The U.S. legal system deals austerely with people convicted of a crime. The bad news is that the harsh treatment extends beyond prison; and often encompasses everyday interactions and personal affairs.
People who have criminal records lose civil privileges, including the inability to vote and a lack of adequate housing opportunities. While there are limitations to a housing search if a person has a record, there are ways to prevent discrimination and unfair practices.
According to one Philadelphia Inquirer report, people with criminal records can still apply for housing and receive approval if they know their rights. The rules differ depending on whether the residence is private or public housing and the conviction's severity. Still, some options help you find a quality space and increase your approval chances despite a criminal background.
Private and Public Housing
Even people who have no criminal record face difficulties when trying to find a suitable home. Although they receive protections under the Fair Housing Act, landlords usually have the final say regarding who will buy or rent their property.
While they have the upper hand, the law prevents landlords from denying a person with a former arrest if they did not receive a conviction. Moreover, the landlord must prove that there is nuance to his or her policy. They must show that they consider the seriousness of the person's charge and the time of the conviction before refusing an application.
For public housing, the laws are similar to those imposed on private landlords. Most public housing authorities will consider the severity of the crime and the time frame it happened. However, they can refuse offenses concerning drug-related activity and violent crime.
Improving Your Chances of Securing a Home
Everyone makes mistakes, and people with criminal records want to improve their lives and turn a new leaf. There are multiple ways that you can try to highlight positive progress and increase your chances of approval from a landlord.
- Testimonies: Gathering character testimonies from employers, religious leaders, and other members of society in good standing can considerably improve your chances.
- Recommendations: If you are on good terms with your current landlord, you can ask for a recommendation letter to present to a housing authority. Landlords may give you a chance if they have proof that other landlords don't face issues with you.
- Certifications: An offer letter from your current employer, a diploma, a GED certificate, or any document that proves that you are actively working to improve your life increases the likelihood of housing approval.
- Expungement: The best way to secure housing is to expunge the criminal charge from your record. While it may not be possible for all cases, having a clean slate creates opportunities that can help get your life back on track.
Call the Lento Law Firm
Attorney Joseph D. Lento helps people with criminal records fight for a second chance. With years of practice and a track record of success handling the most complex expungement cases, you can rest at ease knowing that a professional is by your side.
You deserve secure housing and an opportunity to turn your life around. Call the Lento Law Firm now to discuss your expungement case in confidence at 888-535-3686.