How to explain rental history?
March 28, 2014 4:02 PM Subscribe
I am looking to rent a house, but my rental history is a bit spotty: I moved every six months for the last 1.5 years due to life circumstances, and one of my past landlords will probably not give me a good reference through no fault of my own. How do I deal with this?
posted by sockermom to Human Relations (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have great credit and have no problems proving I can pay my rent on time and in full. However, two years ago my boyfriend and I moved from our apartment (where I had lived for three years, two of them with him) to a wonderful house in town owned by someone who managed a few properties. We paid our rent on time and in full and I loved the place. However, my ex was abusive and I left him six months after moving in to this house with him (hooray).
When I left, he must have done something to the apartment, because I contacted the landlord recently to see if he had any new places to rent and he told me not to call him again and hung up on me. My abuser was violent towards objects and likely did damage to the house (I do not know for sure; I left him and the house at the time, but he had done a good amount of damage to our apartment that we fixed before moving out). The landlord did not take a security deposit and my guess is that my ex left him to deal with and pay for damages.
Anyhow, I would prefer just not to list that house on any rental applications, because the landlord may not have the real story about the damage and likely thinks I am partially or fully to blame. There was no damage to the house when I left my abuser. However, I do not want to lie on a rental application, and my credit report lists the address anyhow.
To complicate matters, after I moved I was unable to afford my rent and six months afterwards I got a roommate. Now, I have to move because our apartment complex switched managers and is undergoing renovations. I've stayed here a year, but I only lived in my last two places for six months each.
I have found a place that I really like, but it is owned by an individual person in town - much like the house I had with my ex. I'm worried about the way my rental application looks, especially because there is a lot of competition for rentals in the area where I live. I do not want to get passed over for places that I like because of my rental history. I also don't really want to tell my potential future landlords most of this stuff, and I certainly don't want them to contact my previous landlord where I lived with my abuser. I never got a restraining order and there's no record (other than my extensive therapy records, I guess) of my abuse.
Is there something I can do to take care of this or explain this that doesn't require me talking about being abused by my ex, or is this just part of the price I have to pay (two years later) for living with a guy who made damaging things (and people) a common occurrence? Or am I entirely over-thinking this, and it won't be a red flag to future landlords? I think it would be a red flag, but maybe I'm wrong. For what it's worth, I never broke a lease, I just moved three times in a year and a half.