What to put on rental application?
February 16, 2009 4:58 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are planning to get an apartment together soon. I have solid rental history, but he's been moving from place to place and hasn't been on a lease in about 5 years. How do we tackle this on a rental application?

He's been living with me for one of those years, but we never put him on the lease because I live in an income-restricted community and he makes too much money. Even though we love our current apartment, we won't renew it dishonestly.

He spent a while on tour with his band, which is when this all started. Ever since he came back to the States, he's been moving around a lot. We both want to end this and get him a home of his own but have a few problems. He needs to list his current address, as well as any previous addresses, to apply for an apartment.

How do you recommend we deal with this? He doesn't technically have a "current address" since he's living with me, despite not being on the lease. If we admit we're not in compliance with our current lease, there's no way we'll snag the apartment we've got our eyes on.

Thanks for your ideas!
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The landlord wants this information primarily to do a credit check. Unless they have a lot of time on their hands, I doubt they're going to call these addresses and check that he was or wasn't on the lease. So I would just give whatever mailing address his bills came to during those times, because those are what a credit check is going to match against.
posted by zippy at 5:05 PM on February 16, 2009

I second Zippy - I have a similar issue with my husband and it was never an issue.
posted by bunnycup at 5:41 PM on February 16, 2009

They might indeed call previous addresses for references. Some time ago I had a job screening rental applications, and we asked for your 2 previous addresses with phone numbers so we could get a rental reference. It's more likely that a property management company will do that, sometimes individual owners will mostly focus on the credit check.

In my experience as a screener, knowing that someone was not on the lease of a current or previous residence didn't constitute an immediate denial, it would usually mean that we'd charge a security deposit based on an insufficient rental history. Of course, this is not the same anywhere as everyone has different rules. I'd just be curious as to how you specifically know that not being on the lease will mean you will be denied for the apartment. Is it because of the noncompliance aspect, or simply the lack of rental history? Could he perhaps say that, given his job and being out of the country, he has been couch surfing? He will probably have to explain addresses that come up on his credit report, but at the same time, if he has been couch surfing it would be likely that not all of them would appear on his report.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 5:49 PM on February 16, 2009

My co-worker rents apartments on the side. She only cares about two things: your credit history and whether you've been evicted before. I think she calls the county clerk to get eviction records.

I think you're fine as long as those two aren't a problem!
posted by sbutler at 7:41 PM on February 16, 2009

This really depends on where you live. Unless there's many more people than apartments, it shouldn't be a problem. Hell, as long as your name is on there, it really shouldn't be a problem.
posted by talldean at 8:56 PM on February 16, 2009

Can't you just keep him off the lease application until you secure the apartment and then add him later?
posted by elpiconeroalcognac at 10:07 PM on February 16, 2009

elpi, that's unwise. I tried doing that with a potential roomie years back and that backfired - they almost wanted to end the lease for allowing someone else to live in the apartment. They backed down when I threatened to call the county office for not doing anything to fix the smoke detectors and few other things...

One strategy that worked - write a simple letter explaining the lack of current address (he has his mail sent here, but that's not where he lives), what he's been doing, and what he's doing now. The human will read it, then (hopefully) take it into consideration. It's a little overkill, but with the economy the way it is, there are more renters than normal - I'd rather be on the safe side.
posted by chrisinseoul at 4:55 AM on February 17, 2009

What chrisinseoul said. Put your info on the application and add a note giving your boyfriend's history (he's in a band and has been - living in motels? renting rooms? couch surfing?). Put the dates (years only) he's been doing that (2004? 2005? to 2009). If he's been receiving mail at your place for convenience, mention that too.
posted by deborah at 1:10 PM on February 19, 2009

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