renting to a group of friends
September 25, 2013 7:42 PM   Subscribe

renting to a group of friends - how to make this attractive to landlords

I have a small group of people (boyfriend, friends of his) that have decided to look for a place together in NYC. We'd ideally like a large loft or a 4 bedroom (there are 4 of us) and we all get along well, are in our late 30s, don't party, are clean etc. - but I know from looking at the usual list of documents you provide (on this page - we're going to look less than attractive to potential landlords because we're all in creative fields and are all freelancers (art directors, etc.) at this point and none of us have a full time employer except for one of us who works at a restaurant, and another person who has a small trust fund. Additionally, we have musicians and DJs in the group, so I worry that landlords are going to look at us in a loft and say 'you're partiers' - when we actually have a record of the clubs we've played at that hopefully prove we don't bring a party home, and have a record label we're trying to grow, which is more about promoting the business and less about blasting music at 4 am. If anything, we're anxious to find a place with a lease so we can stop living itinerant existences with crazy roommates who aren't serious and who are slobs.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
I have a friend who has bad credit and works as a bartender and musician. She managed to get a one bedroom in NYC by providing several months' rent up front.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:12 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Offer a substantial downpayment for damage. I just rented a place that was pretty desirable for groups of unrelated single adults and the landlord flat out told me that he was incredibly relived when my husband and I applied. He said that every time that he has rented out his place to groups of singles they cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

As someone who has pets (that are unfairly suspected of being the cause of significant damage) I can sympathize with your plight. Create a clear renter's resume (I did that for my cats) and offer a very substantial damage deposit, fully refundable if there isn't any damage.

By the bye - our new landlord is very anti-pet. The pet renter's resume and the candid offer of a substantially larger deposit (which he didn't take us up on) made him reconsider for us, and he seemed very excited to offer us and our pets a home. Good luck!
posted by arnicae at 8:20 PM on September 25, 2013

Honestly i think a lot of landlords will know, if they know anything about actual artsy/music people that a lot of them either just want a place to create stuff in peace, or a place to get away from the partying lifestyle that surrounds that sort of stuff even if they are partiers.

I also think you'll have wiped out a lot of the assumptions on that front by being in your late 30s.

I wouldn't take any weirdness from landlords as an issue specifically with you guys, but with that landlord and just move on. I wouldn't even reconsider until i had a large sample size(by which i mean, not just 2 or 3 and feeling discouraged) of places that had inexplicably denied you.

And even then, i think a much more major hurdle here is the financials. I think the "oh we're music/arts people so they'll think we always want to party" is sort of a mental derail from what you should really be thinking of, which is "how do we show we're financially responsible to the landlord or a worthwhile risk"

I think showbiz_liz has the right idea there that you'll have to front more moeny, but i also think you might end up with an erm... challenged space where the landlord will simply be happy to have someone who isn't in the their early 20s and seeming like a fuckup.

I've been in this exact rental situation with a bunch of artsy people working off and on jobs, including one person with a small trust fund like you said. We did end up in a pretty shitty place. If i had to do that all over again i would have been a lot more stubbornly picky and held out for a lot longer for a better place. It is possible, you're just going to have to mill through a lot more places to find a landlord who's cool with it.

Oh, and i hope you guys have a bunch of money to pay a big deposit and probably first/last+a couple months regardless of whether that's actually legal in your area. My friend similar to showbiz_liz's had to pay like 4 months up front to move in to a halfway decent place in a sketchy credit/off and on job artist position. I've had to pony up a dumb amount of money for what the place was before in the type of situation you're describing too.
posted by emptythought at 9:04 PM on September 25, 2013

How do your tax returns and rental histories look? I'm a freelancer that gets laid off a ton and work in a weird/creative industry and having tax returns that show I actually do make money and a history of satisfied landlords has always worked for me, along with the offer of a larger deposit to show I'm serious.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:14 PM on September 25, 2013

In NYC it is all about paying 6-8 months in advance. Be ready to show your documents and pony up the money.
posted by Pineapplicious at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2013

As a NYC landlord, my first concern would be that you've never all lived together before, that there wouldn't be a clear person who was responsible. What if you now couldn't get along? What if one of you left and those left behind couldn't afford it?
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:04 AM on September 26, 2013

I used to be a landlord. The more people in an apartment, the more wear and tear. To get a landlord to accept your group, provide pay stubs or tax returns to document income, glowing references from previous landlords, references from employers or anybody else who can vouch for your tidiness, non-rowdiness, and ability to pay. Also, groups can fracture very easily, so talk about conflict resolution beforehand.
posted by theora55 at 12:00 PM on September 26, 2013

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