Apartmnt Lease

sarah12June 21, 2007

I pay $585 now for rent, with no heat or any utilities paid by owner. I want to move to a cheaper but nicer apartment. All the ones I looked at want a rent qualifing amount of 2 to 3 times the rent for income. I only get a social security check each month for $1,050.00 these apartments rent for the same amount I pay now but they include heat.

How can I manage to get in there when I cant meet the qualifications. I rented here for years before qualifications. It is turning into a bad neighborhood. Do you know any possible solutions. Ones I qualify for are in much worse neighborhoods.

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No way to convince the landlords (or supers) that you're income is going to be more reliable than others? After all, it's the government paying you!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 6:00PM
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Are you a senior? If so, is there a Senior Center near you. They have volunteers to give advice about situations like this. They may even have a list of places that they know would rent to you that are safe.

If you are a vet on SS and disability the VA can give councelling and advice on a matters like this. There is VA housing too.

If you are a student who is still receiving SS, in their own name, you can talk to councellors at the school. Maybe you qualify for a dorm room?

If you are a member of a religion your church leaders can give advice. Maybe some of their church members are landlords and use a different criteria for choosing their renters.

The Salvation Army can help. They try to help people in bad situations. They often help people find adequate housing.

You can't change a landlords mind after they have already said "No". Expecting that your rent payments are one third of your income is the norm. Expecting that it half, can be done when a renter shows that they have a guaranteed income and are protected against disasters, like having guaranteed health coverage.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 11:53PM
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Yes, I am a senior, but all the low income rents are pretty awful, I want to be in a nice suburb, with shopping, doctors close by, and dishwasher, air, large enough to put my furniture in I have a 2 bedroom apt. now nicely furnished, I dpnt want ghetto type apartments. Thats what I qualifify for nowm I went to senior centers, and all that

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 10:18AM
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Sometimes life isn't fair, but it's a fact that while we all would like better situations, nicer places, etc., it's not going to happen for a lot of us, and sometimes if you look carefully, you'll understand the reasons for it! I'd love something 'more', but that doesn't I'm going to get it, or 'deserve' it. And think about this - other people in ghettos don't WANT to be there any more than you do.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 4:56AM
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I didn't interpret that sarah wants "more" than she can afford or "deserves" based on her comments "these apartments rent for the same amount I pay now but they include heat...I rented here for years before qualifications. It is turning into a bad neighborhood." So if she can afford the one she has now without heat, she can afford one of the units she wants with heat included since they rent for the same amount, she just can't get past the income to rent ratio requirement. Is that correct, sarah?

I've been thinking about your post. I have a house I'm showing right now that's for rent. If someone like yourself approached me and had income equal to about double the rent, that would make me a little nervous. However if that person was able to convince me that they were indeed able to pay, had paperwork indicating they had been at the same place for many years (no evictions, etc) had good credit, etc., I personally would give you serious consideration as an applicant. I had a senior couple living in a house who were exemplary tenants. They lived on SS and what little pension he got and did just fine, because they closely watched their spending. On the other hand, I have had younger tenants in the past, both working, who were perpetually late with the rent, always complained about some jam they were in, yet they made perfectly acceptable incomes and had accumulated a lot of nicer material possessions (big screen TV with satellite service, computer with high speed connection service, new cars, etc). Those tenants did not garner a lot of sympathy from me because frankly they were just foolish with their money and put their priorities in the wrong order.
What I'm getting at is there are smaller complexes out there where you can speak to someone face to face and not get caught up in a big machine. Perhaps that's what you should focus your energies on. Where you can meet with the manager or landlord in person and show them you are able to pay. Perhaps have a copy of your credit report on hand (more on that below), and any paperwork indicating how long you've resided where you're at. Longevity at a residence is a 'plus'. Do you have old rent receipts or an old lease indicating you've been at the same address for years? I'm a firm believer that when one door closes another opens somewhere. You just have to find that 'open' door. I'm betting with some diligent searching and preparedness on your part, you can succeed ;)

Getting your free credit report: Federal law entitles each consumer to one free report a year from each of the 3 reporting bureaus. A program has been established where we can get our free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com, more info at the link below. A side note: You can obtain all three bureau's reports at the same time, but then must wait a year for the next free one. A good way to 'track' your credit throughout the year, at no expense to you, is to request your report from Equifax, wait 4 months, request your report from Experian, wait 4 months, request your report from Trans Union. The next year just repeat the process and that way you're keeping a close eye on your credit at not cost to you ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Facts for Consumers: Your Access to Free Credit Reports

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:29AM
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I've rented apts. for many years and have never asked for a applicant's income. I do credit checks and employment or source of income verification, but never ask for the amount. I once had two renters side by side. One, an engineer making good money, was being evicted. His neighbor, working for minimun wage at a diner, lived in the apt. for 4 years and was never late. So, to me income isn't the only thing that will detemine whether or not rent will be paid.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 10:02AM
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This Sarah
Yes, I can afford the new apartment with no trouble, just the qualifications. My ex husband in 1994 ran up very high credit card bills on our joint credit cards and refused to pay, I cannot afford to pay and do not, so each month collection agencies make an inquery on my credit report, called dinging, so it looks bad for me there, but all my current bills are paid. Apartmnts that dont do the qualifications do not have heat included, nd require you to buy your own stove, regfrigerator, washer dryer, i cannot afford to do any of these so I must rent where all this is included. I must be near grocery stores and my Cleveland Clinic where I get my medical. But no I dont want more than I have now, just nicer, safer people.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 10:04AM
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I don't know if this will help, but it is worth a shot.

My good friend who is a single mother wanted a nice, safe area for her and her daughter. She could never find a complex where her income was triple the rent and it was forcing her to look in less than desirable areas.

There is a complex across the highway from mine where the cable is in the rent, the washer/dryer are in the unit and so is the microwave along with your basic dishwasher, frige and stove. It has a nice lake with a fountain and pool and fitness center.

We took her credit report and circled all the things showing how HER things are paid on time and then circled the bills that were due to her ex. We took her divorce decree in and also took in her child support order and the copy of the deposits where it is going into her account. We had copies of her electric bills, her phone bill and cell phone to show they are all paid on time. She also got a letter from her car loan institution to show she pays in a timely matter.

Once she presented all this, the complex overlooked her awful credit because they saw she took the time to show she is a good tenant and will pay, but her marriage had ruined her credit report.

Can you try some really fancy paperwork like that where it shows you have every intention of paying, you are just looking for a nice, safe place to live?

Best of luck, let us know how you make out.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 11:34AM
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This is Sarah
I am 63 I have been living with another older gentlmen in his aparment, well I am on the lease but under my first nam and his last name, they think we are maried. He always paid the rent in his name. All the utulities are in his name, I have no car, and I dont used credit cards so I realy have none of these execpt I realy live here and I used my socialsecurity check to pay for the things in his name. So will a new apartment take this information as it is mine too. Is this great apartmnt in Ohio where I live?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 12:20PM
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It's me Sarah again. In answer to the divorce papers and credit the judge ordered we each pay our own bills. Well my ex husband like me, does not work and lives on a social secuirty check too, So he will not pay and I cant pay a $40,000 bill from 1994 so no one pays and it will remain on the credit report the rest of my life. The collction agencys cant take social security checks so we have that as only income. So it does not matter whi caused the debt on a joint acount both are held responsible by law. so the collection agency each month for 2 yers now puts an inquery on my credit report called dinging. It looks bad

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 12:38PM
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You story is becoming much more complicated now. If you have been living with someone, and everything has been in their name, you don't have much of a 'track record' to show prospective landlords and they will probably stick to their "formula" for renters regarding one third income.

I am a bit confused too about how you say you dealt with the finances when you lived with another person. Did you just pay half the rent? Are you sure you CAN afford the new place you desire? Time to get out the calculator.

Angel gives good advice on meeting face to face with them, with credit report in have to see if they are willing to negotiate. Its a long shot but worth the effort.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 2:58PM
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Any bill from 1994 is now 13 years old, and long past the time when it should be affecting your credit. You should consult an elder law attorney about these creditors. There's probably a statute of limitations on this debt that has passed. I can't imagine it's legal for them to deliberately ruin your credit with these 'inquiries' just to get back at you for your husband's debts.

And no, debts don't follow you for the rest of your life. There are laws about that.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 12:04PM
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Collection agencies bought the old debt so now they put on an inquiry each month called dinging so anyone checking my current credit report sees collection agencies inquireing about me each month for 2 yers so it makes it look very bad.
Also I give my entire social security check over to my frind each month as mine is much higher than his and they are combined. So on mine alone is what I am witing about in the case I want to move out alone or if he would die. We are both in our 60's. He lived here many years before I did and i am here 10 years now myself and I go by his last name and the management compay thinks we are married.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 1:14PM
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OK, you lived with another person and your incomes were combined to pay bills, and all the bills were in his name, and he 'handled' everything, you say. You just turned over your check to him. Do you even know what the monthly expenses totaled when you lived there? So the expenses were shared and he paid part of them, right? You really need to sit down and figure out your finances.

Also, having to explain that the name on the lease of the apartment where you are at now is FAKE and you fooled them into thinking that your legal status is that of a married woman, is not going to look good to prospective landlords. If you pulled a stunt like that at your previous place, a prospective landlord is not going to trust you when dealing with them. In a community property state, like where I live, something like that, on a legal document is very important to creditors. Signing a fake name is not legal anywhere.

If I were you, I would also check into the laws of your state, to see if you are now considered Common Law Marriage. There are seven points that the courts looks at. A common law marriage is just as legally binding as a statutory or ceremonial marriage in some jurisdictions. You may have gotten yourself into some hot water, because guess what, there is no common law divorce! The states that currently recognize Common Law Marriage are: Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Some states only recognize common Law Marriage for purposes of probate, and BTW the Social Security Adminstration DOES recognize them. This is something to really be aware of since you both are at an age where one of you could die soon. If you live in one of those states I would recommend you see a lawyer for clarification.

You really need a lawyer and not a discussion board. There is too much incorrect info in some of these threads so don't listen to everything you read here. For instance housenewbie says that debts don't follow you for the rest of you life and that is just not true. Some debts do. They do not just evaporate. School loans for instance, and child support, army bonuses that were recinded, unpaid court fines, and some debts that went to court and there is a judgment issued. There are some debts that cannot be considered when filing bankruptcy too, just as there are exclusions of property that can be siezed in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not the "easy out" that so many assume. Also, bankruptcy laws were tightened in 2005 due to the abuse of the system with serial filers, so walking away from your debts is not the 'easy breezy' thing that it used to be.

Unlike what housenewbie says, it IS legal for collection agencies to ding you.

You may have to just bite the bullet, and set your lofty ideas, aside and resign yourself to the fact that you will not be living the way to which you have been accustomed if you move.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 3:40PM
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I see now in one of your posts you mentioned "Ohio" although your profile had just said United States, so I did a quick check on Common Law Marriage rules there, and Ohio will only currently recognize common Law marriages created before 10/91 which is when they changed their marriage statutes, so it looks like you are safe from any legal entanglement in that respect, in regards to your present living arrangement, where you are passing yourself off as a man's spouse on paperwork you signed and residing with him.

Also, since Ohio is not a Community Property state, (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin are.) your divorce degree may give you some leverage with the creditors who are hounding you for debts from your joint account with your previous spouse. No one here can give you a definative answer to this since we do not know the divorce decree or the terms of the credit account you and your former spouse signed up for. I am assuming that you did not do your divorce Pro Se, so maybe you can contact the lawyer you used and they can 'make a few calls' for you to the collection agency. This may help you in your apartment search.

Let this be a lesson for all reading this thread - Never have a joint credit account with anyone, no matter how much you "trust" them. Unfortunately one cannot protect themselves this way in a Community Property State like where I live.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 8:24PM
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