Before you move out. Read This:
Frequently Asked Questions, Money 101, Northwest Minnesota Continuum of Care, Renter Information, Education, Independent Living Skills/Adulting Resources
Can you stay where you’re at while you plan?
- If Yes, and it’s safer than leaving, stay where you’re at. Once you move out, even to just stay with a friend, it’s often harder to move back in.
- If No, then what are your current resources?
- Do you have a caring adult in your life who will let you stay with them while you decide what to do next? Youth who maintain relationships with caring adults have better long-term success. This is your Support Network.
- If no adults will support you, do you have a friend who will let you stay at their place for a little while?
- If you still do not have a place you can stay, why is that? No judgement, not everyone has help. However, family conflict is one of the primary causes of youth homelessness. Is there something you can do or someone you can apologize to in order to have somewhere to stay? Would it be helpful if another adult helped you talk to your family?
- If you’re leaving because of family violence, and it’s an emergency, you may find a Domestic Violence or Emergency Shelter that can help you.
What if you offered to and helped with chores? What if you went and got groceries from the food shelf? What if they saw you making progress towards school or job success? Do you have a trusted adult or family member you could help out in exchange for a place to stay temporarily?
If you still have no where you can stay, you may need to find an Emergency Homeless Shelter.
Do you have the important information you will need in order to get more identification, to rent an apartment, be hired for a job, or get assistance?
- Special Circumstances: If you have a disability, have had a specialized plan at school, or have worked with a social worker, these are good things to be able to prove to a resource if you ever need help. Full names and phone numbers of people who have helped you will come in handy. Social Workers
- Your children’s information as well.
Before you leave your current home, can you get a job or start to transition into handling your own paperwork? Once you don’t have a current physical address to use, it can be difficult to even get a post office box. It’s not impossible, but these are good things to think about. Employers like to see that you’re stable and are going to be good about coming to work before they hire you. People who are distracted by trying to find the next place they’re going to stay are often poor employees.
- Permanent Address where you can get mail even if you don’t currently live there.
- An Email Address you check regularly. Nothing silly, keep it professional.
- A phone number and voicemail box that is checked regularly. If you’re having someone call someone else’s phone, let both parties know. Potential Employers and Landlords don’t try twice when they’re looking for someone for the first time. They just move on to the next (Do you qualify for a free cell phone/Obama Phone?)
- How do you plan to pay for your new home? Even if the rent is cheap or free, independence comes with unexpected expenses.
Landlords and property managers will ask:
- What is your monthly income? You’ll have to show proof.
- Pay stubs, Maxis Report, SSDI receipt, or another adult may have to agree to co-sign for you and show that they can pay if you cannot. Your monthly income should be at least 3 times what your rent will be. If you want to rent a $500 per month apartment, your landlord will want proof that you have $1500 every month.
- How will you pay your other expenses?
- Food, Phone, internet, electric, gas, transportation? If you’re very low income there may be help with some of this, but you’ll have to let the landlord know you’ve thought it out and have a plan.
You’re also going to need a deposit.
- Landlords often want First, Last, and a Damage deposit up front before they’ll let you sign a lease. This is usually the rent multiplied by three. If rent is $500 then the deposit will likely be $1500.
- If you have rent money, but no deposit, let our team know. Connect
- You could also call and talk to Housing Agency Staff.
A lease is a contract between you and the landlord. Read it, ask questions about it, don’t break it. If you break it, you might get evicted.
An Eviction is what happens when a landlord decides to legally force you to move out of their property for breaking a lease. An eviction on your record will make it nearly impossible to find another landlord. If you’re being evicted, or threatened with eviction, take it seriously and call Home Line right away.
You get your last month and your damage deposit returned to you at the end of your lease if you fulfill your obligations under the lease and leave the apartment clean and undamaged after giving proper notice before moving out. Many people arrange with their landlord to use their last month rent to pay their last month so that they have some money to move into a new place. Landlords have almost a month to return your deposit.
- Have you ever rented before? What will that former landlord say about you? Did you pay rent on time? Leave the place clean? Leave on good terms? Etc.
- If this is going to be your first rental, you’ll probably need a co-signer (which is hard to find if your family is also low income or you left on bad terms) or at least 3 references who will tell the landlord that you’re trustworthy.
- Do you have an adult with good credit who will co-sign for you? A co-signer guarantees that you will pay rent and be a good tenant. If you don’t pay, then your co-signer will have to. If you get evicted, or your landlord goes to a collection agency to get you to pay your rent, this will show up on your co-signer’s credit record and hurt it.
- Do you plan to have a roommate? Your roommate will have to answer all of the same questions you do.
- Do you have good credit? You get good credit by having bills like a cell phone contract, or an electricity bill in your name, and then paying them on time. If you’ve never had a bank account before, get one before you move out or ASAP.
- Can you pass a criminal background check? Most landlords will check to see if you have a record so be ready to explain anything negative. Private landlords, of single-family rentals, not apartment buildings are more likely to rent to felons than property managers of apartment buildings.
- Do you have a pet?
- If No, great don’t get a pet. I love pets too, but they make it much harder to find a willing landlord.
- If Yes. Be honest with your potential landlords. If you find a landlord who will let you have a pet, great, but still, always be thinking about being able to find a next place in case the place doesn’t work out or you need to move for a job.
If you’ve read this far and still want to rent a place of your own and you’re pretty sure you can handle the responsibility, or you’re in a position where you don’t have any other choices, CONNECT with the MyPath Team.