It is often a steep challenge for an ex-offender to find a place to live. If the felon does not have a family member with whom he can stay or another person with whom he has a personal relationship, he may find a number of doors slammed in his face when he applies for a lease. However, in Illinois there is no law preventing most felons from renting apartments, although there is no state law preventing landlords from discriminating against felons.
A large number of felons are not entirely free, but are out on parole. A parolee generally must abide by a number of stipulations, which can sometimes affect where the person can stay. Before a person seeks out housing, he should know in what areas he can live. For example, he might not be permitted to live near a school.
No Illinois law prevents felons from taking housing as long as they are within their parole-related stipulations. However, there are no laws that prevent landlords from refusing to rent to felons. Many landlords may ask if a potential tenant has a felony and if he does, deny his application for housing. However, each building has its own policies.
Searching for An Apartment
A felon should ask whether an apartment complex accepts felons. If they do not, this will save him the trouble of applying. If asked on the rental application whether he has a felony, the person should answer honestly. Otherwise, he may be evicted and face possible penalties if his lie is discovered later.
A felon may wish to check with his parole officer, local social services organization or any non-profit that works with ex-offenders for information on housing complexes that accept felons. In addition, some cities have laws that prevent housing complexes from discriminating against people with felonies on their records. These cities may have more housing available for ex-offenders than other cities without such laws.
- "The Ex-Offender's Re-Entry Success Guide"; Caryl Krannich; 2008
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.