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Old 01-28-2013, 04:11 AM
 
8 posts, read 6,987 times
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I am looking for a new apartment in the Bay Area. Currently, I live in Pleasant Hill, but I am relatively new to Cali.

Should I say this to a landlord who inquires about my income:

"I make about $1,800 a month. $800 is from Social Security Disability, $200 is from food stamps, about $200 is from not having to pay for my health insurance (Medicare and Medi-Cal), about $200 is help from family, and about $400 is from self-employment from selling things on eBay. My income is very stable, as I have been getting disability for 20 years now. I can provide verification for the Social Security, food stamps, and Medicare/Medi-Cal. I am also currently in the process of filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy and all of my student loans are in the process of being permanently cancelled by the Department of Education (one has already been, in fact), so I will have a very clean credit report."

(I had to give Medicare and Medi-Cal a value, even though it's free to me and pays me nothing, since if I worked a job, I would have to pay about $200 (???) probably from my paycheck monthly for health insurance. So that is money now that I do not have to pay for health insurance.)

1) I want to know how landlords would view my income. I feel I can afford an apartment in the $500-$600 range for a 1 or 2 BR, even though that is really expensive (at least where I come from). My credit score is in the low 600's and I file for chapter 7 bankruptcy in about a month. Also, I read on craigslist that in California it is illegal for landlords to discriminate based on the source of your income.

2) Also, I want to know if mentioning self-employment or a home-based business is bad when it comes to renting? Maybe landlords don't like this, or it is against local codes? Does "selling on eBay" seem bad to you?

3) Also, were should I look for housing? I am willing to look as far north as Santa Rosa in the North Bay, as far east as Yuba City/Auburn in the East Bay, as as far south as Gilroy/Modesto in the South Bay, and as far west as Pacifica in the West Bay. Off-street car parking is a must, as well as safety as I am a single female living alone. I prefer a suburban lifestyle and cool summer weather like the Peninsula has. I am from upstate NY, where the summer highs are only in the low 80's occasionally. It's usually in the 70's. Plus I want to stay in California since I will get lifelong free tuition at state community colleges through the fee waiver program (I think this is correct). Stockton seems to have the area's lowest rents, but I would prefer to go to school at the College of San Mateo or Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill (or even Community College of San Francisco, despite the high heat in the summer there). I admit I haven't checked out the rents in San Francisco-Oakland yet on craigslist, but I might have to live there due to my low income. I am going later this week to Stockton to see what the area is like and pick up housing applications. I know they have a private, prestigious college there called University of the Pacific, which I am attracted to, since I like to be in intellectual environments.

Thanks so much for any help!
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:39 AM
 
1,821 posts, read 1,159,671 times
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A landlord who is desperate for cash will take anything he can get; that's going to have to be your strategy. Your sources of income are perfectly fine for renting in any of a thousand down-at-the-heels towns all over the United States. Unfortunately, in the vast area you described, larger than most states, there aren't many such towns and most two bedroom apartments rent for a multiple of what you can afford. Maybe Stockton or Yuba City are different; I haven't been there (except on the highway).

In San Francisco proper, two bedroom apartments start a little under $2000 and go up from there - waaay up - so you might want to think about going somewhere else.

If you're already renting in Pleasant Hill, which is a fairly nice spot with beautiful weather and views, why not stay put? Sorry to say, you will have difficulty finding anything in a decent area given your income and employment situation.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:40 AM
 
Location: Hills & Hollers of the Aux Arcs
19,089 posts, read 16,338,016 times
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A bankruptcy and only about $800 in verifiable, real income wouldn't excite me as a landlord.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:43 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
3,077 posts, read 2,480,264 times
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In the Bay Area, I don't think you will have very much luck. $1800 a month, regardless of how you earn it is well below poverty. $500 a month apartments just don't exist here- I don't even think Section 8 is that cheap. You'd be lucky to rent a room out of someone's house/condo for that much in the bad parts of Oakland. People are paying $500 to live in closets/laundry rooms in SF right now because prices are so out of control.

Yuba City and Auburn are nowhere near the boundaries of the East Bay, so you might want to look more closely at a map. DVC and CSM are some of the top JCs in the state and they are in expensive areas, so if you're already doing well in Pleasant Hill, STAY PUT!

I think it's great that you want to get an education, but based on your fixed income, the Bay Area is nowhere near within your means.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:46 AM
 
1,821 posts, read 1,159,671 times
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Also, don't include your "income" from not having to pay for health insurance. Your landlord will not consider that income.

It makes about as much sense as including the $500 a month you don't have to pay on your auto lease because you don't drive a Mercedes.

In other words, you would be making a substantial misrepresentation.

And, at many jobs, the employer pays for health insurance, at least for the employee if not also for dependents.
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:11 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,987 times
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Wow, thanks for all the information Larry siegel, Curmudgeon, and O4kL4nD.

I thought Oakland and SF would be very cheap to rent in. I come from upstate NY, but also lived many years in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is where you go if you have low income, and is 80% black, so I felt out of place, being white, but I actually did like the diversity. It also features a gritty, urban lifestyle. But there was a murder there almost every day and you heard gunfire at nights and the University of Pennsylvania (an Ivy League school) began gentrifying a downtrodden area of West Philadelphia, forcing all the poor people out.

So, generally, the big city is where there are cheap rents, so I thought it was the same here with SF and Oakland and that they were urban environments. But I guess they are more like suburbs in Cali...weird. If Oakland and SF are the good areas, where are the bad areas? San Jose?

But anyway, good news is that I found rents advertised for as low as $400 for 2 BR's in Stockton! So I might go there. I wish I could stay in Pleasant Hill, but there rents are too high for me ($1150 a month for a 1 BR???????). I will just have to commute form Stockton if necessary. Also, I am trying to get Section 8 and have applied for public housing projects in some places, but most of the wait lists are closed. Even San Francisco's wait list at their Housing Authority is closed--that was the first place I tried. I would only have pay about $140 rent a month if I got Section 8, and the Housing Authority would pay the rest. (The minimum tenant payment is $50 in most areas, even if you have no income.) How it works is that the tenant pays 30% of their gross adjusted income towards rent and utilities, and the Housing Authority pays the rest, up to a certain maximum rent, which depends on apartment BR size. Being single, I am eligible for either a studio or 1BR, and I get a huge deduction off my income for being disabled and for monthly medical expenses above $35.

Also, I am just curious Curmudgeon: how did you find this post if you live in Missouri?
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:19 PM
 
8 posts, read 6,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Siegel View Post
Also, don't include your "income" from not having to pay for health insurance. Your landlord will not consider that income.

It makes about as much sense as including the $500 a month you don't have to pay on your auto lease because you don't drive a Mercedes.

In other words, you would be making a substantial misrepresentation.

And, at many jobs, the employer pays for health insurance, at least for the employee if not also for dependents.
But doesn't the employee have to contribute something towards their health insurance? No one pays 100% of your health insurance these days, except for cushy, Cadillac union jobs, which don't exist anymore.

So wouldn't a landlord assume I would have to pay something from my income for health insurance? I just want to let him know that I don't have to pay for it, so I have more disposable income for rent!
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:25 PM
 
1,761 posts, read 1,233,354 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitana99 View Post
But doesn't the employee have to contribute something towards their health insurance? No one pays 100% of your health insurance these days, except for cushy, Cadillac union jobs, which don't exist anymore.

So wouldn't a landlord assume I would have to pay something from my income for health insurance? I just want to let him know that I don't have to pay for it, so I have more disposable income for rent!

Dude, that is not income, it is expense that you don't have to pay, but it's not income. You may as well say you make $10,000 a month because you don't have to put gas in your private jet.

Also, SF Bay Area is one of the most expensive area to live in this country. The city SF is second only to Manhattan.

Most landlord would not be impressed with "selling stuff on eBay" constituting 1/3 of your income. If you want to stay in the Bay Area, I'd suggest you look in the lower income area - East Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Richmond, Vallejo, Pinole, etc. Realistically, a studio, even the cheap ones in sketchy parts, runs about $650 and up. Safety will be hit or miss, but expect the neighborhood to be similar to your Philly hood in general.

Stockton or the lower income part of Sacramento (generally southeast Sacramento) may be better fit for you income wise. But those places get very hot in the summer.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:13 PM
 
6,805 posts, read 1,394,119 times
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Not well would be my best guess.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:27 PM
 
3,892 posts, read 2,866,793 times
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As a landlord, I would not rent to ANYONE who tells me they are about to file for bankruptcy. One, it indicates that you cannot manage your money effectively, and two, who is to say you won't include your rent in the bankruptcy claim.
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