Anyone got a two bed/one bath in san diego for rent?!?!
August 22, 2007 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Renting - It's been a while and I'm afraid we're gonna look bad on paper. Mid/late twenty year olds (one a musician) without a huge amount of $$ or history - are we screwed?

I'm out of college and have been working at a great, professional job for about a year. My roommate is out of college and also has a great, professional job. Together, we have been living in a house owned by my family. I've been paying no rent and he's been paying a paltry sum. Have I mentioned my family rules? They do. But, its time to leave.

Should I lie about renting from family for no money? Should I tell my family to act like I'm not kin (we have different last names)? I've been here about 7 years. I dont even remember who I rented from last. Do I really need to dig up that info?

Lastly, the third roommate is my boyfriend, who is a working musician and artist. He takes jobs that he can quit when he goes on tour. He's coming back from tour this week, so technically when we are looking for a house, he will be unemployed. Will a grand in savings be enough to convince the potential landlord? He'll have no problem finding a job soon enough, but we simply cant wait.

We'd be great tenants. We're considerate, kind, and would be consistent with the bills/rent. How can I get this across on a rental application?? There must be a best way for us to go about this.

Thanks everyone!
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Just say you were renting. When they call your family for a reference, they're willing to fib a bit for you, aren't they?
posted by typewriter at 6:10 AM on August 22, 2007

It helps somewhat to know where you are. I'd lie about renting from family for 7 years - just tell said cool family to give you a good recommendation! I don't know why you'd need to know *whom* (ahem) you rented from prior to the past seven years. I can't imagine it would be that important to anyone.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:10 AM on August 22, 2007

Sorry, didn't see the title to realize you're in San Diego. But I don't think it affects things at all.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:11 AM on August 22, 2007

Two experiences:

* When I first moved to the Boston area, I had no money and a terrible salary at my mostly-commission-based job. I just kept applying for apartments until I found a landlord willing to take a chance on me. Of course, that apartment was a borderline-legal slum, and my neighbors were, um, other people with checkered pasts, but it worked.

* For my current apartment, my landlord (a huge, publically-listed company) ran a credit check and that's it. They didn't even ask about my prior landlord or my employment status. I think that's the absolute right approach (what better indicator of your credit-worthiness than a credit score?), but I'm not sure if it will help or hurt your effort.
posted by backupjesus at 6:22 AM on August 22, 2007

You'll probably need more than a grand lined up, I imagine, as most landlords renting to less trustworthy renters will want a deposit PLUS first and last month's rent.

But don't lie to the guy. There's absolutely nothing wrong with living with your parents for a while. You have a job. You're young. This is not going to look suspicious or weird. Apartments are for all people who do not have enough money to buy a home, and there are millions of people in the US just like you, ergo there are millions of apartments available in the US (just not all in San Diego).

Don't lie to the landlord. Maybe he will become a friend or close acquaintance, and you don't want your relationship to start out on a lie. You'll be an awesome tenant? Great, don't lie to get the lease then.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:29 AM on August 22, 2007

I'd just tell the truth. You and your other roommate make enough money between the two of you that you would be able to cover the rent, right?

We'd be great tenants. We're considerate, kind, and would be consistent with the bills/rent. How can I get this across on a rental application??

Considerate, kind: List your family as a reference. I'm sure they can vouch for you in this regard.

Consistent with bills/rent: The landlord can pull your credit report to find this out.
posted by Gojira at 6:34 AM on August 22, 2007

Don't worry, keep looking til you find someone nice to rent to you. My current landlord of 3 years did not check my (BAD) credit and just called my references and asked them if I would pay the rent.
posted by lee at 6:47 AM on August 22, 2007

If you rent from an individual rather than a company they can be as flexible as they want when it comes to this sort of thing. My mother has a couple of rental houses; once she was cleaned out by a guy who had great credit on paper; he moved out in the middle of the night leaving behind a stack of unpaid bills and actually took the ceiling fans and light fixtures with him. On the other hand, her longest tenant is a guy whose finances are so screwed up he ended up asking mom to take charge of his financial planning; but he pays every month on time in cash. Most landlords probably have similar stories, so they realize that their gut instinct is probably as good a predictor of how good a tenant you will be as anything on paper. From your post you sound like someone my mom would have no trouble renting to (but we are on the wrong coast).
posted by TedW at 7:05 AM on August 22, 2007

We rent to people who have poor credit and no previous recent landlord references. Credit isn't the only thing we look at, and sometimes there just aren't landlord references. We look at employment, landlord references and credit, so any one thing that's not great can be balanced out by the other two factors.

I'd be up front up about staying with family, and explain that it's time to be more independent. It's not an uncommon situation by any means. Provide personal, non-family references that potential landlords can call instead. Provide a copy of your bank statement or paycheque to attach to a rental application (redact vital info) to assure future landlords of your financial stability.

(I work in property management.)
posted by Savannah at 7:24 AM on August 22, 2007

I used to work in property management.

Some property owners and management companies are more flexible than others. When you are looking at apartments, be up front (and honest) and ask about requirements and how flexible they can be. If there is no way you can meet their requirements and no flexibility, move on.

Things they may or may not look at include:

* Rental history (how long did they live there? what was the rent? pay on time? any problems? would rent again?)
* Employment history (they really work there? how long? any problems? can you confirm the pay rate they listed on their application?)
* Rent to income ratio (they want to make sure you can afford both rent and groceries. it used to be that rent should be no more than a third of monthly income)
* Credit history (pull a report from one of the big 3 and call it a day, owing money to another apartment complex is an automatic "decline" of application)
* Criminal history (increasingly common. properties that check this usually won't rent to anyone with a felony record)
* Personal references (very rare, I think I've done this like twice ever. your friends are just going to say you're great, right?)

My favorite way of putting this info into Big Picture form -- assuming something didn't make me feel I'd be crazy to rent to this person -- is a point system. For example, 2 points for good rental history, 1 point for each 6 months you lived there (up to, say, 4 points), 2 points for having a job, a point for each good credit account, etc. If you earn enough points, you've got an apartment.

If you think your chances are iffy, ask if they accept co-signers or guarantors. Basically that's somebody who will stand up and say you won't screw up, and that management will call if you don't pay the rent.
posted by ilsa at 8:08 AM on August 22, 2007

I would just tell the truth if I were you. In my experience, landlords are mainly looking for people who come across as decent and responsible, which you do. Also, I think living with your family makes you sound even more wholesome.
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:28 AM on August 22, 2007

My landlord didn't check anything. In fact, we're taking my ex off the lease right now and adding in a new roommate and he didn't ask her for anything but her name and phone number. He and I are a match made in heaven (and I have nothing to hide anyway.) I, totally naive and inexperienced tenant, he naive and inexperienced landlord who had previously had his daughter living in the apartment, never an outside tenant -- we were brought together by the world's most awful and evil realtor via a deceptive craigslist listing.

The apartment is gorgeous, the location is awesome, it's priced below market value, I have a great relationship with my landlord and honestly couldn't be happier. It was, perhaps, the luckiest fluke of all time. I wish you the same luck.

I'm never, ever, ever moving.
posted by palegirl at 9:09 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you have anything to hide, it's that your partner is a musician. For many landlords, that represents chronic noise complaints from other tenants and is an instant disqualifier. Can s/he adopt a secondary economic identity for purposes of getting the apartment?
posted by gum at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2007

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