Film Synopsis

NOT FOR RENT! Film Synopsis

The feature length documentary film, NOT FOR RENT!, looks at rental housing barriers ex-felons face as they attempt to rebuild their lives in our communities.  With over 95% of the American prison population being released at some point in the future, millions of ex-inmates struggle with ‘red tape’ and strict criminal history rental requirements property managers and landlords enforce. In this unique and powerful film, you’ll meet several people who’ve been personally affected by housing restrictions due to felony convictions.  Sporting a long white beard and a headband, Mike is a registered sex offender. He’s also homeless living in a tent at a local ravine, struggling with prejudice and judgement from just about everyone in his community.  Will Mike continue to be treated as a social outcast, or will a landlord finally give him a chance?

Raising two young girls, husband and wife, Shayenne and James face reality after a drug related felony conviction several years prior. Ordered by the landlord, they must vacate a relative’s trailer home and find their own place in a couple of weeks, or face living in a homeless shelter. In a tearful interview, Shayenne confronts her husband’s depression, “If he was on his own, he would have killed himself.”

Tonia’s story proves that some landlords and property managers never want you to forget about your crime.  Living with a three-strikes law associated with theft, Tonia’s 27-year old felony is raising red flags with local condo complexes.  Using a wheelchair and a cane to get around, Tonia is handicapped and suffering from a recent debilitating car accident.  Follow her journey as she tries to rebuild her self-worth while facing continual rejection from a local community complex.

NOT FOR RENT! also highlights Utah’s Good Landlord Program.  Ogden, the first Utah city to enact the program in 2004, says it, “addresses aspects of property management that may encourage the elimination of code violations and public nuisances while controlling and preventing illegal activity on rental properties that affect the quality of life within our neighborhoods.”  The opposition says the program does not give ex-felons a fair chance and causes more harm than good.

Sprinkled with interviews from State Representatives, Professors, landlords and city officials, NOT FOR RENT! opens eyes to the millions of men and women combating housing restrictions, attempting to move on from a past communities don’t want them to forget.  This one-of-a-kind film, directed by Matt Duhamel (an ex-felon himself) begs the question, “Doesn’t everybody deserve a place to live?”