- Convicted family members: If you have another family member who’s a convicted felon. The judge may make an exemption for the living situation.
- Leasing agreement: If you share a lease with a roommate, with a felony record before you were convicted, you may appeal for the judge to make an exemption.
- Sober living homes: Since a halfway house or sober living home serves as transitional housing for patients battling with substance use disorder, cases are other felons may be living in the facility as well. In this case, the judge may make exemptions.
Are the exemptions above all guaranteed to be approved by the judge? Well, it depends. The judge will decide on this depending on a lot of factors including the waiting period, your criminal offense, or your housing conditions.
But it never hurts to appeal, right?
Finding a home after doing your time is challenging, especially financially. So you want to exhaust all options to live a comfortable and practical life. If the exemptions mentioned above don’t apply in your case, then you cannot live with another ex-felon.
Why Can’t a Parolee Live with Another Felon?
A person can’t live in the same house with another felon for one reason — this is against the Probation and Supervised Release Conditions mandated by the US Court. A parolee or a person out on probation should not communicate, interact, or live with someone who was and is engaged in a criminal activity, whether a convicted felon or not.
In short, the court protects you from a bad influence. If you’re out on parole and know someone who has been convicted of a felony, you should inform and obtain permission from your probation officer before making any contact with a convicted felon.
The goal of this condition is to forbid any association with other felons to avoid returning to their old ways. Failure to do so is a violation of the parole conditions and may cause the parolee to be rearrested and returned back to prison. This is the law and it should be followed.
Do Felons Have Restrictions on Where They Live?
As unfortunate as it may sound, felons have restrictions on where they can live. That is both for felons who fully served their time and those out on parole, depending on the crime committed. Those out on parole have more restrictions since they have to comply with the common parole conditions.
In addition to that, depending on the felony conviction, landlords may discriminate and not accept them as tenants. That is especially in the case of registered sex offenders and those who are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine because of the risk of danger to neighbors or other tenants. Also, registered sex offenders on minors may not live near schools or parks where there are plenty of children nearby.
Can Felons Be Discriminated against Housing?
Recently incarcerated individuals should not be discriminated against. Luckily, in 2016, the U.S. The Department of Housing and Urban Development mandated that landlords should not discriminate against ex-felons without good reason. If landlords do so, they would violate the Fair Housing Act as this is considered illegal discrimination.
However, as mentioned, landlords can deny housing based on reliable evidence. It should not be speculative or hypothetical. The landlord should provide evidence that their recent criminal record makes them dangerous or at risk to neighbors or other tenants.
Can a Convicted Felon Live in Public Housing?
Yes, convicted felons can live in public housing.
Public housing is one of the most affordable housing options, and recently incarcerated individuals will most likely choose this living situation. There are also other rental assistance programs like Project-Based Rental Assistance and Housing Choice Vouchers that ex-felons can avail of.
These public housing programs provide affordable living options to more than 1.8 million low-income Americans in the nation including ex-felons. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not have a blanket policy that prohibits ex-felons from availing of Public Housing options. However, there are exemptions.
The HUD mandates exemptions to ex-felons who cannot avail of Public Housing, these include:
- Registered sex offender
- Individuals who are convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine
Can a Criminal Record Prevent You from Getting a Mortgage?
If you have a criminal record, you can still apply for a home mortgage. However, just a heads up, having a criminal record tags you as a high-risk client of the bank.
Put it this way:
Banks lend money to individuals who have the capacity to pay. If a person has a criminal record, banks are concerned if the borrower can sustain paying the mortgage or preserving the property.
This does not only apply to home mortgages but to any other form of bank loan as well. Whether it be for personal use or to start up a business. Banks may conduct background checks about criminal offenses, even on your spouse. If a criminal record is found, the mortgage application may be denied.
But does this mean people with criminal records cannot apply for a mortgage anymore? No! There’s no harm in trying. The approval will be at the discretion of the bank. If the bank is convinced that you could pay the money back, the mortgage may be approved.
Can You Rent an Apartment if You’re a Convicted Felon?
Of course, you can rent an apartment if you’re a felon. However, as mentioned, landlords may run background checks and may deny rental. But don’t worry! If you’re a convicted felon, here are some tips on how to find an apartment:
Find an Apartment That Doesn’t Run Background Checks
Some apartments may conduct a background check when renting out units to tenants, so you want to avoid those. Instead, look for apartments in your area for “second chance rentals” or “felon-friendly apartments”.
Seek Help from Organizations
There are organizations and websites aimed to help felons restart their lives, which includes seeking employment and house-hunting. Organizations can connect you with felon-friendly apartments in your area. While there are websites that are resource pages for seeking employment, education, and housing.
Avoid Apartment Complexes
Typically, apartment complexes have strict rules when it comes to the criminal history of their tenants. What you should do instead is to look for an individual landlord. This way, you can have a one-on-one talk with your landlord about your situation.
In case you were asked by the landlord regarding any criminal history, just answer honestly. The landlord has the right to run background checks. If you have not declared an honest answer and the landlord found out the truth after, this may become a problem. So just answer honestly!
Have a Character Witness
Have someone vouch for you and help convince the landlord that you’re a good payor or won’t cause any trouble. It must be someone reputable such as your boss, a previous landlord, or family members.
Prove to the landlord that you are able to pay your rent diligently. You can offer to pay more than the asking price, offer a higher security deposit, and have more funds for upfront payment. This proves to the landlord that you can afford to pay.
To sum it all up, two convicted felons who served their time are free to live together. If one is on parole, they may not live together with another felon, but there are exemptions on which one can appeal to a judge.
Finding employment, continuing your education, or finding a place to live after life behind bars, maybe a challenge. If in case you’re unsure of your next step or concerned if you violate any parole rules, it is best to talk to your lawyer or parole officer.