Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Ratings

May 15, 2013

Ruth asks…

How to rent your first apartment…?

I am 26 and looking at renting my first apartment, I don’t know how it works though. My credit is not very good so does that mean I won’t be able to rent a place? Plus what is due up front normally????


Administrator answers:

I wouldn’t know how your credit rating will affect your ability to rent. A lot of apartment complexes will overlook credit ratings if you can show proof of decent income. They will also be checking into past rental history, and if you have ever been evicted. Normally what is due up front is first months rent and a deposit. And don’t expect to get most of that back. On occasion with bad credit they will ask for last months rent as well.

Robert asks…

Do HEPA air purifiers get rid of smells?

I live in an apartment here and I am getting sick of all this crap from other people’s cooking. It’s an older building and they won’t look into it.
I read HEPA is a better purifier but I don’t know if it would stop smells from coming in my front door… it is shut so don’t give me stupid stuff about shut your door, just too old of a building (renovation they are doing doesn’t help).
Smells only hit me in the living room/dining room… about 350 sq ft I need to protect from smells.
Will a HEPA do this?

Administrator answers:

Both of these previous answers are simply untrue!

For the ultimate in air filtration, a true HEPA filter (one that passes all of the air in the house through it by installing inline to your HVAC system) is the best choice. It uses the type of filtration technology required in hospitals and operating rooms. HEPA filters are the most efficient mechanical filters for removing small particles which can be breathed deep into the lungs. HEPA filters have a 99.97% efficiency for particle sizes all the way down to 0.30 microns.

The vast majority of the odor and unhealthy particles in the air are smaller than 5 microns, and these smaller ones are generally more detrimental to your health, so it’s important to remove those by using devices like a HEPA filter

When talking about odors, almost all major odors in a house are 0.30 microns and above. These contaminants include:
Pollen, mold, plant spores 7 – 70 microns
Dust mites 3 – 10 microns
Hairspray 3 – 10 microns
Large bacteria 1 – 20 microns
Auto emissions 1 – 3 microns
Lead dust 1 – 3 microns
Fungal spores 0.50 – 7 microns
Cooking smoke/odors 0.30 – 1 microns
Paint pigments 0.30 – 1 microns
Pet dander 0.15 – 8 microns
Small bacteria 0.08 – 1 microns
Tobacco smoke 0.008 – 0.6 microns

So as you can see, The HEPA filter removes almost all of the major casues of odors in a house.

As far as “Ionic Air Cleaners,” you need to know recent studies Studies by the scienti?c community and a leading consumer publication have demonstrated that these devices do a poor job of ?ltering and cleaning the air, and even worse, they can generate possibly unhealthy levels of ozone!

Independent studies have shown that ionizing air cleaners are not effective in cleaning the air and improving indoor air quality. Despite the manufacturer’s claims, all the models tested received ratings of “Poor” for removal of
dust, smoke and pollen. The ionization process (which generates ozone) is often touted as the key to removing indoor air contaminants. There is considerable scienti?c evidence that demonstrates that ozone has little potential to remove contaminants at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards. These units also lack the ability to move adequate amounts of air for thorough ?ltration.

While the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere is bene?cial and protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays, at ground level, ozone is an irritant that can cause decreased lung function and aggravate asthma. In fact, the EPA refers to ozone as “Good up high— bad nearby”.

Ozone is a toxic gas with vastly different chemical and toxicological properties from oxygen. At ground level it has another common name you may know: smog! Independent tests have con?rmed that ionizing air cleaners can produce levels of ozone 5-10 times higher than public health limits!!

Based on the available scienti?c evidence and independent reports in noted consumer publications, the ability of these devices to clean air is very low, and much less effective than other ?ltration products on the market today. Further, the potential health risks associated with the high levels or ozone generated make these products questionable at best, and possibly even detrimental to human health. The American Lung Association suggests that ozone generators should not be used.

Lizzie asks…

How do i start to get credit?

Do places check your credit score?I’m eighteen trying to get an apartment..i have no credit.

Administrator answers:

6 Steps to Building and Maintaining Credit

1) Obtain and wisely use a credit card.

To start building good credit with your credit card, you’ll need to obtain the card, use it, and make the first payment before you’ll see any effect on your credit score. You may have to sign up for a “secured card” in the beginning, which means you’ll be required to deposit money (typically around $300) into an account controlled by the credit card company or bank in order to obtain the card. This deposit “secures” any debt you place on the card. It’s a way for a creditor to take less risk when dealing with someone who has poor credit or no credit.

A secured card is just as good as any other credit card when it comes to building credit, for as with any credit card, the payment history on your secure card will be reported to the credit reporting agencies. So by making on-time payments (on-time payments are the No. 1 factor in determining a credit score) and carrying a low debt load (your debt balance-to-credit limit ratio is also a big credit score component), you will be building the history and profile that produces good credit.

Another way to build credit from scratch can include getting a low-limit retail store card or a gas card. Just be sure to pay the monthly balance in full so as to avoid the high monthly interest charges that many of these types of cards carry.

2) Review & understand your credit report.

Review your credit report once a year. The higher your credit score, the better. A score below 680 usually results in a borrower being charged a higher interest rate or denied credit. If the report includes items that are inaccurate, request the report be corrected. You can receive a free copy of your credit report at And the Federal Trade Commission has a terrific website that contains a wealth of information regarding credit reports (including how to address inaccuracies) at

3) Take a loan.

Another good way to build credit history is to pay off a small loan. Borrow from your bank or credit union to purchase a used car or a larger purchase, such as an appliance. Pay the loan on time and in full. Pay any student loans on time every month. (Remember: On-time payments are the No. 1 factor in determining a credit score.)

4) Build job history.

A stable job history is another factor that lenders will consider when giving a loan. Creditors look at job history to understand a consumer’s stability and income.

5) Protect yourself from identity theft.

Identity theft is at an all-time high, and it can destroy credit ratings. Remember that identity theft occurs both “offline,” and through the Internet. Protect yourself from unscrupulous individuals who could go through your trash, steal account numbers online or get personal information through complex “phishing” scams. Record all important financial information and account numbers in a secure place. Shred all documents that contain personal information. Never give out personal information in e-mails or in a phone call you did not initiate.

6) Create – and stick to – a budget.

A good way to maintain a healthy financial lifestyle is to create – and stick to – a household budget. Many people fall into credit score disarray by spending beyond their means, building up debts, and maxing out credit cards. In budgeting, list ongoing monthly expenses (fixed expenses like rent or mortgage payments). Add variable expenses that are “must-buys” (food, gas, medicine). Leave two categories for savings and spending cash (for unexpected expenses and entertainment). Add monthly net income (the amount left after taxes and other paycheck deductions such as health insurance and 401(k) contributions). A free budget guide is available at

Good luck as you venture forth into the world of credit, and I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.



Betty asks…

How to become a resident in North Carolina?

I will be moving back to the US from the middle east, and i just wanted to know if theres anything i need in order to be able to rent an apartment in NC. How would I file for residency? (im a US citizen)
Thank you rafferty. Also, would i need to get a license/id first before renting? :)

Administrator answers:

If you are a US citizen, you simply move wherever you want to. If you intend to make that state your permanent (or about as permanent as any American ever is, since 20% of the population moves per year!) residence, you’re a resident. Find a place to live. Get your state drivers license within 30 days. Register to vote.

Problems can arise in renting a place to live if you have lived overseas for awhile. You definitely need a job – first thing landlords check is employment references. Your credit records may be stale (or vanished, if you lived outside US for 7 years or more) unless you have maintained US bank account and credit card(s) in good standing. Plan to need at least 3 months rent in advance (first, last + deposit), and you might want to be in a position to offer to pay 6 months up front if you are without current excellent credit ratings. Also plan to need deposits for each utility + turn-on fees. And of course, you know you need a car to survive in the US, unless you live in Manhattan.

Helen asks…

My wife will be starting work in Manhattan and I work in Stamford. Where should I live ?

Can you suggest the best place to live so that we dont have to commute so much. Or in worst case I would like to commute rather than have her commute. What should be the best place ? New jersey ? Whiteplains ? Queens ? Stamford ? I am looking for a apartment in the range of $ 1600 to $ 2000 and quite open to options right now.

Administrator answers:

$1600 x 40 = $64000 and $2000 x 40 = $80000

If both salary combined is not at least $64000, you are going to have problems.
Try looking places in travel distance of the New Haven line in NY or CT.


Additional: Do you plan to have kids later on? Schools are important as well so
do not forget to consider that in your search unless you plan to move again later.


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