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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to rent a new place. For the last few years, I've been renting in the US, so I don't have recent Canadian rental history. I'm self employed, no official pay slips or pay deposits.

I am a Canadian citizen and resident, and have good credit. What I can show are printouts of my bank account showing plenty of cash (easily 24 months of rent). I could also show my self-employment invoices; these give an idea of the cashflow I have. These are invoices that I create and deliver to my customers.

If you were the landlord, what kind of documentation would you like to see before you rent to someone like me? Is the bank account printout enough?
 

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Proof of income (tax notice of assessment)?
I take it j4b that you have been reporting all your income in Canada as well as US income in the US. I have been filing US taxes for 25 years and still waiting for a notice of assessment. As a tax accountant there explained to me long ago, the IRS does not issue notices of assessment. He said "if you file your return and never hear anything, it's been accepted".

So yes, NoA is good. Not sure about Canada, but US landlords always (well, at least if they are doing their homework) get a credit bureau report on applicants.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As a proud Canadian, I have been filing and paying Canadian taxes all these years, even though (strictly speaking) I did not have to.

@andrewf mentioned "proof of income" which is new to me. It's an additional document available through CRA. It's similar to a NoA but, even though I just filed 2019 today, was immediately available whereas the NoA might take a few weeks.

@Mukhang pera try out the IRS feature called "transcript". You can order this from their web site and they will mail something similar to a NoA to the address on file.
 

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Credit report and Proof of income ,I would offer the last 90 days income proof with redacted info of course .
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Credit report and Proof of income ,I would offer the last 90 days income proof with redacted info of course .
Thanks! But out of curiosity, even if I had very little income, wouldn't showing cash in the bank also work? Imagine a retired person who is renting for example.

The landlord wants to know you have resources to pay. Income (cashflow) is one way, but paying from savings and investments is another way.
 

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I know a lady who had $700,000 in the bank but had a difficult time renting as her income was very low lol She had sold her home and was getting turned down left and right ,I told her to ask bank to write a letter standing she was getting x from her investments each month.Basically she put $200000 in an account and asked them to put $6000 a month in her chequing account ,that finally worked and she got a condo to rent.Credit is the biggest thing , if you are over 750 most wont ask for anything else...
 

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@Mukhang pera try out the IRS feature called "transcript". You can order this from their web site and they will mail something similar to a NoA to the address on file.
Thanks for that info j4b. I was not aware of that. Not that I have ever much cared. I just always found it odd not to receive something like we get from the CRA. Can't say I have ever needed or wanted it. But now, should the need arise, I know where to look, thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for that info j4b. I was not aware of that. Not that I have ever much cared. I just always found it odd not to receive something like we get from the CRA. Can't say I have ever needed or wanted it. But now, should the need arise, I know where to look, thank you.
Nobody knows this feature :) This can be useful for proving to CRA that you have paid tax to the US. I've used it to back up some tax treaty things and avoiding double taxation.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I know a lady who had $700,000 in the bank but had a difficult time renting as her income was very low lol She had sold her home and was getting turned down left and right ,I told her to ask bank to write a letter standing she was getting x from her investments each month.Basically she put $200000 in an account and asked them to put $6000 a month in her chequing account ,that finally worked and she got a condo to rent.Credit is the biggest thing , if you are over 750 most wont ask for anything else...
Interesting, I was concerned about something like this.

Good to hear that credit check is the big thing. Maybe I'll be OK.

I suppose if I really have trouble beyond that, I can easily use financial engineering or make my own arbitrary "income payments", if people really are so caught up on seeing income.
 

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Nobody knows this feature :) This can be useful for proving to CRA that you have paid tax to the US. I've used it to back up some tax treaty things and avoiding double taxation.
Yup, a well-kept secret. Thanks for sharing.

And you raise a good point about proving payment to the CRA. I have had the CRA come to me once or twice asking me to prove that I paid to the IRS what I said I paid. I think I ended up getting copies of cheques. The "transcript" might be useful there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Credit report and Proof of income ,I would offer the last 90 days income proof with redacted info of course .
Assuming credit check is not enough for the landlord...

I'm curious what other things retired people do, for renting. I do have some self-employment income, but it's rather low right now. It's very likely I would pay my rent out of my savings.

If others here have experience with renting as retirees (or renting to retirees) I'd love to hear what other material was used. Bank account statement? Brokerage statement showing GICs? Do things like that mean anything to landlords?
 

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As one who has been small-time landlord since I was a university student, I have almost always screened my own tenants. Usually I asked for little documentation. I am sure this will be met with disdain from the more seasoned veterans of the trenches, and those whose holdings are vast, but I have probably relied primarily on what could perhaps be characterized as the "sniff test" more than anything else. To put it at an even lower level, gut feeling plays a major role. How you like the cut of the prospective tnt's jib? It has always served me well. Never had a bad tenant. Never stiffed for rent. Never experienced any damage to premises. Never had to evict anyone. Never had anyone leave without proper notice.

By the same token, I have been a tenant here and there over the years, in different cities and countries, much of the time when I was also a landlord. Same thing. I do not recall EVER being asked to produce a single document, reference, or anything. I guess I passed the sniff test. Always the transaction was consummated by way of a friendly fireside chat. Nothing done to verify my pedigree. And those L/Ls were right. I never failed to pay rent, never paid late, never caused damage, never generated a complaint from another tenant, etc.
 

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Most landlords / managers have a very good sense of what kind of person they are dealing with. You could present them with what is feasible for you (eg bank accounts, etc) and get approved. They tend to gather a lot of information that they may never check. A lot of the deal is psychological assessment.
 

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My last and current tenant were similar. They had a very low income and were being supported by their parents (student and new grad). I could tell by how they answer my questions the type of person they were. I called the parents to see if they would co-sign (one did one did not). The one that did not, showed me six months of bank statements with cash flow. That was good enough for me
 

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How about letters of reference from previous landlords.

you could also ask your bank for a “statement of account” or a reference letter. We had A standard form that would detail how long you were a client, that your accounts were operated as agreed, and how many NSFs you had. We were always willing to customize it based on the clients needs.
 

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As one who has been small-time landlord since I was a university student, I have almost always screened my own tenants. Usually I asked for little documentation. I am sure this will be met with disdain from the more seasoned veterans of the trenches, and those whose holdings are vast, but I have probably relied primarily on what could perhaps be characterized as the "sniff test" more than anything else. To put it at an even lower level, gut feeling plays a major role. How you like the cut of the prospective tnt's jib? It has always served me well. Never had a bad tenant. Never stiffed for rent. Never experienced any damage to premises. Never had to evict anyone. Never had anyone leave without proper notice.

By the same token, I have been a tenant here and there over the years, in different cities and countries, much of the time when I was also a landlord. Same thing. I do not recall EVER being asked to produce a single document, reference, or anything. I guess I passed the sniff test. Always the transaction was consummated by way of a friendly fireside chat. Nothing done to verify my pedigree. And those L/Ls were right. I never failed to pay rent, never paid late, never caused damage, never generated a complaint from another tenant, etc.
My own personal experience as a renter has been the same and in various countries. When you move to a new country, you have no history as a renter or any credit history in that country. Each time, the prospective landlord has asked what I did for a living and often the answer was, 'nothing, I'm retired'. Nor would I be willing to divulge to someone in that situation, how I derived my income and how much income I had. That's no one's business but my own. But it has NEVER come up. Either a prospective landlord takes my word for it that I can afford the rent they want to charge or they don't. I've never been refused a rental if I said I was willing to rent it. Basically, it comes down to whether they 'like the cut of your jib' or not really or as you also call it, the 'sniff test'.

I think if someone started asking me to prove I could afford the rental, I would be offended and then I would decide I did not want to do business with that person. Landlords are as subject to being interviewed as to their suitability as the prospective renter is. The more I think about it, the more offensive it seems to me. The thought that someone would question my ability to pay really has never entered my mind.

I also find the comments re credit report interesting. The assumption is that one is available to check on. That assumption is based on the small world bubble of the person assuming it. A few years ago, I was talking to our local bank branch manager about moving some money to a GIC ladder with them. I guess as part of her standard information gathering, she ran a credit check on my name. It came back, 'no credit rating'.

The only 'payment history' we have in Canada after 14 years of living here is our credit card history and that is all in my wife's name. So for all intents and purposes, I have no credit history at all. The bank manager obviously found that difficult to believe. Small bubble syndrome.
 

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It is not exactly wise to not have a credit history. Unless you like your access to the financial services industry to be limited. Optionality is worth something.
 
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