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finding an apartment in chicago

HoovesHooves Registered User regular
edited October 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm moving to Chicago in about a month. Me and a friend(who is living there now) are going to get a place together. Right now we're in the process of filling out apartment applications.

Here's the problem: I have no credit and no references. I've only lived in two apartments over the course of my life. The first one I was being subletted to so my name wasn't on the lease and the landlord wasn't even aware of my existence, the second apartment I was evicted from( I got laid off about 2 weeks after I moved in) so I can't very well use that as a reference.

Other than using my parents(they've been charging me a modest rate monthly) I don't know what else to do. I'm actually considering putting down one of my friend and giving them the number my potential landlord ahead of time so when the person calls up they know to answer the phone as if they were a leasing company that had rented to me(i.e. vandelay industries).

My friend doesn't have the best credit score, actually I'm pretty sure he's considering filing for bankruptcy in the near future, but he does have plenty of references.

So what should I do? Do I have a chance of finding a place with no references or do I need to resort to having a friend lie for me?

Hooves on


  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Do you have a job and a bunch of cash in savings?

    Improvolone on
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  • HoovesHooves Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    yeah I have a job. All my money is in a debit account. Its not a bunch but its enough to move with.

    Hooves on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Lets say the landlord says "look, I need first two months, last month, and a months security deposit", can you do it?

    Also, don't move in with someone who is going to declare bankruptcy and just say you've been living with your parents.

    Improvolone on
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  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Between Chicago and Boston I can tell you that Landlords care a lot less about having applications filled out in full and a lot more about being aware that the tenant can pay for the apartment.

    I suggest contacting them directly with a copy of your bank statement demonstrating you have the funding to afford the apartment.

    I didn't have the three references the land lord wanted, but I did have a copy of my loan statement, along with my bank statement, showing that I will have enough liquid cash to pay the total sum of the lease. I got the apartment without issue.

    Also, moving in with a guy who is about to declare bankruptcy isn't the best financial decision in the world.

    MegaMan001 on
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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    If they don't outright refuse you, the landlords may require you to pay several months rent in advance to make up for the low credit score/lack of rental history.

    MushroomStick on
  • JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I got my first apartment in the Chicago suburbs with no credit score at all and a normal deposit. What I did have was a letter from the company that I was about to start at, stating that I was hired as a permanent employee and how much I was getting paid. If they know you can pay the bills somehow, you'll probably be fine.

    Seconded on moving in with someone with shaky finances, though. Do you really want to be stuck with the whole rent bill?

    JHunz on
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  • mightyjongyomightyjongyo Sour Crrm East Bay, CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Maybe you should look into getting an apartment that does individual leases, considering the possibility that your future roommate might end up leaving you with the bill.

    mightyjongyo on
  • MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2010
    You'll probably be fine. Just continue to fill out the apartment applications and scheduling viewings. You may have better luck going through landlords personally than you would with leasing agencies, but you can usually be upfront with the leasing agency, since people like Rent Smart and The Homestead Group are used to dealing with broke college kids with no credit.

    If they ask for a credit check, let them know that you have poor credit and you'd like to prove to them with whatever you can (paystubs, account balances, etc) that you have. Otherwise, don't worry too much about it. If the landlord is really concerned, you may need to have someone else who does have money (your parents, a friend, a relative) sign as a Guarantor on the lease agreement, stating that they'll be responsible for any missed payments.

    The state of the rental market in Chicago at the moment is pretty not good. This is advantageous to you as a renter, because a lot of landlords are just looking for someone to sign the lease ASAP. There are a lot more rental properties available than renters right now (even though the city population is still steadily growing), and tons of unsold condominiums are being converted into affordable rentals.

    Unfortunately, a lot of landlords are also facing foreclosure and others have so many empty units that they may be too if they don't get someone in their property paying rent. For this reason, I would also suggest that you look into the landlord as well before signing anything. Run a search on their name on the Cook County Clerk and Clerk of the Circuit Court databases and see if they're currently tied up in any large debt claims or foreclosure suits, so you can make an informed decision rather than risk being served with eviction papers after signing a lease.

    Monoxide on
  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Pretty much what Monoxide said. Just look at apartment listings on Craigslist for Chicago - there are a large number of apartments in good neighborhoods being advertised with no deposit due whatsoever; landlords are pretty desperate for tenants right now.

    Ketar on
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