Anyone got a room for rent in Fullerton, CA? How 'bout advice on said subject?
July 21, 2008 5:36 AM   Subscribe

I live with my parents, and I'm searching for a place to live for the first time. Somewhere near Cal State Fullerton. A question about credit checks, and how to improve my search.

Last week, I posted an ad on Craigslist in an attempt to assemble three other people to find a 2 bedroom with. Unfortunately, it seems like some kind of catch-22; the roomies want you to have an apartment already, and the landlord wants you to have the roomies already. I've found a couple of people who were down to move in, one for as long as 72 consecutive hours. Unfortunately, they keep finding their own rooms to rent. Does this approach (the "find people to find an apartment" technique) often work?

I found a place that meets most of my criteria, though as the search wears on I'm finding my criteria less and less important. The landlord will be telling me today whether we passed the credit check, but big whoop because the other two roommates who submitted applications/credit check money have moved on. The landlord was firm on getting all of us to submit our applications together, no incremental submissions as I gathered roomies. So now I'm wondering just what it is that the landlord receives. Does he get a credit report, or just a number? Is it for all of us with no distinction between us, or is it three reports, one for each of us? If mine is okay (which it should be) but the other two were not as good, what's the likelihood of him allowing me to try it again with different roommies? If that were the case, would it be reasonable to have to pay for another credit check for myself? Would he even tell me if I asked whether it was my credit personally that was the problem? If it helps, this is a little four-plex with a single owner, not a large development or prop mgmt company.

Also, if anyone has general advice about finding a place to live, at the beginning of the school year, near Cal State Fullerton or Fullerton JC (which is where I'm attending this fall) in general, please. I'm getting desperate here. What's a good alternative to Craigslist? seems a bit stale.

BTW, I found here on AskMe, and it was a big help. Thanks guys!
posted by malapropist to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Don't just look at craigslist - look at Facebook and whatever online message boards seem to be popular at the JC and Cal State.
posted by k8t at 6:07 AM on July 21, 2008

Regarding the "full report or just a number": I had to rent an apartment after a divorce. Due to issues within the divorce my credit was shot, but none of the issues were with loans or credit cards; it was all medical bills for my hypochondriac ex. I filled out the app at the place I wanted to rent, and told the complex manager up front that my credit was horrible, but it was not consumer debt, and that I had a good stable job (Federal employee for over 20 years.) He entered my info in his computer, which resulted in a big red DECLINED warning on the screen. He clicked past it and said "Oh, I see... OK, your fine." So, the report must have shown some detail of the kind of debt to confirm what I had told him. Maybe it varies by state law, though.

As far as your other options: Someone I knew rented an apartment for school, having the parents co-sign. Then she got roomates. That may or may not be advisable to you. It worked for her, but she was the only name on the lease, which can have both positive and negative consequences. Just a thought...

Good luck!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:21 AM on July 21, 2008

Is there a reason you aren't looking at "room for rent" ads? Seems like it would save you the hassle of looking for an apartment AND gathering roomies by yourself.

Also, have you actually asked your potential landlord the questions you posted here? We can post general responses, but we are not your potential landlord. Call him/her up and ask. I'm sure he/she won't bite. Landlords are in the business of finding good, reliable tenants, and if you act professional the landlord shouldn't have a problem answering your questions. If he/she gets outraged at your questions (which are pretty reasonable for a first time renter), consider that a red flag and don't rent there.

Have you visited campus yet? Most colleges have some type of housing office or bulletin board where you can find/look for housing and roommates. If you can't make it to town call your school up and ask for guidance. They've certainly dealt with this issue before. And yes, facebook is a good place to network for roomies.
posted by tastycracker at 6:59 AM on July 21, 2008

Thanks for the replies. I am indeed looking at room for rent listings, but it's hard to find a good match. Facebook is a good idea, I haven't checked that out yet. Also, I think I'll stop by the campus and see what I can find in the way of housing help or listings. If anyone else has helpful information, please feel free to post!
posted by malapropist at 9:23 AM on July 21, 2008

I don't think the "find people then find an apartment" approach works very well. In my experience, people usually just rent a room in an already-rented apartment, or you can go in on an apartment with friends or people who are more reliable. So, check the bulletin boards on or near campus for available rooms and try to get in on one of those.

The landlord will pull your credit report. This has your credit score, as well as detailed info about your credit history including credit cards, loans, and past residences. He will pull three different reports, one for each of you, and shouldn't charge you another credit check fee if you want to apply again, since he already has your report on file. Additionally, if you request it, he has to give you a copy of the report. If you have this copy in hand and go to apply for another apartment elsewhere, they'll often waive the credit check fee and just make a copy of the report you already have, since it's very recent. If he's a reasonable person, he'll tell you whether or not if your credit or someone else's that's the problem.

You don't say how old you are, just that you're looking to move out of your parents' place for the first time. If you're quite young or don't have much of a credit history, you might not be able to rent a place in your name due to that. For my first couple of apartments, I had to have one of my parents co-sign. Don't be surprised if that ends up happening to you.
posted by booknerd at 9:58 AM on July 21, 2008

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