Money To Live

September 9, 2009

Renting an apartment

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

It is a lot more difficult to get an apartment when your monthly income is $250 than when your monthly income is $9K.

Potential landlords may say something like this:

  • “Your income is xx?!?!?!?”
  • “Maybe your parents could co-sign the lease.”
  • “You only worked for 6 months? That’s not a long enough work history.”
  • “I need to see official bank statements to ensure that you are not committing identity theft.”

While looking for an apartment in Seattle, I ran into one obstacle. My regular paycheck is now very small, in fact not even one third of what I will be paying in rent each month. This regular income is/will be augmented through some other part time work (that pays well hourly but is not guaranteed). Potential landlords tend not to like the sound of that.

But I did find an apartment that I think I will be very happy in (great location, on the right bus route, and stainless steel appliances). Despite the low salary, there were several things going in my favor:

  • I have significant savings.
  • Two people offered to co-sign my lease if I needed a guarantor.

Without those resources, it may have been a lot more difficult to get into an apartment that I liked. Without the savings, I do not think I would have passed a background/credit check; I probably still would have been ok because I could get someone to co-sign my lease.

In my recent move to Seattle, I only brought two suitcases, a laptop bag, and a bag pack. I left many, many things behind, including my checkbook. As I talked with potential landlords, not only did I have to report very little income, but also that I have to pay by money order. The potential landlords did not seem to mind money orders at all.

The USPS issues money orders up to $1,000, and it is easy to get three money orders a day. It is possible to get more than three a day, but more ID is required. To secure my apartment, I had to put down $2,200 (first, last, and a deposit). After ordering the three money orders at the post office, the friendly postal employee asked if I wanted cash back on my debit card transaction. I laughed and said “no.” She laughed and said,  “There’s nothing left!”

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1 Comment »

  1. mmmm I remember counting on the return of my security deposit for much-desired cash flow. I’ve been income-less (and stressed about rent), but so far have never had problems as I’ve never dealt with the sort of landlords that ask “those” questions.

    Comment by anita — September 12, 2009 @ 2:50 pm |Reply


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