You may be shocked to learn this about me, but there are a few things in this world that send my temper straight into orbit. This past week I experienced one of these things. My wife and I are in the process of seeking out, finding and applying to move to a new apartment. Currently we are month to month with our landlord and we have taken this opportunity to seek moving out of Lakeview East and trying out a new neighborhood.
So after months, and what has felt like a lifetime, we feel like we’ve found a great place. There’s a bit more elbow room in comparison to our current apartment, hardwood floors versus our current carpet, a dishwasher, gym in building and, oh yea, the rent is cheaper than our current place :) !
The move would require us to leave the familiarity of Lakeview/Lincoln Park for a neighborhood just a tad North, but we feel that the trade-offs would be well worth it, especially since we would get to still be by the lakefront. So to prepare for what could be a quick move we transferred roughly $2,000 from our travel account to one of our checking accounts to cover all anticipated moving expenses in cash, these have included: application fee, 1st months rent, fee for movers and what will be a first for us, having a wireless in apartment security system.
So the application was sent out and the response we received was not so hot and just about erupted my coronary arteries. The prospective property management company gave my application an “Incomplete” status. Even with proof of recent pay stubs, employment verification that we have been steadily and continually employed for the last five years and fronted the aforementioned fees/deposits, my lack of a credit history flagged the property management company to put a halt on our application.
I was informed that I would need a cosigner for my portion of the application, and lovingly also have to pay an additional application fee. I…WENT…INTO…ORBIT.
I informed the relayer of this untimely news that I do not need a cosigner for this apartment. I also lovingly shared the reason I do not have a credit history, which is because I am debt free and have been for the last four years. To sweeten the deal I offered to provide recent bank statements that show our monetary assets in the low six figures.
I was livid, I was angry, quite frankly, I was pissed off. I mean really, would this property management company (and probably others out there) prefer to have applicants flushed with student loans, car notes and credit card debt? To me that says there’s a lot of monthly payments due competing with a rent check for first place every month.
But then I started thinking, what if I was in a dire financial situation or fresh out of college. What if I was upside-down on my house, short-sold my home and was trying to climb out from the bottom. What if I was a hard working college student, putting myself through school and never used debt? Then the knee jerk reaction to these young and/or hurting people is to penalize them with more fees (through the extra application fee) and drag someone else into the individual’s financial situation.
To me that just seems wrong. Thankfully in my situation the management company accepted to receive my financial statements displaying the fact that I am my own line of credit. And, fingers crossed, we should be finding out by the end of the week whether we get the apartment. But this situation has done two things for me. For starters it reinforced that when living debt free and either trying to rent an apartment or get a manually underwritten mortgage, that it ends up taking a lot of time and paperwork, and you kind of have to shake the other party around to get them on the same page and educated about those of us in the debt free Ramsey nation. But it also made me feel empathy as well as sympathy for those new to adulthood whom have been “living right” as well as those that are hurting and crawling off the financial floor.
So if I’ve described you or if you are like me, a debt fighting frugal fury fighter that is debt free and facing this same kind of scrutiny, know that I am right here fighting along with you. Together we’ll show the world that debt is not a way of life and that the borrower truly is slave to the lender.