I'd like to avoid living in a cardboard box -- please help if you can!
June 22, 2012 8:33 PM   Subscribe

I was laid off today. I also need to find a new place to live. Obviously, details inside.

Today at work I was informed that "due to restructuring" my position would no longer be needed and that I'd been booted out the door. My last day is a week from today.

I'm not exactly thrilled about this, but I'm not completely torn up inside, either. The fact that I have to find another job is certainly a problem, but not the one I'd like to address in this question. I was not laid off due to incompetence on my part. I'm still on good terms with my boss and can rely on them for a strong reference, and I can probably rely on at least two or three of my co-workers for good references as well. I'll be fine.

But: the timing is terrible because I'm also looking for a place to live in a little over a month's time. I can't afford to live by myself at the moment, so I need to find a roommate or roommates. I'll try and see if anyone in my circle of friends/acquaintances (such as it is) knows someone who needs a roommate, but I'm also looking at things on Craigslist, Kijiji and so forth.

I'm concerned that my unemployment is going to significantly hurt my chances of finding a place in time. So here's the question: how do I present myself as a relaible, trustworthy, rent-paying sort of person to someone who I've just met?

Some details:

- I've lived in my current place for almost two years and can depend on my landlord for a good reference. I've never had trouble paying rent, and I'm an excellent tenant, if I do say so myself.
- Everyone I'm currently living with is leaving to do their own thing. Continuing to live in my current place isn't an option.
- I suppose I can use my parents as guarantors if I have to.
- I have enough savings to pay first and last month's rent, and I have very little stuff to move. Bed + drafting table + books + computer + some assorted odds and ends -- that's it.
- Although I'm ideally looking for something available on August 1st, I'm open to subletting a place in August and using that month to continue looking for something more long-term in September if I have to.
- I live in a large Canadian city -- Toronto, to be exact.
posted by Hyperbolus to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
With strong references and rental history, the ability to pay full security, and likely short period of unemployment, you could avoid a lot of potential hassle by saying you're self-employed.

And you will be. Your job will be looking for another job.
posted by batmonkey at 8:41 PM on June 22, 2012 [7 favorites]

Well if you're going with the Craigslist option: you'll be fine. Just PR yourself. I lived for a year on a lease on a place I found on Craigslist. It was mostly ok. I had no problem with just saying "I'm reliable and always pay my bills on time." I moved out in the beginning of this month and just got my security deposit back in full.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:00 PM on June 22, 2012

Your tactic of checking into your circle of acquaintances is a good one -- this is the best way to find a place where your lack of employment won't be a deal breaker. Have all your pals check their pals, put it on Facebook, post a sign in their office lunchroom, etc.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:52 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're an ideal house-sitter or pet-sitter at the moment. Consider short term free or even paid housing as an alternative to a regular rental situation. Good luck!
posted by Scram at 10:42 PM on June 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

Check out this post. Maybe could help each other out?
posted by hedonic.muse at 11:30 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is it possible you could just get new roommates at your place now?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:57 AM on June 23, 2012

"I'm in between jobs." Then talk about the type of work that you do or are looking for. Who knows, maybe a potential landlord would have a lead for you! I think if you present yourself as someone who is reliable and has funds to pay rent, you should be OK. People with jobs can be shitty tenants too.
posted by foxjacket at 1:59 AM on June 23, 2012

The other thing I can stress strongly enough is to get on Unemployment the very day that you leave your job. That will give you incoming money while you job hunt, also, having money coming in will quell a potential landlord's concerns.

Some people have an aversion to using their unemployment benefits. Some issue of pride or shame or something. You pay into the system, get your money back out when it's your turn.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:36 AM on June 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

I would go for a sublease because I think it's a generally easy, and pretty flexible option. They will likely have less issue with your unemployment, and it doesn't lock you into a long-term lease when you don't know when you are going to get a job/where you might be (if transportation or commuting might be an issue). They also can usually be rolled over into an actual long-term lease.
posted by sm1tten at 9:36 AM on June 23, 2012

Good reference plus either a bank statement, showing you have enough money to pay the lease for a year (or whatever the lease term is), or a guarantor making roughly 40-80x (in annual salary) the monthly rent is usually sufficient. If you're looking for a roommate situation, fit is often more important than finances.
posted by iamscott at 10:41 AM on June 23, 2012

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