Real Estate

No One Will Rent Me an Apartment, Even Though I Was Mentioned in House of Cards

Being a felon does not make life easy.


After four years in federal prison, two months in a moderately corrupt halfway house, and four months living on home confinement at my mom’s place, I was happy to be apartment hunting in the runup to the formal end of my sentence, which came on May 25. I booked a viewing at an Uptown apartment directly across the street from my last residence and had a Realtor show me three units ranging in price from $1,100 to $1,300 a month. The last one I looked at — two stories with a door opening onto the pool — would be a perfect place to work and to achieve some sort of normalcy, at long last.

I told the Realtor I’d take it. I would fax over my book contract with Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux showing I had $125,000 in gross income coming over the next year or so, and could pay six months in advance. And as for the section in the application where you have to list your previous residences, I said, there would be a five-year period in which there would be no other apartments for them to contact, because, you see, I had been in federal prison, serving time on charges related to my involvement in a campaign to uncover state-corporate wrongdoing. But surely that wouldn’t be a problem. I had a National Magazine Award, after all, for commentary. I’d beaten all the other magazine commentators that year, especially Joe Klein, who is a person of no value. Also I was mentioned in the second season of House of Cards, and I don’t own any pets.

It turns out that none of this matters. If you have a felony — or even a misdemeanor drug conviction — many of the major realty firms simply won’t rent to you. Even a Deep Ellum loft requires a more or less clean criminal record these days, which tells me all I need to know about 21st-century Deep Ellum. Meanwhile, I’m stuck in Dallas until my two-year stint of probation is complete, at which point — as I announced the other day in a dual interview with Glenn Greenwald — I’ll be leaving the United States for greener, less authoritarian pastures abroad.

For now, I need to find a place to live within 20 miles of downtown. Anyone who owns an apartment building or has a room to rent or is an aging, divorced woman with a decently appointed condo who would like to engage in a torrid affair with a mysterious ex-con may contact me at [email protected] (send recent photo).

UPDATE (6/2/17) I want to thank everyone who sent me lease offers and leads over the past week. I’ve just gotten a great apartment with a fireplace, pool, and a view of downtown. Best of all, it’s just a few minute’s walk from The Old Monk. Score one for the ex-convicts.


  • Pol Pot

    Have you looked at the rooms for rent on Gaston between Carroll and Fitzhugh? Plenty of felons and even sex offenders, so you probably have a shot.

    • damianmann

      Don’t be a douchenozzle,Pole Twat

      • Pol Pot

        First I find out my homeboy Noriega died and now this! I finally understand why those girls named Haley and Kaleigh at Starbucks utter “I can’t even.”
        –Brother Number One

  • mrEmannE

    Prince Of Wales on Live Oak.

  • toddimus144

    Must be nice to get out of prison and be able to afford 1300 a month rent. Just go find a roommate and pay their rent. Anyone else NOT feel bad for this fella? When you can barely afford food then ask for help.

    • Barrett Brown

      Must be nice to have a third-rate beard.

      • toddimus144

        ah ha its not a true beard. I am just a bum who doesn’t shave.

      • LuLz…I am a bearded grizzly bro….But i am a felon and i fully am proud that you can afford any place to make a home bro. After all the shit you dealt with during your stay as a “hostage”. I hope this article gives you a chance to look at many a places.

    • BenderTheMagnificent

      You completely missed the point and tone of this article. You’ve missed the subtext so let me spell it out: despite paying his debt to society, having excellent credentials, a well-paying job (as you’ve correctly noted), and offering six months rent in advance, no realtor will rent to him simply because of his criminal history. Now imagine being a felon who isn’t an award winning journalist that is gainfully employed by a prominent city publication but just some guy who is trying to get his life back together. How do you think it’s going for that guy? That was the point of the article.

      • PeterTx52

        its called risk management on the part of the apartment owner/management company

        • Mavdog

          No, “risk management” is an examination of the potential tenant’s ability to pay, their status of employment, their references, credit history. and any past history of tenancy/damaging of residence.
          This is simply a lazy excuse to not rent to a group of people without performing any due diligence on them.

          • My.02

            That’s credit risk. Risk management is more global and encompasses all types of risk including PR, Legal, and Compliance.

        • you say tomato I say it is discrimination. Things are hard for any body that is labeled as “felon”….Granted some knowingly brought that label on them selves…Others have made a mistake and are trying to just live life. It is a broken system that we all have ignored for way to long. It saddens me that it takes a journalist such as Barrett to bring light to the issues that many of us have dealt with for many years. The only way that people can overstand is by this type of situation having light shed on it…..Doubting that even that does any good to even cause a change ….at least somebody turned a night light on so you don’t stub your toe on the way to the shitter at night.

          • Kamela Spivey

            Agreed!! It is sad that one must be faced with a brick wall when just trying to live & make it in today’s society. If you’ve got the means, pay your bills, and don’t (or won’t) cause problems at your residence but are not permitted to dwell there because of you speaking your mind basically, that is a crock! Sure, it is due to a felony that you aren’t permitted… But maybe that should be dealt with on a case by case basis for a residence? I mean, is the felony because you kidnapped & maimed someone or because you spoke your mind & the courts ruled that was illegal, or accessed material, usually free, but in a way or an amount that the courts ruled was illegal? It just seems there should be a difference. Of course, descrimination may be an issue then, but I would hope it is perfectly fine to descriminate between a possible tenant who has wrongfully & illegally harmed an innocent victim and one who has disagreed with the legal lines of our constitutional rights.

      • 3FingerPete

        I’m not a felon and I doubt I would qualify for the toney digs Brown apparently feels are his entitlement. Has he tried *gasp* Oak Cliff? I’m sure he could find plenty of apartments or house rentals willing to take him for much less than he’d pay for an Uptown apartment or Deep Ellum loft. Or will his influencer career suffer were it discovered he lives on the “wrong” side of the river? Brown’s Wikipedia article imply his actions were in the cause of the common people. It seems he just doesn’t want to live among them.

        • Barrett Brown

          I’ve never acted in “the cause of the common people” except by accident. Indeed, I look down on the residents of Uptown itself for they are lowly tradesmen, buying and selling as the market will bear, rather than contemplating geometry and the movement of the stars, as is a gentleman’s wont.

          • 3FingerPete

            Then enjoy living on the streets like a proper gentleman.

          • I have one finger on each hand up for ya….Pete…LuLz

        • Kamela Spivey

          Feels he is entitled?? What the?!?! It is a matter of him wanting to live somewhere and having the means to do so, but not being permitted because of the felony on his record! And, in my opinion, much of what led to his felony is bs. Does this mean that I cannot express my opinion on the matter?? It does not, according to the Constitution. Of course, Barrett can take up for himself but if more folks had the balls to speak up and say what they believe in, then maybe things wouldn’t be as they are today. OR, the US may be in more of a totalitarian state than it already is!

      • and the coffin is now nailed shut…..Hella smack down that was almost “and thats the bottom line cause”…..LuLz

  • Traveller

    Hey Barrett, I sent you an email. I have a 1bd for rent at Abbott/Knox.

  • Insight

    I committed a crime and now they expect me to live with the consequences!?! Waaaaahhhh! Less authoritarianism, please. Sniff.

    • No Barrett did not commit a crime…he shared information that some body else took with out permission. A crime has to have a victim. In truth their was no victim so no crime. Only a bullyish prosecutor that could not find his rear with both hands….It was a attempt to shut people down from leaking real crimes…..

      • seylerius

        Threatening to “shoot all of them and kill them” on a public video is a crime, and it does have a victim: the threatened individuals. Free speech protects the expression of opinions, beliefs, or facts, but not threats of violence, which are inherently victimizing due to the stress induced. Perhaps freedom of speech should extend to violent threats, but as it stands, it doesn’t. Perhaps one could say this crime is not serious enough to warrant the punishment received, and that may be an argument for changing (or even disregarding) the law, but this is what’s currently accepted as the societal standard. Threatening to kill people is a crime. Being an activist/journalist is more reason to be careful not to commit crimes unless there’s a clear benefit. It’s not an excuse to ignore criminal behavior.

        Furthermore, although I wouldn’t call her attractive, I wouldn’t call Candi a man. No man I’ve ever seen has a butt quite that round.

        • there is no victim in a threat asshat…i do not care how your sissy liberal limp wrist feels about it…lulz….go hit somebody with your purse.

  • PeterTx52

    “I’ll be leaving the United States for greener, less authoritarian pastures abroad.”
    what countries would those be?

    • Barrett Brown

      Germany or Iceland, where prosecutorial misconduct, the re-arrest of journalists for doing interviews (as happened to me a few weeks back, and was described here), retaliation by the DOJ for exposing the DOJ’s misconduct, the mass incarceration state, and routine violations of due process aren’t ingrained in the system and just accepted as perfectly okay by toy fascists such as yourself.

      • neincautusfuturi

        What’s wrong with Canada? Vancouver is beautiful, temperate, and the salmon fishing is outstanding.

        Plus, aren’t you getting a little long in the tooth to learn a new language?

    • JamieT

      According to his exclusive with RT in early May, Brown is considering leaving the moral vacuum the U. S. has become, “seeking, if necessary, political asylum, revoking my citizenship, perhaps moving to either Iceland or Germany.”

      Of course, it was the moral vacuum provided by the prestigious law firm Haynes & Boone, currently flogging Brown as an advertising prop on its own Web site, which was responsible for hoovering our self-alleged anarchist out of the recent clutches of the BOP, so radical chic may yet present itself as an ongoing employment opportunity countermanding that impulse.

      If not, given both the understandable reticence of realty management to entangle itself with a felon as pugnaciously and publicly petulant as Brown continuously demonstrates himself to be as well as Brown’s own clearly marketable celebrity, one might imagine him selling “Barrett Brown Slept Here” licensing as an obvious solution to housing for the brief time he will still be with us.

      • Barrett Brown

        Please don’t write like this anymore.

        • C Newman

          Thought JamieT’s style was spot on, made me laugh.

          • At the risk of offending Barrett, I agree with you, C.

          • Barrett Brown

            I’m offended. It hints at various points without actually going so far as to make them explicit. Instead there’s some vague hints that a nation can’t REALLY be a moral vacuum if your publisher is able to spend a huge amount of money to spring you from prison after you’ve been illegally imprisoned for exercising your right to free speech, and perhaps an anarchist shouldn’t be accepting legal aid, because after all, don’t anarchists oppose the state, and so what business do they have allowing people to help them take a stand against it when it violates its own laws? Also, it’s over-ornate. I know that opinions vary as to whether it’s okay to write things like “pugnaciously and publicly petulant” but all of those opinions are wrong except for the one that holds that it is a bad thing, an evil thing.

          • lol

        • RAB

          I actually thought that YMB himself was writing under the moniker JamieT. Kind of his style — but better punctuated.

    • Any country but this one ….

  • Justin

    I’ve been reading your work since you were arrested, and this is surely the saddest article yet. It feels like you are giving up on us. Is your long-term intention to abandon journalism altogether, or will continue to do what you do abroad?

    • Barrett Brown

      No, I’m going to continue doing what I do. I’ll just be doing it from a different country.

      • Justin


      • Kurth Bousman

        barrett….please read my new comments above. You can plainly see why I escaped Dallas 40 years ago ! It’s 98% idiots !

      • Many are waiting to assist you in all of your future ventures

  • Mavdog

    Mr. Brown is a telling example of the institutional barriers exist for released convicted individuals confront in their effort to reenter society.
    With about 1% of the adult population currently incarcerated and another 2% having served time these barriers affect millions of Americans. While these individuals paid the debt which the courts levied, they continue to be denied the opportunity to integrate back and pursue a normal life.
    They need support in those efforts, not discrimination and denial of a habitat or job.

  • Lolotehe

    Hey! I’m a divorced woman, but the torrid affair sounds like it’s pretty rough on the knees. I could never manage that with my night shift. Sent you an email.

  • RobertMStahl

    Smiles, dude. You are on your way! Congrats, and, fuck SnowWald. You have done soo much. Keep up with George Webb, possibly giving you some room? Others, too, give me sone hope. Dynamics could not be more notorious now, therefore, or, to boot.

  • Kurth Bousman

    Hey Barrett…..get out of Dallas bro ! ….thousands of better choices. When u can…..San Miguel Allende. Go to oakcliff…..transportes sanmiguel …..100 bucks , go south and 22 hours later . Writers can live anywhere there’s a free internet .Believe me I know what I’m talkin’ bout. It has a great American community that loves what you’re doing !

  • Kurth Bousman

    …and Barrett….it’s alot cheaper than Dallas….best weather in the world …walk anywhere in town ….and here you’re a medal-of-honor winner ! ….get a hold of me and I’ll get u orientated

  • Barrett,it is clear you will have many places to look at and choose from after this article…LuLz…happy hunting

  • Barrett Brown

    She are.

    • John Smith

      What’s up Anonymouswatchman, Barrett and everyone else. It’s sad to see some of these comments above as if Barrett should not feel he is “entitled” to live somewhere nice? Why would he not be entitled to it? He should be able to enjoy a nice place to live same as the next guy. Who wants to live in the middle of shit hole if they can avoid it? Regardless of where he lives, luxury or shit hole, this country or another, his work speaks for itself. Regardless of what you think of him he was one of the few when we started who was willing to show his face and true name when we first got started. You may not think this is a big deal but we needed a face or two in the public representing us and nobody was volunteering for the job. Barrett stepped up and because of that the public was able to learn a lot more information about us then they normally would have. He gave our side of things instead of the bullshit news version. It was because of this he was locked up. You can pull the…oh he threatened an agent all you want…but if you have half a brain then you know anyone else here that would have happened to would not have been punished as severely as he did. He deserves any and every break that comes his way…AND MORE! Keep up the good fight brother. You might not always see it but know there are many of us still right by your side.

      • good to see you here brother John Smith.Well said and heart felt.

        • John Smith

          Thanks brother. It’s a strait crock of shit what he went through in the first place and then the bullshit continues. I give him all the credit in the world for the way he is handling it

      • Al Foxx

        Whats up John Smith and Anonymous Watchman!
        Its a shame what they are putting Barret through but I can guarantee no asshat would be able to go through the ringer he is going through right now. Cant even get into an appartment cause he got a felony but yet these child molestors can be politicians or live in an apartment or even live near elementary schools.

  • John Smith

    Glad you agreed Sofy, thank you. Samantha, you nailed it. The system is set up so even after Barrett (or someone else who is arrested) finish their sentences, it is extremely difficult for them to get a good job or a good place to leave. So normally the person who has been forever labeled as a criminal ends up being involved in more crime. This is either from a necessity to survive or sometimes simply out of frustration. Barrett has made it past the first step and has been able to get into a good working position. However, the housing is now his issue. So the fact that he “threatened” an agent means he wont pay his rent? Or maybe it means since he was locked up he will be going back soon? Its all bullshit. The agent/agency was in no way threatened or worried about the comments that were made. They knew it was their best option to shut somebody up who was motivating and helping many of the people who have their heads in the sand actually start to see. I could go on and on about that but its starting to piss me off again what they did to him. Keep your head up Barrett. To everyone who is supporting Barrett, good for you guys. Sometimes people (no matter who they are) are grateful to have support and kind words coming their way. That is another sad thing about being locked up, you quickly realize you do not have as many friends as you thought you did. Everyone else who is against Barrett or may disagree with something he says or does, be adults and use facts to back your opinions and/or comments. I have spoken and worked with Barrett in the past and I can tell you if you can speak intelligently as adults, he will listen and consider any facts you put forward. However, verbally attacking somebody will just get your words ignored or possibly argued with. Too many people resort to personal attacks when they lack the brains to prove their arguments. NOTE: I am not accusing anyone here of this, just speaking out loud. @anonsforever (Kraken)