How To Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit: Includes Top 8 Tips

If you are in a city where credit checks are part of the rental process, you may have trouble renting an apartment with bad credit. However, you can rent an apartment with bad credit if you show proof of a stable and well-paying job, find a co-signer, or put down a more significant deposit upfront.

Sometimes, you will need to wait before moving to improve your credit score. While it is not impossible to rent an apartment with bad credit, it will need extra effort. You can’t rent an apartment in most cities if your credit score is below 600. This article takes you through the top tips to help you rent an apartment with bad credit. Applying these tips means you have a higher chance of getting approved. Keep reading!

Top Eight Tips For Renting An Apartment With Bad Credit

Tips For Renting An Apartment With Bad Credit

1. Check Your Credit Score

If you suspect a low credit score, check your credit report first. There are three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, where you can order a free copy of your credit report. It is advisable to look at all three to ensure they don’t error. If there’s an error, take the necessary steps t have them fixed. After you get your credit report, you can prepare to explain them to your landlord. You will improve your chances of getting an apartment t rent if you prove that you are taking steps to improve your credit score.

Some landlords will look at your credit score and check your history concerning any outstanding obligations to landlords and utility companies. You can start cleaning up your credit report by paying off debts and requesting written proof of payment before submitting your rental application.

2. Look For Apartments That Don’t Require Credit Checks

Most property managers and leasing companies will require credit checks, but some landlords do not. If you are renting from an individual, you can rent with poor credit since most times; they won’t care about your credit score as long as you’ve proved you are financially capable and trustworthy. If your landlord doesn’t ask for the credit check, you will need to stay cautious to ensure it’s not rental fraud. Before you sign the lease agreement without a credit check, verify all the details and ask for everything in writing.

3. Provide A Reference Letter To Your Landlord

A bad credit report doesn’t always reflect your credibility and trustworthiness; sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation such as a job loss or health problem leading to a poor credit score. To prove to your prospective landlord that you are financially responsible, provide reference letters from your previous landlord or any entity that you’ve had a financial relationship with. You can also ask your boss or colleague to submit a letter of recommendation to prove that you are dependable. Showing up prepared to prove your worth goes a great way to impress your landlord and show that you’re serious about the rental application.

4. Offer To Pay More Upfront For Security Deposit

Bad credit isn’t always a guarantee that your application will be denied. You should offer and be prepared to pay more upfront for a security deposit or a few months in rent to ease the landlord’s worry. If you are in a position to, you can pay the entire term of the lease upfront, and that way, they’ll take you in without considering your bad credit.

5. Get A Roommate Or Co-signer 

Sometimes, you might need a little help from someone else to get an apartment with bad credit. Find a roommate and include their name on the lease if they have a better rental and credit history than you. Having a roommate means one more person is paying rent every month, and the burden is lesser on both of you. 

If you can’t find a roommate, get a co-signer to help you use their credit score to balance out yours. Your co-signer will become responsible for rent payments in case you default. Always be upfront with your co-signer about how much your rent is and how you plan to stay on top of the bills. Ensure your co-signer is someone you trust because you will need to share your financial details with them.

6. Show Proof Of A Steady Income And Set Up Automatic Payments

If you cannot afford to pay a considerable sum upfront, sign up for automatic rent payment through your bank account or an online payment system. This way, your landlord is guaranteed to receive their money without fail. You can show proof of a steady income or well-maintained savings account to ensure that you’ll always have cash in your account every time an automatic payment is withdrawn. Having proof of a savings account and steady income will take the focus away from your bad credit and increase the chances of getting approved.

7. Adjust Your Expectations And Be Ready To Compromise

The apartment you qualify for may not match your needs and desire at the moment. Maybe you want an apartment with a fitness center, pool, and ready internet, but the one you qualify for doesn’t have these amenities. Sometimes you may be eligible for an apartment that will require a longer commute or one that’s on the side of town you don’t like.

Take what you can qualify for as you work towards rebuilding your credit; you can also go for a smaller and more affordable space and save extra cash.

8. Consider Waiting Until You’ve Raised Your Credit Score

If none of the above options seem to work for you, you can wait until you improve your credit score to rent your dream apartment. There are several ways to raise your credit score, including paying down debts and keeping your credit card balances low. Take some time to work on your credit score before you start apartment hunting once more. 

What Do Landlords Look For In A Credit Report?

What Do Landlords Look For In A Credit Report

To prove to potential landlords that you are a worthy applicant, you need to know what they are looking for on your credit report. Understanding why they are looking at the credit report is essential in ensuring a smooth experience.

1. Bankruptcy status: bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 5-10 years. Landlords will check these reports to see if you have canceled previous landlords’ debts. If you are going through bankruptcy, you will have a hard time being approved, but your landlord won’t hesitate to rent the apartment to you if the bankruptcy is discharged.

2. Payment history: Your credit history shows typically your payment history every month. Your landlord might look at the payment history on the credit report to determine whether they can expect your rent payment on time.

3. Debts: too many obligations make the landlord doubt your ability to afford monthly payments. Your landlord will check your debt history for any warning signs before allowing you to rent their apartments.

4. Rental history: your landlord can see if you have any defaulted rent payments or evictions. They can also review your entire rental history for any red flags.

How Can I Improve My Credit Score To Get An Apartment?

If you have time before renting an apartment, you can focus on improving your credit score before applying. Below are some tips to help you improve your credit score before you apply for an apartment.

1. Pay Down Your Debts

Paying down your debts can improve your credit score significantly. In the months leading up to your rental application, work on reducing your credit card debt, student loans, and other debts reflecting on your credit report. From the free credit reports, you can tell which debts you need to settle urgently and which ones can wait a while

2. Pay Your Bills On Time To Improve Payment History Reports

Most landlords look at the payment history to determine if you will be reliable in paying your rent and utility bills on time. Paying your bills on time every month will improve your score and give you strong credit history. Your landlord wants to be sure that you can make consistent payments over your lease period.

Final Word 

Finding your dream apartment to rent can be hard when you have bad credit, especially if a credit check is part of the renting process. Property managers and landlords love to be sure that their tenants can meet their obligations on time every month. Whereas a bad credit score doesn’t truly reflect your financial situation, your landlord will believe what they see. Always be ready to negotiate or explain the bad credit even before they ask. That way, you will look more credible and trustworthy. You can also find an apartment that doesn’t check your credit score or find a roommate. Finding a reliable roommate can be an uphill task, but it will help you get an apartment faster and cut costs as you work on improving your credit score. We hope you will find a tip that works for you and convince your application to get approved.

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