This Chapter explains common housing issues and questions for people with criminal records and the friends and family who live with them. This section will give you information about:

    Your housing options in reentry;
    What kind of housing you can and cannot live in based on your criminal record;
    How to put your best foot forward in applying for housing; and
    What you can do if you believe you were illegally denied housing.

Key Terms in the Housing Chapter

Public Housing Authority (PHA)—a government organization that assists with the development and/or operation of housing for low-income individuals and families. There is a PHA in most counties across California.

Private Owner/Landlord—is the owner of a house or apartment that is rented or leased.

Owner of Government-Assisted Housing—is a private owner/landlord who receives some form of government assistance to make housing more affordable for certain categories of people.

Lease/Rental Agreement—is a legal document that explains the terms under which you are renting your housing.

Background Checks (“Tenant Reports”)— is the process of looking up and compiling criminal, commercial, and financial records of an individual.

Credit Report—is a detailed report of your credit history prepared by a credit bureau and used by a lender or homeowner to determine your creditworthiness; it includes your personal data (current and previous addresses, social security number, employment history), detailed account information (current balances, payment amounts, payment history), inquiries into your credit history, etc.

Eviction (“Unlawful Detainer”)—action by a landlord that forces you to leave the premises through a legal process, as for non-payment of rent.