If you are considering renting a home in Los Angeles you should know that right now the market is tight for renters. Good rentals go quickly so you have to have all your ducks in a row to move quickly on a property you like.
Here is a list to help you prepare and hopefully make you stand out from the crowd:
- Credit: The main thing landlords look at is the potential renter’s credit. And generally every adult over 18 will be asked to fill out an application and provide credit information. Usually you will be asked to run your full credit report on all three bureaus, although occasionally the landlord’s representative will run it and charge a fee. Combined with this, some landlords are also doing a background check. If your credit score is below 720 you could have a problem. There are also occasions that a background check will be done. How can you get around poor credit?
- Provide proof of funds that show you can afford at least one year’s rent
- Get a letter from your employer proving employment and/or a couple of pay stubs to show your income.
- Get references from previous landlords.
- You may have to pay a few months up front. Some landlords require the whole year up front from prospective tenants with poor credit.
- Talk to friend or family member about signing the lease or being a guarantor, although some landlords will not accept this option. The guarantor or co-signor will have to have their credit run also.
- Deposit: Most often the security deposit is two months rent and cannot be used to pay the last months rent. So effectively you are going to have to come up with three months rent to move in.
- Pets: Pets can make finding a property more difficult. Many landlords do not allow pets, and there may be building restrictions on the number and size of pets. Be up front when searching. You do not want to fall in love with something and find you cannot bring your pets with you.
- Number of tenants: Every tenant will need to be on the lease and as mentioned above, each adult tenant will have to fill out an application credit. You cannot rent and then bring in someone to share.
- Type of property: Looking for a rental is really not much different from looking to buy. Narrow down your search area and what you can live without. Do you have to have inside laundry? Is covered parking a must? What kind of security do you need? And don’t look above your price range. It is unlikely the rent will drop my much, and you don’t want to spoil yourself by looking at homes you cannot afford. Check what your rent includes. On rare occasions it may include all utilities, most most often you will be paying those. And in new buildings you may find you will have to pay for water also.
Above all, don’t take it personally when you are asked about your credit. It is the one method landlords have to feel secure about tenants they are letting into their homes.
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