Finding a good rental property in Los Angeles is difficult at the best of times. Inventory, although improving, is still low, rents are rising, and the good homes lease quickly. Some of the following items are going to make finding a good lease more difficult:
- Bad credit or no credit. The first thing a landlord is going to want to see from a prospective tenant is their credit history. Anything lower than a score of around 650 is going to be a problem. This is going to be an ongoing problem. What are some ways around this?
- Work on repairing and/or building up your credit.
- If you have a reasonable explanation for the low credit, write a letter of explanation to the landlord.
- Provide proof of funds which would well cover a year’s rent.
- Offer to pay several months rent up front. Maybe even a year’s rent.
- Find a guarantor who will sign the lease. They should be prepared to have their credit checked.
- Foreign nationals. Foreign nationals are not likely to have established credit and in this case items c,d, and e above will help. Also the applicant’s employer may provide proof of employment and sometimes act as a guarantor.
- Multiple tenants. If you are more than one individual (not a family) looking to rent an apartment together, you need to be prepared to have each applicant’s credit checked. One applicant with bad credit may ruin the other’s chances.
- Pets. Having pets can often limit a prospective tenant’s chances of finding a place. Many landlords don’t allow pets, and there is usually a pet policy in condo buildings as to number of pets and size (30 lbs seems to be common). Before you get that dog, and perhaps two cats, think twice if you are contemplating a move.
- Wants and needs. An inside laundry is nice, but this may not be feasible in your price range. The same goes with outside space and amenities, hardwood vs carpet. Decide what you are willing to give up and adjust your search accordingly. Depending on your price range you may have to look in a different neighborhood.
- Timing. Don’t start looking for a property before you are ready either to take it on the spot or within a reasonable time period, maybe two weeks. Landlords may agree to split the difference if you need to give a month’s notice at your present rental, but they are unlikely to hold the place open for an entire month, certainly not in this competitive rental market.
- Smoking. Many buildings have a non-smoking policy so unless you are willing to give it up you will have to find somewhere which will accommodate you.
Money is the answer to many of the above problems, so do your homework and set your expectations accordingly when looking for a rental property in Los Angeles.
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