I don't want to have someone co-sign my apartment, because I'm a grown ass man.
July 7, 2010 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I make more than enough money to pay the rent, but have no recent rental history. How can I convince apartment complexes I don't need a co-signer?

I've put in an application to rent a townhome. For the past 6 years, I was living with my folks to save money. I'm now moving back to my college town.

I've almost gotten approved to live in a town house. Today, I get a call from the apartment leasing manager saying that I need a co-signer because they can't verify my previous rental history. It's understandable, because the apartment complexes I used to live in are all under new management, and don't have records of my stay there. Everything else (income, etc.) is fine. It's just this little point.

I've offered to show them bank statements and the like. I don't really know anyone who could co-sign a lease for me at this stage, nor would I want them to.

Any suggestions as to how I approach this?
posted by reenum to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd look for a different property with a different landlord, and in particular not a complex but an individual. I don't know about your college town, but I've known plenty of people who were able to get a place without a cosign and without a rental history, because they presented proof of income (eg, pay stubs) alongside bank statements.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2010

(I should note that most of them were similar to you, eg, people who'd spent all of college living with parents, and now had Real Jobs.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2010

Dunno if it's financially feasible, but could you offer to pay a couple months in advance?

This might be more likely to work with a relatively small-time landlord than with a big property-management company.
posted by box at 8:11 AM on July 7, 2010

If you have enough saved up, you could offer to pay the first 6 or 12 months in advance. That should be more than enough for approval without a co-signer. Then, the next year, you'll have a good renter's history.
posted by phrygius at 8:11 AM on July 7, 2010

When I had been unemployed for a while, and without recent rental history, I got one of my parents to act as guarantor (i.e. they sign a contract saying that if I ever don't pay rent, they are liable for it instead). Is that an option? Alternatively you could offer to pay like 6 months of rent in advance.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:14 AM on July 7, 2010

Response by poster: I could ask my parents, but that will bring up some issues involving control and boundaries that I'd rather not stir up.
posted by reenum at 8:23 AM on July 7, 2010

When we signed our lease it was either have 3 months in rent in the bank or have a so-signer.
posted by theichibun at 8:25 AM on July 7, 2010

Best answer: Look, they want to take your money. They just need to be sure that there's money to take. A letter from your employer indicating your annual salary (or however they measure it) should work.

Worked for me anyways...
posted by valkyryn at 8:33 AM on July 7, 2010

As an individual landlord in a college town, I second the recommendation to look for an individual landlord rather than a management company. Since you're moving to a college town, I presume the norm is for students to have their parents co-sign, which a management company can do/require because there's enough demand to support it.

If you work with an individual you should be able to convince them that you're a better tenant than some undergrads as you're more mature and less likely to damage their property and more likely to pay your rent on time and be an "easy" tenant.

Do bring pay stubs and bank statements with you to prove your income; maybe even a credit report. Being that prepared will go a long way when you find the right landlord.
posted by desl at 8:33 AM on July 7, 2010

Best answer: I'd tell them that's not an option and ask them what are the alternatives. A larger deposit would seem reasonable to me - six months sounds like an awful lot, three might be reasonable, I would shoot for two. Given that it's a college town, I might also stress that you're an adult with a stable job, etc.

I'd also try some other places, unless you are set on this particular place.
posted by mrs. taters at 8:37 AM on July 7, 2010

This seems strange to me. I got my first apartment with no rental history and no deposit--because I had excellent credit. Can't they pull your credit report to ensure that you're a financially reliable person?
posted by litnerd at 8:39 AM on July 7, 2010

I was asked for a cosigner at one point - the rights of the cosigner are pretty slim and it appeared that the rental company could go after them quite easily - so I showed the rental place a bank statement and they agreed that I didn't need a cosigner.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:00 AM on July 7, 2010

I don't find it strange, as I used to do rental app screenings for a property management company and a lack of rental history would trigger a requirement for a co-signer or a deposit. This is because a problem renter isn't just one who doesn't pay his/her rent on time, but also one who could cause damages. A clean, verifiable rental history will show that this person didn't leave the apartment in such bad shape that the owners woudl then have to shoulder repair costs that go above normal wear and tear.

That being said, property managers would sometimes bend those rules a bit if they really wanted/needed that tenant. Talk to the manager and explain the situation - they might be able to request an extra deposit or work something out in lieu of a co-signer.

In my experience, you will run into this a lot less with individual landlords (as mentioned above).
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:10 AM on July 7, 2010

If you have enough saved up, you could offer to pay the first 6 or 12 months in advance.

This could cause a lot of headaches if you run into any problems with the property or with the landlord (e.g. burst pipes) and need to move.

The only "prepaid" arrangement I would entertain is putting rent money into an escrow account with VERY strict terms.
posted by randomstriker at 9:59 AM on July 7, 2010

I paid first, last and their usual deposit and I didn't have any trouble with a lack of rental history and sketchy credit (never default on a student loan, kids.). Admittedly I was grossing 6 times the monthly rent, but still. And this in a mega college town.
posted by SMPA at 12:09 PM on July 7, 2010

« Older Nonprofit Burnout Syndrome   |   Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.