Help Kato Kaelin Find A Home That Isn't My Living Room
March 21, 2006 10:50 AM   Subscribe

What will it take for my friend to find an apartment now that he's been evicted?

A good friend was evicted and has been living on my couch for three weeks. It's getting old, as you can probably imagine; I'd like to help him find a new place, but he's convinced that his eviction will keep him from ever renting again. He's avoiding making calls because he doesn't want to hear bad news; I'd like to give him some hopeful news (or confront him with a plan) about moving on.

How should he approach potential landlords/management companies, and what should he expect? I'm guessing he'll need to pay more upfront, but I'm not sure how his negative rental history will affect him. Will he end up paying more in rent? Are there certain landlords that will turn him down sight unseen after a credit check? Are bigger companies more or less likely to work with him? We're in Minneapolis, if it helps.

Thanks--I'd love to get my sofa back before springtime.
posted by hamster to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not sure where you are, but if you are in a residential area, he can drive around and look for "For Rent" signs in what look to be private houses. Often, a non-professional landlord (someone renting out a basement apartment, in-law unit, apartment above their garage, etc.) won't bother with a credit check and/or lease. I've never been evicted but a couple of places I've rented have been from people who just said, "Ok, give me a couple months rent as deposit and move in." For another place I rented, the landlord had a standard lease that we both signed, but he didn't do a credit check or anything.

He can also check with people who are renting out a single room or people looking for roomates. This may not appeal to him long-term, but will at least get him off your couch and allow him to have a good reference for when he gets back on his feet enough to look for something more to his liking.
posted by mikepop at 11:04 AM on March 21, 2006

Assure him that it's not the end of the world, at all. Assuming he's gainfully employed, he should still be able to find a place to rent, though it's likely that some places will turn him down flat after a credit check, but others will be willing to work with him via letting him put down an extra deposit or the like. Some places won't even bother contacting previous landlords. Your friend just needs to start making the calls, and prepare himself for some shootdowns, which are admittedly very discouraging, but he will be able to pull himself out of this.

I've never been evicted, but I do have bad credit thanks to some unfortunate shit in my past, and I've always been up front about this when interviewing for apartments -- I'll say something like, "In the interest of full disclosure, my credit isn't going to look good to you when you check it. I had [blah blah, fill in a few personal details here], but I do have a good job and I've got people who can vouch for me, and I'm willing to put down an extra month's rent just to ease your mind." Always look your best and as upbeat as possible when you go on these interviews; if you look like a down-and-out slob, it just reinforces the bad feeling they'll get from the credit check.

It's not too different from trying to find a new job after you've been fired; some places will shy away from hiring you because of that, other places will be willing to give you a chance if you look like you'd be worthwhile and reliable, some places don't even check your references. Encourage your friend to keep his chin up, and make sure he makes at least a few calls every day.
posted by Gator at 11:05 AM on March 21, 2006

Like mikepop said I've rented a room from an acquaintance in a suburban setting and I've known a family of 5 who've rented in a ghetto where the landlord didn't do credit checks.

A room in an owned suburban home is probably the best bet.
posted by birdie birdington at 11:08 AM on March 21, 2006

He should focus on rooms in houses and apartments rented by individuals over commercial type apartment complexes and apartments leased by rent management corporations. Generally, a company policy is much less flexible than an independent landlord.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:17 AM on March 21, 2006

Here's the big question: What did he get evicted for? That could make a huge difference, y'know.
posted by drstein at 1:33 PM on March 21, 2006

Response by poster: He was evicted for not paying rent. (Idiot; he makes $45K a year but is a moron about budgeting.)
posted by hamster at 2:16 PM on March 21, 2006

There are different kinds of eviction. Why was he evicted? Was it because his building sold or changed management, or was it due to not paying rent or disturbing other tenants? What would his evicting landlord say about him as a tenant? If he was evicted because the building sold but was otherwise a good tenant, he shouldn't have any problem at all. If he was causing a nuisance or not paying rent, he's going to have a hard time. It is quite a process to get a tenant actually evicted for a landlord--did your friend let it get to the bitter end where the Sheriff actually shows up to post the notice? How is his credit otherwise? Any bounced checks? All of that factors in, but many landlords will call the last 2-3 landlords when screening new tenants.
posted by 45moore45 at 2:19 PM on March 21, 2006

Moron about budgeting? I don't buy that. Having a roof over your head is more than not paying the cable bill. There are also a million things that happen before an eviction, like a 3 day notice to quit, for instance. Surely if it was only a budgetary memory lapse, the repeated contacts from the landlord would have nudged him.
posted by 45moore45 at 2:24 PM on March 21, 2006

$45K is pretty sweet income from where I'm sitting (though I don't know what your friend's other financial obligations may be). Is he so bad with budgeting that he's actually broke, or is he just bad with budgeting in the "forgets to pay the bills" way? If he's actually broke and doesn't have enough saved up to put down at least first/last/security on a new place, it'll be a lot harder for him.

You should probably persude him to set up a meeting with someone at his bank to help him start budgeting and managing his money better. (Don't get sucked into doing it for him yourself; from your description of his attitude, he sounds like someone who'll just be a huge timesuck for you if you go down that road.)
posted by Gator at 2:27 PM on March 21, 2006

I went through this. Some larger companies won't renew your lease if you've been consistently late on paying your rent - this may or may not count as an eviction. If that is the case, then if he's upfront and honest (and offers to use a credit/debit card for automatic rent payment), lots of landlords will work with you.
But you gotta make the calls...
posted by disclaimer at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2006

He didn't pay his rent? Wow. That's one of the worst things that you can get evicted for. At least you can blame a SWAT team raid on a roommate or something.

He's pretty much screwed. So, what everyone else said is right: find a landlord that won't check prior residences. Hopefully he doesn't have his standards set to high, because his own irresponsibility has probably bumped him out of "nice" apartments.
posted by drstein at 3:46 PM on March 21, 2006

Way to go...
posted by mhaw at 9:34 PM on March 21, 2006

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