Affordability and Rental Barriers

Affordability And Rental Barriers

Affordability Calculator

The Affordability Calculator can help give you an idea of how much you should be spending for rent and utilities each month. It’s an easy-to-use tool that can give you some guidance before looking for housing.

Steps to Overcoming Rental Barriers

Identify your barriers

  • Gather credit history from annualcreditreport.com
  • Go to courthouse records department for criminal history or evictions

Reduce your barriers

  • Pay down debts (property debt first!)
  • Build positive references
  • Abide by probation/parole
  • Create a monthly budget
  • Take Rent Well classes

Write a rental cover letter

  • Include explanation of negative barriers and what you are doing to address them

Get organized

  • Organize documents to present to a prospective landlord – personal letter of explanation, letters of recommendation, Rent Well certificate, etc.

Call and screen the property you are interested in

  • Make sure it meets your needs
  • Set up an appointment to see the place in person
  • Do not discuss barriers over the phone

Meet with the landlord in person

  • Focus on appearance, communication skills, organization, timeliness
  • Take a tour, check out the property
  • Look at the screening criteria
  • Explain circumstances behind barriers and positive things being done to address these barriers
    • Be honest!
    • Do this BEFORE paying a screening fee
    • Ask for a reasonable accommodation, if appropriate

Ask the landlord if he or she thinks you will pass the screening

  • Decide whether it is worth submitting an application

If the application is submitted and denied, ask about an appeal

  • Rental properties should have an appeal process
  • Appeal process can sometimes allow a landlord to take a look at each individual’s circumstances

Alternative Housing

Finding it difficult or impossible to find housing because of lack of income or other barriers? A great resource and advocate is the Community Alliance of Tenants.

Also try searching 211info.org for even more housing resources. If you would like to speak with a community resource specialist, simply dial 211 toll free; text your zip code to 898211; or email [email protected].