Can I rent an apartment in NYC with this on the credit report?
February 28, 2013 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I've paid my back taxes for New York State as of last year, but the judgment is still on my credit reports, although marked "paid". This is my only ding. Will landlords refuse to rent to me anyway?

I live in NYC with a roommate/owner whose family wants to fix up and sell the place, so I have to move out by end of May. I've lived in my current flat for 11 years and paid my rent on time, which they will provide a letter attesting to.

I applied to live in a working-class housing complex in the Bronx a couple of weeks ago, and they disqualified me for bad credit, so I checked my credit out. The scores themselves weren't terrible; I have one in the upper 600s from one rating company and in the mid-700s from the other two. The issue is from when I was on UI a few years ago. I didn't have taxes taken out then, as the maximum benefit for New York State is so low, to reduce it further would've had me on the streets.

Once I got a job again, enough time had passed that the State garnished my checks until the back taxes were paid off. The judgment is on my credit report, and I sent all 3 agencies the note from the State saying that the judgment had been satisfied.

How do I mitigate this so that I can get an apartment? Are all NYC/Yonkers/NJ landlords going to turn me down? I'm at an age now where having a roommate is a seriously unappealing prospect, but if I had to do that again, would this lien business keep me from being on a legal lease? What are my options under these circumstances?

Why can't I just be rich? :(
posted by droplet to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Landlords can rent to you at their own discretion. I have never rented in NYC, but I have had corporate landlords in California turn me down for bad credit, while private ones would rent to me with an explanation on my part. I also managed to get a mortgage later on with negative marks on my credit report so long as they were marked as paid and not outstanding. My credit has since recovered.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:05 AM on February 28, 2013

A single satisfied judgement shouldn't impact proof of a good credit rating along with proof of income and proof that you've been able to pay your rent on time for 11 years straight (get that letter notarized, by the way.)

Also, if there's one thing landlords understand, it's cold, hard cash. The more you can put upfront (past the first/last/deposit) the more likely you are to mitigate any other factor.
posted by griphus at 9:07 AM on February 28, 2013

How much cash do you have on hand? Seriously, this makes a HUGE difference when renting in NYC. Also if the complex you wre applying for was subsidized at all that may have made a difference.

If you can come up with several months rent up front (I know this is hideous but if you can find a way...) this may REALLY help you if you've got a slightly flawed credit report.

I'm sorry, I see griphus has already said this. But I can tell you from NYC experience that the more cash you have (and I mean WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PLACE) the better shape you're in.

Also proof of a huge income is nice but who can do that?
posted by supercoollady at 10:05 AM on February 28, 2013

Thank you for your answers.

I thought having a lot of cash immediately to hand would be the only solution, but wanted to make sure.

It's time I found a better-paying job, anyway. As it is, every dollar is pretty much spoken for on my shockingly miniscule salary, and no one I know is rich enough to be a guarantor for me if it came to it. Welp, hello, ramen.

I hate this part of New York City living.
posted by droplet at 11:18 AM on March 1, 2013

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