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Discussion: How can registrants find a place to live?

This is an open discussion where you can share your ideas on how we registrants can find housing in a society that discriminates against us. For example:

  • How to look for housing
  • Available housing search resources
  • Your success story

If your information is specific to your state, please mention the state.

WARNING: No advertisements for specific housing will be posted. We are discussing general concepts.


Join the discussion

  1. Tired of this

    Tangential to this topic, but how does a registered person find rental housing? I’m in a cheap month-to-month apartment right now where they did not ask about criminal history, but I am moving out of state and so far most of the rentals I am seeing are managed by property management companies which deny sex offenders. I’ve got great credit and a great reference from my current landlord but none of that seems to matter when you have this Mark of Cain. I am considering buying a used RV as a hedge against homelessness and then just parking in month to month RV parks or private lots rented out by an owner. Being mobile, I could always park somewhere else if my status was discovered. I’m a truck driver and I’m looking for a job there where I would be away for a week or more at a time anyway (single, no kids), so I wouldn’t be around much. Wondering how feasible this plan is. Been trying to find a similar month to month apartment like I have now but I’m coming up empty-handed.

    • Will Allen

      You can find inexpensive land all over the place (as long as you don’t have to be “too near” some expensive areas). Buy some. Park your RV there. Build a cool tiny home. Later build a house. Do whatever you want.

      Build a wall around it.

    • Doug

      I am in posision now to help another .
      I don’t know How to contact , with out puting out too much info on this site.

      • Timmmy

        The best way to put out for someone to contact you is posting a throw away/disposable email account. There are plenty of sites which offer them for free.

    • That David

      What worked whenever I moved in Cali, and when I moved to Nevada, was searching through Craigslist ads until I found some private landlords who didn’t use property management. Then applied to them until I found one that didn’t ask about felonies. There were often quite a few who said yes to me, and I actually had quite a few options when I moved to Nevada. Ymmv, but that is how I rented both in Cali and until I bought my house in Nevada.

  2. Worried in Wisconsin

    When I was waiting for my parole plan to be approved, the one sticking point was getting approval on my proposed living arrangements. I had no family in the state, and being in prison I had no real way to go apartment hunting. This was keeping me from being released.

    My mother worked with an attorney in the local area to put together my parole plan. When it came to searching for an apartment there were two problems – finding one in an allowable place, and finding a landlord that was willing to rent to me. The bigger problem was finding the willing landlord.

    After many attempts to find a place failed, my attorney came up with an ‘in-your-face’ way to do this. He placed an ad in the classified section of a few local papers where people post ads seeking living arrangements. The ad read, “Sex offender being released from prison seeking apartment/house for rent…” He followed with his office’s phone number. Believe it or not he got responses from landlords. Most of these were duplexes or apartments in outlying areas. They called fully aware of my situation, and it was not necessary to beat around the bush. Luckily, one of them worked out and was approved by the PO assigned to my parole plan. My mother paid a couple of month’s rent for him to hold the apartment open for me while the final parole hearing took place.

    This worked for me. I was granted early parole and released to live in the upper flat of a duplex. I still live in the same building 18 years later, although a few years ago we bought the place and converted the duplex into a single-family house.

    My point – sometimes the direct approach is the best one. I had nothing to lose by allowing the ads to be placed, and since the calls were going to my attorney’s office I was not worried about any nut jobs that might decide to call.

    • wonderin

      @Worried in Wisconsin
      Great Post! Who would have guessed? Being honest has always worked well for me too.

    • Tim Moore

      Very interesting. I had my home to go back to, so I was lucky. But, on the subject of being direct, and this should probably be in the previous employment section: My first job after my sentence, I simply told the employer what I did. I had been telling everyone in interviews the same thing, but this guy’s father happened to have the same offense. So, I guess he liked the honesty, but I also had more than enough experience for the job. I mean it was nothing great, digging holes and gluing pipe, but it saved my life, my home and family. You generally need a job first to keep a residence. Also, people sometimes like honesty. It can be an asset.

  3. Facts should matter

    The term “registrant” is derogatory and offensive. It’s usage should be frowned upon.

    • Will Allen

      It is certainly better than “$EX offender” or “offender”. We’ve had this discussion here before but what do you suggest instead??

      Registered Citizen
      Registered Person
      Person Registered for Harassment, Restrictions, and Punishment (PRHRP)

      I like the last one.

  4. AO

    How does denial of a rental reconcile with CA’s 290 status stating your registration cannot be used as a factor? Even your criminal record cannot be used as a factor if it’s more than 7 years old, right?

  5. Anonymous

    My family and I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt and with all too much pain (horrific pain), that finding a house that I am “allowed” to live in, is 1,000,000 times harder than finding a job. I am not on parole. I am very well employed. I am disgusted and ashamed by what I did CP. I am not more of a threat than someone who hasn’t been convicted of any sex crime. Funny thing is, is that I am way happier now than I was when I was acting like that, but disgusted and angry that I have had to move my family, again. They can’t stop my success & I am succeeding and I am proving “them” wrong & pissing them off.

  6. Nicholas Maietta

    I’ve always advocated even for non-registrants another “crazy” option that isn’t so crazy and it’s quite popular.

    It involves minimalism, survivalist mindset, freedom to move around and affordability. It’s call RV life or vandwelling. I’ve noticed many registrants do not have a driver’s license so this would not be an option for them. In California, life in a small but cozy RV can be just the ticket to a bad mess. In my case, it’s saved my hide on a few occasions. In California, cities are no longer allowed to force you to move around simply for being “homeless”. If it’s a public street, you can park there. Just move around and obey the typical laws.

    I lucked out after a fire last year and was GIVEN a class B custom camper-van, old enough to almost be considered vintage, but clean, never lived in, low miles and easy to work on. These can be had for a few thousand if you look around. It sure beats paying rent. Many, like mine have a kitchen, shower, toilet, couch/bed combo, seating area and even a pantry. If you are handy, you can build one from a cheap van. There is a solution for every budget.

    If you live and die with a computer like I do, ditch the desktop computer and stick with a laptop and a great cell phone plan offering unlimited tethering. A tablet PC can be a blessing as well. Books to read, internet without burning power from the laptop. Adding solar, extra batteries can help quite a bit.

    At some point, I will be back on the road in my Class B camper looking for the place I can finally call home. Of course, i’ll probably be on the road for a very long time. But again, it beats paying rent.

    If for no other reason, it’s a great plan B if you do lose your place. Keeping it stocked with water, food, fuel, clothing and other supplies is always a good backup plan. Nice for road trips as well.

    Keep it clean and cared for and you can fetch a lot of money for it if you finally find a good place to live.

    • soon homeless

      @Nicholas, thanks, how do you register, as a transient? Any tips on that?

      • The Static-99R Is A Scam

        Homeless people have more stringent in-person registration requirements — which I think is ridiculous, considering that Smith v. Doe addressed mail-in (not in-person) registration requirements.

        • Nicholas Maietta

          I’ve been registering for almost 20 years. Only during parole while homeless did I have to give my locations to parole, but never to the City police or Sheriff.

          I found it far easier being a transient with the exception of having to report every 30 days. I’ve never been asked by law enforcement where I was staying at. In a vehicle i declare if i’m either mostly in the city limits at night or in the county and register accordingly.

          I guess it’s different for different jurisdictions, which tells me it’s time to get clarification in writing from CA DOJ, since the cops are all over the place on this.

      • Worried in Wisconsin

        Not sure how it works where you are, but in many jurisdictions registering as a transient involves much more frequent in-person reporting. Some places require notification every time you find a new park bench to sleep on if you’re homeless. I would avoid transient registration at all costs – just too many ways to get tripped up and be found in violation.

        We have a camper that we use for vacation travel, and it’s become quite a chore to route our journeys to stay in compliance. Lots of research to verify allowable time-in-state before registration, lots of research to avoid parking for the night in a restricted area, etc. One city in Wisconsin at one time defined residence as the place one slept. I called and asked the city attorney about that, and finally he admitted I could live anywhere in the city I wanted for as long as I wanted, as long as I didn’t fall asleep. One the other side of the argument, falling asleep while waiting for a bus would put me in violation by having an unregistered residence (the bus stop). Fortunately they stopped that madness for the most part (but not totally.)

    • R M

      This guy build his own. I don’t know who this guy is ;-).

    • HopingForHope

      Are you crossing state borders at all? If so, you’d have a myriad of reg requirements to deal with.
      Sounds like you’d have to move every three days to avoid that, so I’m assuming you are staying in one state?

    • BA

      You seem pretty savvy on the rseidency knowledge, I will be moving out of orange county next year after 14 years of registering here. I have a 314.1 misdemeanor have had it expunged and I’am not on website for registrants with picture. My question is will I still have a problem finding a rental and what areas would be easier as I need to petition to get off in 2021 in california. Any advice would be greatly appreciated I have $50,000 to purchase land also……..I have worked hard for years. I could let someone live with me if they had income also?

      • NPS


        Move to the Bay Area. I was convicted in Orange County but immediately moved to San Francisco and had my probation transferred. Probation was a cake walk. SF also granted my 17b and expungement. Like you, I’m also not publicly listed (never was). This is just an opinion based on what I’ve observed, but I would think petitioning would be easier in the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and Solano. I do know that the recently elected DA in Contra Costa is a firm believer in restorative justice and won on that platform. Avoid Santa Clara county, which is like Orange County. San Mateo and Sonoma likes to tout it’s “tough on crime” stance, too, though not as bad as SC.

        The issue with the Bay Area is that it’s expensive. However, there are places that are more affordable. The background checks seem to be more focused on whether or not you’re a terrorist. I passed them when I rented in SF, Burlingame and Belmont.

        • BA

          I agree but I need to be close to my sister she has cancer so it would be los angeles county, riverside or san bernardino as she is in yorba linda. Maybe I will buy a lot in say riverside and put a rv there? do they make you build immediately! I think if it is a bit away from total residentials they don’t care if you build within 6 months or so…….they do background checks to rent a apt.? I thought more like credit?

  7. Timmmy

    I have noticed if you go around some small to mid sized universities, there tend to be some cheaper apartments in those areas catering to students which tend to be managed and owned by the same person. If you tell them you plan on attending school there, they tend to not to ask many questions beyond that. I have had a lot of luck in those areas.

    For veterans, there is the Home Loan program which makes it easier to qualify for a home load with zero down. You can even get a duplex, for example as log s you live in it, and make sure someone is living in the other side to help pay the mortgage which would count as repayment, if I am not mistaken.

    In Texas for veterans, there is the land program. You find some land you want to get, the TX VA Land Office will purchase the land, then puts the land in your name with the state as the lean holder, while you pay then off at a very low interest rate. No credit check, but you have to show you have the ability to pay them off. Then you can move your RV, camber on there, or build.

    • Worried in Wisconsin

      Got to be careful with any of the Federal programs related to mortgages and home loans, whether VA or otherwise. There are new rules being added all the time that prohibit anyone with a sex offense conviction from being approved for a loan. I ran into this with an SBA loan for my business, and also when we did our home loan. Had to find a lender who was not going through Fanny or Freddie. Rules change all the time with these programs.

      • Timmmy

        I have never read those rules. Can you provide a site for me and others to learn about?

      • NPS

        @Worried in Wisconsin,

        Are you sure about that? I bought my house in August 2016 with an FHA loan. There was never any problems. The whole sale went quite smoothly without any hiccups. This was in the San Francisco Bay Area.

        • Worried in Wisconsin

          Am I sure? I’m not sure about anything when it comes to the rules they keep adding/changing for us.

          What I do know is that when we did our last refi we had to search out a bank that was not using an FHA loan. Would it be a problem for everyone? Don’t know. It was for us.

  8. Jesse

    I live in Oklahoma City and I do not have to register anymore, Thanks be to God but I still can not seem to get an apartment. I am a 52 year old male Independently disabled I receive $698 check with $200 food stamps and $40 from Oklahoma debit program. I am a relaxed smoker of 10 smokes a day and have not been able to find an apartment even though I am not on the registry for 2 years all because of 3rd party websites not having accurate information and yes I know there are ways to try and get websites to remove info but 1 it is expensive and 2 they do not all obey the laws and as I am on disability there is no way to afford Lawyers so if any one knows of any apartments in Oklahoma city that is under $550 all bills paid or $450 and I will pay bills I would love to know about it. I have setup a new email that I will delete after I get an apartment and it is to be used to send me options for places to live. I will not click on links so please do not send links to web pages as that is a sure way to end up on a site where we do not want to be. Please be kind and send information for Oklahoma city and surrounding areas. The email address is Thank you

    • Nicholas Maietta

      Be aware of predatory scams, especially on sites like Craigslist. Often times, random people will list an empty house for rent, ask for application and deposit, then let you move in. Only problem is it’s not their house to rent out. Happens all the time. Sadly people hand over their cash to people they don’t know, and will never see that cash again.

      Don’t fall for this or anything remotely similar. The scams are in every city, but nobody is ever convicted for it. Hey, that gives me an idea on how to get rich quick….

      • TS

        To add what Nicholas Maietta said, you can check on the house for rent on CL by checking Zillow. In my experience of looking for places to live of late, the CL ads are stolen from active Zillow rental ads with different contact info of course to send your money to. I once went by the same house for rent on CL and Zillow and asked the person living there if they were aware of the double listing, which they were not. It was the owner who was listing their house for rent but was quickly made aware of the scam even though they are not liable (that I know of) of the double listing.

  9. Feeling sad

    We found a for rent by owner home about 2 years ago. Now mind you that was before the AWA happened here in NV. Hopefully we have no issues and can stay here since weve been here a while!!!!

  10. RC in Penn

    Finding a place to live in Penn is a bit easier than other states as there is no state law for residency restrictions. So now all you have to do is find a landlord that is willing to rent to you because of your status as a RC.

    Again, as mentioned in many other posts it is best to avoid seeking a residence that is run by a management company. My experience and of those that I know it is best to deal with the landlord personally.

    When I was granted parole back in June of 2010 it took me some time to find a place to live once I would be released and of course I could not get a confirmed release date until I had a confirmed/approved place to live. I sent so many letters out from prison to many places asking for some type of housing accommodations. Many just flat out did not respond or sent me letters of denial. Until I got one response which almost made me cry. There was word going around the “yard” of a landlord that was willing to rent to felons and even RC. He returned my letter with a very nice and friendly understanding of my circumstances and his belief that all people deserve a second chance no matter what.

    He owned several properties and one of them was a boarding house. Long story short I arranged to have a one month rent sent to him to hold the room for me, submitted my Home Plan and it was approved about 8 days later. My release date was confirmed and I was out in Nov 2010.

    The first day the landlord came by, introduced himself, we sat and signed the papers for my room rental agreement and then we had a nice long friendly chat. What a very nice human being he is. I say is because we still stay in communications by sending holiday greetings to each other via text messaging even though I moved from his until back in Feb 2014 after completing my parole. I bought a house up north for my retirement. Again, his belief was every deserves a second chance.

    The rooming house had about 5 bedrooms, each person had their private bedroom and shared the rest of the house. There were other RC living there also and on parole. The PO liked that because he could visit several in one shot. The monthly rental was very reasonable and included everything. Here and there he had a boarder who would find out about some of the criminal history of the other boarders and would complain to the landlord that they were not told about them/us. The landlord told them he was not at all obligated to tell them and if they pursued to complain more to him he would simply tell them – “If you don’t want to live in the same house with them then leave” and would politely rip up their lease.

    The landlord married a woman from another country. He is a Christian and he and his wife adopted all of their children; all six of them and all six from different countries and cultures. Boys and girls and they ranged in age from 14 to 24. Polite, friendly and respectful is the only way I could describe all of their children. He and his wife did such a fantastic job of raising them. Even the youngest knew of our crimes because his parents wanted him to learn from early on “forgiveness” and how to be a good human being.

    Sorry, long story short here – After being out for 8 years now I found that living arrangements like boarding houses or rooms for rent were most times the best options for RC to pursue just coming out of prison. Also, some of the landlord also rent houses (he did) and the whole family could live together. His rent was very reasonable and if you felt you would be a bit short in the rent or a bit late all you had to do was let him know as soon as you could and he would work with you. Because of the respect he showed you all you could possibly do in return is show him respect back.

    This shows that there are landlords out there willing to rent to you. He was a member of some type of Landlord organization and the other member knew he would rent to RC. They would ask him “why would you rent to people like that” – his response was – “because they appreciate the second chance and tend to be the most respectful and appreciative tenants you could have. He would also tell them if you treat people with respect you get respect back.

  11. Anonymous

    I have never heard of anybody in any state being arrested or convicted for living in a house that was “off limits” to an RSO. I’m sure I could find some via google. What about living where any other free American lives, and if you get arrested, already have a lawyer in place and already have contacts w/the aclu.

  12. CR

    @Anonymous — “What about living where any other free American lives, and if you get arrested, already have a lawyer in place and already have contacts w/the aclu.”

    The ACLU won’t get involved in individual criminal cases. The exceptions are things like Smith v Doe or Does v Snyder where larger civil rights concerns affecting large numbers of people are at issue. So having contacts with the ACLU serves no purpose. And so what if you have a lawyer in place ahead of time? If you are clearly in violation of the law, you are not going to win unless you can mount a successful challenge to the law.

    And I wouldn’t be so sure that people don’t get arrested and convicted for living where they are restricted from living after being notified and failing to move. Testing this is risking being arrested and prosecuted, having your life and the lives of your family members turned upside down, costing you enormous amounts of time and money to fight it.

  13. cool CA RC

    My parents brought me an RV and was allowed to live in the back yard until the country inspector saw me coming out of the place and told my parents. Country laws said no RV living So I moved to my dad condo then my dad had to sell out then I moved to my boss’s house.
    I just got lucky.

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