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Does anyone have experience with renting in a tight housing market (like the Bay Area) with a bankruptcy or charge-offs on your credit report? How badly do prospective landlords view each?

I don't have personal experience with renting in the Bay Area with bad credit, but I have experience renting, and friends with bad credit. The answer to this question is that landlords, as a rule, will view either one about as badly as you could possibly imagine. I have never gotten a rental without passing a credit check. My friends with bad credit ended up with understanding roommates (who had decent credit themselves, and signed the leases solo) in West Oakland. Apparently there are a lot fewer guns there these days, and it's often okay to keep big dogs.

There are occasional stories from people who know someone who found the rare, endangered and ferociously hunted "hippie landlord" who lives in a yurt in Humboldt County, renting out her gorgeous 2-bedroom view home at far below market rates to whoever shows the most need and/or wears the most patchouli, but I think they are apocryphal.

I would make the best financial decision you can without worrying about your housing situation, which is probably just bad no matter what, then stay put if you can, and move in with roommates in West Oakland or wherever if you can't (it's a good beginning place in the quest for the hippie landlord.) There's some hope with all the blackouts that the housing market will loosen. There's also the option of moving somewhere else. Best of luck to you.

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