How much of an apartment can I afford?
The rule of thumb is that one week’s gross pay should cover your monthly rent. If there are two or more tenants, the combined income is calculated. Verification of your income is required. We will confirm your job references. If you are a student on loans and can provide documentation of them, the net loan amount, (Gross amount – tuition) is considered income. If your source of income is SSI or DPA, a trust fund, or any other form of unearned income, be assured that it is the amount, not the source of your income that will matter
Do I need good credit?
In a word, yes. If you find an apartment that you like, we will run your credit as part of your application process.
Can I use a co-signer?
Yes in almost all cases. In fact, co-signers are the norm for students, and for those relocating to the region who may not yet be employed. A co-singer can help if your income is a little lower than you need, if you have not yet established credit, or if you have some minor problems on your credit history. The only time a co-signer will not suffice is if you show an eviction, or have serious credit problems.
Who can co-sign for me?
Co-signers must have a permanent US residency, a very good credit history, and an income high enough to pay all of their own expenses as well as your rent, if you fail to make payment. If your proposed co-signer has bad credit or a low income, they will not be approved. Parents are the most obvious choice, but not required. Co-signers do not have to live in Pennsylvania.
My cosigner lives out of town. Do they have to come in to sign the application?
You, as the tenant may provide the information for the cosigner on the application. You will sign a statement that says that you are signing on behalf of them, with their full authority and approval, and in doing so that they are in agreement with and bound to the terms of the application. Please see “Application Processing” for full details.
Can I sign the lease for my cosigner?
No, your cosigner must personally sign the lease. If they cannot come into the office, YOU can send it to them. They can sign it anywhere, but if not signed in our office, it must be notarized, and it must be returned to our office within the specified five business days from final approval..
Can the lease just be in my cosigner’s name?
No, not really. All parties living in the premises must be on the lease.
When should I start looking for an apartment?
Generally all of our units are on 60 day notice, so anywhere from 65 to 45 days prior to your move in date is best. If you look too early, we won’t have anything available yet. If you wait too long, many of the best apartments will be taken.
Do you charge a fee?
There is no finder’s fee, however, if you find an apartment, there is an application fee of $50.00 per tenant, and $50.00 per co-signer. This offsets the cost of checking credit history, landlord and employment references. The fee is not refundable.
What about pets?
Even though we all like dogs we do not allow them in the apartments. You can have up to two cats with an additional pet deposit of a full month rent.
What’s the neighborhood like? Is it safe?
Since 1993 it has been illegal for a licensed real estate agent in Pennsylvania to answer this question. While we would all like to help in this regard, it does protect you from unscrupulous agents who may try to mislead you. This was the reason for the law. In order to determine whether or not you want to live in a specific area, we suggest that you spend some time on the block you are considering. The best time to do this is the early evening when people are coming home from work. Ask the locals if they like the area. Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods. Different neighborhoods, even different blocks in a neighborhood have different plusses and minuses. Be sure to ask several people so that you get a fair sampling, and be sure to ask the people who live where you are considering, not those who live even 3 or 4 blocks away.
If I find an apartment, can I come back to see it again with my roommate or parents?
As much as we would like to accommodate everyone, during the rental season, we can receive up to 200-250 inquiries per day. With this volume, unfortunately, it means we must limit appointments. This is why it is so important that all of the parties who need to see the apartment be present at the initial appointment.
If I find an apartment that I like, what do I have to do to hold it?
In a nutshell, you must pay a full month rental deposit, fill out and sign an application form and pay an application fee for each tenant and each cosigner. Please read the details, under “Application Processing”
Is the rental deposit refundable?
The deposit is refundable only if your application is declined. The deposit is not refundable if, after receiving tentative approval, you either change your mind or fail to complete the application terms on schedule. Please do not place a deposit on an apartment unless you are sure that you want it and can complete the process. Please go to the “Application Processing” section for all of the details.
What is the total I have to pay before I move in?
The total payments will amount to Three Full Months rent. Once approved, the rental deposit will be applied as rent, and will be your first payment. The next payment, (your final month rent paid in advance) is due at the lease signing, five days from final approval of your application. Your security deposit, (a full month rent), is due either the starting date of your lease, or the day you move in, whichever comes first.
Are there any other charges?
If you have a pet, the pet deposit must be paid before moving in. If your apartment has an alarm, you must pay a $35.00 registration fee to the city before moving in. This check will be made payable directly to The City of Philadelphia. We will supply you with the forms, and forward your payment for you.
I’m ready to start looking. What do I do first?
Great. There is an easy way, and a hard way. Please follow the suggestions on the “Rental Procedure” page of this web site.