How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit: The 10 Quick Guidelines

To rent an apartment with bad credit, you will need to show greater attention than the usual application. However, just following specific steps, you can present yourself as a high rental candidate. Before we get into the details of such processes, it’s necessary to understand what credit score landlords check and the reason.

However, whether you’re a recent US immigrant with no credit. Or a younger person who got into credit card debt, bad credit scores happen. Sadly, if you live in a place where credit scores are checked when renting an apartment, having less-than-stellar credit may make it difficult to get the access to an apartment.

If you have low or poor credit between 300 and 579, renting an apartment is not something that won’t happen. It just may require a little more of your effort. Keep reading and exploring!

What Credit Score Is Required to Get an Apartment?

Landlords, like banks and creditors, assess your credit score to estimate your capacity to make timely payments of your rent. A possible landlord will use your credit score to determine your risk profile: the better the score, the lower your risk profile as a renter, and likewise.

A FICO® Score of 620 is considered fair credit and is frequently used by homeowners as a starting point. Meanwhile, property managers and landlords have the right to check your credit report and may reject your application depending on the results. Furthermore, your credit score is often only a beginning point. What may be more important is what is on your credit report and how you got at your credit score. Is 600 actually a good credit score? Find it out here.

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How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit

You can get an apartment even if you have poor or bad credit. However, you must take precautions in getting the rent. Here’s how to present yourself as the most qualified applicant and secure your apartment, not minding your credit score.

#1. Check Your Credit Score

If you believe you may have poor  or bad credit, the first step is to run a check on your credit score.

AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You should examine all three, as one or more of them may contain a mistake. If you discover mistakes in your credit history, take immediate action to correct them and be ready to explain them to your potential landlord. It will take time, and help you improve your credit score and make it easy to get your desired apartment.

#2. Pay a Higher Initial Deposit or Advance Rent

To rent or get an apartment or property, most landlords and property managers will require a security deposit and the first month’s rent in advance. Meanwhile, pay two or more months’ rent in advance or offer a higher security deposit to make a good impression. This provides peace of mind for your landlord as you show your dedication to restoring your creditworthiness.

Also, paying extra in advance puts you ahead of the rental plan. Even if an additional payment is expected upfront as a deposit, making your payments ahead of time in excess of any deposits build trust with the landlord. It can also be structured in some situations to offer some protection in the case of future financial problems.

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#3. Get a Cosigner

While asking a friend or family member to cosign your lease can be tough, it can help you get an apartment. If you have a cosigner, ensure they have solid credit and a past record of timely loan or rental payments. Finally, ensure that your cosigner understands what they are signing since if you fail on a rental agreement, you both will be held legally responsible.

Because cosigning involves risk for the cosigner, ensure that you are financially capable of entering into a rental agreement before proceeding. Failure to meet a commitment made with the assistance of a cosigner can have a negative impact on your credit. As well as on your relationship with your cosigner.

#4. Present Official Documents and References

Your credit score is only one aspect of the larger picture that is your consumer profile. If your score is low, submit supporting documentation that shows you are a credible candidate capable of paying your rent on a monthly basis. Here are the most common documents to present.

A proof history of good renting habits

Bring copies of your most recent rental payment, if applicable. It is possible that your former landlord did not disclose your payments to the credit bureaus. Bank statements can show that you have made all of your payments on time.

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Reference or recommendation letters

Reference letters from previous landlords, property management agencies, employers, housemates, or business associates are highly recommended. Verify that your reference letters come from reputable sources. A reference from a friend or family who has never worked with you or received payment from you will likely do little to help your case.

Present Pay-stubs as evidence of employment

A landlord will almost certainly need proof of work. Present pay-stubs that cover many months, not just a few weeks, to show that you have a reliable job.

Payments for your utilities

Proof that you’ve made all of your utility payments on time each month shows your reliability, dependability, and consistency.
By presenting supporting documentation to your landlord interview, you can fill gaps in your credit report and balance out your profile if your credit score does not reflect your credit record accurately.

#5. Look For an Apartment Without a Credit Check

Look in your local classifieds or on social media for apartment rentals that do not require a credit check. Furthermore, get suggestions from friends, relatives, and coworkers. If you are unable to find an apartment that does not require a credit check, consider asking landlords to skip the credit check in exchange for a thorough background check, like evidence of income, and solid recommendations from previous landlords.

However, to locate a rental that does not require a credit check, begin by searching for apartments on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace. As well as in the classified ads section of your local newspaper. If you’re patient and conduct a thorough search, you should be able to find an apartment that does not check your credit score during the selection process.

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#6. Get a Roommate With Good Credit Score

Again, this needs some trust, but if you’re comfortable with sharing an apartment with someone — and you can find someone willing to share — you could have the application run using your roommate’s credit score, and then make rent payments straight to him or her. This will not work in all cases, though, as some landlords demand that all tenants sign the lease.

Furthermore, if you’re looking to get an apartment with poor or bad credit, a landlord may be more open to your request if you share the rent with one or more roommates. Simply ensure that the landlord firstly gets your roommate’s credit record.

Another alternative is to park in with someone who already stays in an apartment or rental property. While you would still be subject to a credit check, your payments will be cheaper and your roommate may continue to be responsible for the rental. You simply make a payment to them, and they make a payment to the landlord. As with a cosigner, this arrangement will be based on the ability to make all of your payments on time. Before engaging in a renting agreement, ensure if it is permitted under your lease agreement.

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#7. Your Expectations Must Be Readjust

The apartment you desire and the one in which you qualify may be different. The one that you qualify for may not have a pool, fitness center, or built-in TV package. It may also be located in the less attractive part of town or need a lengthy drive.

By readjusting your expectations and seeing this moment as a “rebuilding” process, you will allow yourself time to rebuild your credit. Moreover, spending less for a smaller place or fewer facilities keeps the the extra dollar in your pocket.

#8. Start Rebuilding Your Credit Score

One method is to request statements from the institutions that reported late payments on your credit report saying that you have met or are already meeting your obligation. Bear in mind that a negative mark on your credit score might last up to seven years. You can compose a letter describing how you will pay your debts. As well as how you will be able to pay rent with your debts.

The more proof you can collect showing that you’ve considered and are resolving this issue, the more impressive your case will be. Once you’ve found an apartment to live in, be careful to report your rent payments, as they can positively affect your credit score. Consider knowing more about credit card refinancing and debt consolidation.

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#9. Request The Landlord to Set Up Automatic Means of Payments

Prove to your potential landlord that you will always pay your rent on time. Ask your landlord to collect rent directly from your bank account via direct deposit or using an online payment system. Ensure that you will have sufficient funds in your account each time an automatic payment is made. Prove consistent earnings and a well-maintained savings account to focus attention on your financial stability, rather than your poor or bad credit.

#10. Have a Mind-set Of a Landlord In Approaching Your Potential Landlord

Your landlord or property management is not concerned about your credit history. They check it as a reference for your ability to pay rent. Consider things from their perspective and create a cause for them to trust you with your history. Discover what would make you some less risky borrower than your credit shows.

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What Factors Do Landlords Consider When Reviewing Credit Reports?

While you do all it takes to prove to your potential landlords that you are a qualified applicant, you must also be aware of what they are checking for on your credit report. Even if you’ve followed the above methods and rented an apartment, it’s essential to find ways to improve your next encounter while also growing your credit. Understanding what a landlord is searching for on your credit report and why is important.

Here are the things landlords look for on a credit report

Payment history: Each month, creditors report on your payment history. A landlord can review your credit report to assess your payment history and if they can count upon receiving your rent payment on time each month.

Rental history: Your landlord can check your whole renting history if your previous landlords submitted your payment details to credit bureaus. Also, they can determine whether you have any existing debts, evictions, or missed rent to a previous landlord. These are red signals that you should address immediately.

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Debts: Having an excessive number of credit cards, loans, medical bills, or missed taxes is a red flag for landlords and property managers. If a poor payment or rental history raises doubts about your ability to make timely payments, collecting too many debts raises doubt on your ability to make monthly rental payments in any way.

Bankruptcy status: Bankruptcies can appear on your credit report for up to ten years. Landlords often check bankruptcies to verify whether the canceled debts came from previous landlords. On the other side, if your bankruptcy has been cleared, you are regarded as a lower risk to a landlord than someone who is currently filing for bankruptcy.
Payment history, renting history, debt, and bankruptcy status all contribute greatly to your consumer profile. Landlords and rental agencies will consider all of these aspects when determining the stability of a tenant-landlord relationship.

Therefore, before you apply, take the essential steps to improve your credit and as well improve your acceptance possibilities. Below is how you do it.

How to Improve Your Credit Score Before Getting an Apartment

If you’re renting an apartment with bad credit and have a few months available, focus on techniques to enhance your credit score. If renting an apartment is your primary objective, these are the most critical activities to take in the months preceding your application.

Pay all bills on time: Because payment history accounts for most of your credit score, paying all of your monthly payments on time will help your score improve and show a positive credit history. Creditors and landlords prefer steady payments over a longer length of time.

Pay off your debts: Do you owe money on your credit cards? How about a previous student loan? If you have time before looking for an apartment, consider debt repayment. Lowering your balance by paying off debt can help in improving your credit score.

In general, if you really want to rent an apartment with bad credit, consider requesting a free credit report. Perhaps, from Experian, so you can detect potential red flags before applying then work to improve your credit over time.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve equipped yourself with the necessary tools for getting an apartment with bad credit, it’s time to begin exploring possible communities in your area. Be certain to look for apartments that promise no credit checks. And begin gathering the documentation necessary to make a compelling claim for your tenant eligibility.

For more articles on personal finance, save money, make money, mortgage, crypto investing & other financial topics, visit the Neptunmag blog right away.


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Chiemerie Ozurumba (Adorablepen) is a freelance writer & Computer Science degree holder, a personal finance expert, blogger, public speaker, and poet. He is also a relationship & life coach. Currently a writer at BusinessYield.

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