In the Sale and Rental of Housing: No one may take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability):
Refuse to rent or sell housing
Refuse to negotiate for housing
Make housing unavailable
Deny a dwelling
Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
Provide different housing services or facilities
Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent (blockbusting) or
Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service (such as a multiple listing service) related to the sale or rental of housing.
A criminal background is definitely something that a landlord can use in denying an application if they so choose. Hopefully you will find a landlord that can look at your current situation to make their decision - they are out there.
Yes, this is true, moreso in renting than in purchasing. And, it's even true in some purchases with association maintained housing.
It does seem unfair, but it is legal. I would explore some of the alternatives described in the answers below. It seems there are programs that might work for you!!!
I wish you all the luck~
However, in the end the whole picture is looked at. You are not ever automatically disqualified as a tenant because of this. Great credit and stable income is a plus! If you are looking at single family rentals the company with the largest market share is renters Wherehouse. I would call them up and just ask what their viewpoint is. Sometimes the best thing to do is just talk with some of the big leasing companies to get a feel for what the market is doing. I think you will get a more direct answer, because most of us on Trulia are just realtors.
As another broker stated there are options for buying like rent-to-own or contract for deed opportunities if you are interested in buying, but you cannot obtain traditional financing. Even in this scenario a down payment is required, and you will still have to deal with the felony.
I honestly don't know enough information to bring clarity and tell you what I personally believe is the best option. If you want I will give you an un-biased suggestion just get in contact with me.
Otherwise good luck Pader!