Renter's Resume Without History as a Renter
July 11, 2017 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm (hopefully) moving to an urban area with a competitive housing market and will be looking for a small apartment/studio/efficiency. (Outer Richmond, SF) Thanks to some previous AskMe threads, I've put together all the elements of a good renter's resume except one: my rental history.

I've been a homeowner since Feb 2002. The last place I rented has changed management a couple times since, so I doubt there's record or anyone who remembers me. I'm only planning on spending 1-2 years in SF, and will be maintaining ownership of my current house. FWIW, I paid off the mortgage this year.

How do I handle this? Does this put me at some sort of disadvantage when vying for an apartment?

I checked this thread, but thought the differences between SF and Vancouver may be significant.
posted by klarck to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
How is your credit? Good credit is more important than a rental history, IME. Landlords want to know that you have good credit and a reliable stream of income. Landlords aren't quite the same as employers where they want references of past employment, especially as transitioning from homeowning to renting is quite common.

Make sure you can verify your income and your credit, and chances are nobody will take a look at your rental history, unless you have a real blemish - like a past eviction - on your history.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2017

Well, if you're only planning on spending 1-2 years that might put you at a bit of a disadvantage, since landlords generally want tenants who are planning to stay longer. So maybe keep that quiet.

I wouldn't worry about not having recent rental references - it's probably not going to be an issue but equally importantly there's not really anything you can do about it.
posted by mskyle at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2017

I didn't have a US rental history to provide when I got my SF apartment, but I mentioned that we had previously owned our own home, understood what it took to maintain and keep it up, and as AirBnB hosts as well (we had a granny flat we rented out) we understood the landlord perspective and would be respectful of the property. That, as well as a printout of our savings account balance and an excellent credit history (I did have a US credit history to show), seemed to go over well with our landlord.
posted by olinerd at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

Give them your credit report and point out that you made every mortgage payment on time. As long as your credit is good, it shouldn't be an issue.
posted by cnc at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I was in this position when I looked for an apartment in Oakland three years ago. I had been a homeowner for the previous several years and my landlord from before I bought my house had retired and moved out of state. I simply explained the situation and the management company asked me to provide two personal references instead of a landlord reference. Combined with my documented income/assets/credit score that was sufficient.
posted by 4rtemis at 2:25 PM on July 11, 2017

Your most recent residential reference will be your mortgage company. Rental applications are sometimes not super-clear about this, but a mortgage company reference is basically the same as a rental/property manager reference, because potential landlords are going to be more worried about your payment history than anything else. When my partner and I moved in together, most of his residential history was as a homeowner, not a renter. He provided the mortgage company info and it was completely fine.
posted by Kpele at 2:43 PM on July 11, 2017

Nthing that this shouldn't be an issue. I moved cross-country and was apartment hunting after owning a home for a few years. I brought a packet with my job offer letter showing salary and a credit report ready to show if needed. I had no problem renting a nice place.
posted by tryniti at 3:51 PM on July 11, 2017

« Older Should I eat this chili with black beans?   |   How can I help my girlfriend with her guilt? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.