How to Obtain an Apartment Despite Having a Bad Credit Score

Perhaps when you have a bad credit score, you’ll have to do more than most people to get a rental apartment. However, you can make yourself a good candidate for a lease by taking a few steps.

Before we go through these processes, you need to know what credit scores landlords are searching for and why.

What is the credit score you need to get an apartment?

As with creditors and banks, look at their credit score to assess the likelihood of you being able to pay your bills in time.

A prospective landlord will utilize the credit score to determine the risk you are—the more impressive your score, the lower the risk profile of your tenant, and vice versa.

A FICO score in the range of 620 can count as to be fair credit and is usually the first step for landlords.

Landlords and property managers are permitted to check your credit and can refuse your application based on the score.

In most cases, however, your credit score is only an indication of your credit score. What’s more important is the information in your credit report and the way you came up with the credit score you’ve earned.

Are you able to rent an apartment with bad credit?

The simple answer is that you can get an apartment even with bad credit. But, you must be careful about how you obtain the rental. Here’s how to present yourself as the best candidate and secure your apartment regardless of your credit.

1. You can pay more upfront

Many property owners and landlords require a security deposit and monthly rent in advance to be able to rent the property.

If you wish to impress your prospective landlord, make sure you pay at least two months’ rent in advance or provide a more extensive security deposit.

This will provide your landlord with peace of mind and prove your commitment to rebuilding your creditworthiness.

In advance, automatic payments will also allow you to be in front of your rental timeline. Even if you have to make an additional payment to make a deposit, depositing in advance and making your payments in line over any guarantees can help build faith with landlords. In certain situations, it could be set up to serve as a buffer if there are financial issues shortly.

2. Find a cosigner

It isn’t easy to convince an acquaintance or family member to cosign your lease; however, it could help secure an apartment.

If you know someone willing to sign, be sure they’ve got good credit and a credit record of making timely rental or mortgage payments.

Make sure that the co-signer is aware of what they are signing up for; if you fall behind on the rental agreement, the two of you will be held accountable.

Since cosigning can be risky for the co-signer. Make sure you can be financially able to sign the rental agreement before you make any moves. Failure to keep a promise after enlisting the help of cosigners could damage your credit and your relationship with them.

3. Bring documents and references

The credit is only one aspect of the whole that composes your profile. If you have a low credit score, be sure to include your application documents that reveal the whole story and prove that you’re a reliable applicant who can pay monthly rent. The following is what you need to include:

  • Evidence of a creditable rental background. Bring copies of any payments you made to your previous rental in the event of a dispute. The previous landlord might be unable to report your rent in your three major credit bureaus. The bank statements on your bank account or savings account prove that you’ve made your payments.
  • Reference letters. Request letters of reference from former landlords and property management companies, roommates, or employers. Acquaintances. Check that your reference letters come from reliable sources Letters from a relative or friend who has never worked alongside you and receiving payment from you will not help your case.
  • Paystubs are evidence of employment. The future landlord is likely to require proof of work. Make sure to show pay stubs for more than one or two weeks to prove that you have a stable income.
  • Payments for utility bills. Evidence that you’ve made your utility payments punctually each month shows that you’re reliable, trustworthy, and constant.

Bring documents to the interview with your potential landlord; you will be able to fill in the gaps on your credit report or even balance your credit if it doesn’t accurately reflect your credit history.

4. Find apartments that don’t need a credit check

The majority of established property owners need a credit test before renting to you. Some individual landlords do not need a credit check. These are typically not as desirable, but they could demonstrate that you’re able to pay rent while you’re also building up your credit.

For a home that does not need a credit assessment, start by looking for apartments through Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or the classified ads in local newspapers.

If you’re patient enough and perform thorough searches, it should be possible to locate a property that doesn’t require a credit score and doesn’t have to be part of the process to determine eligibility.

5. Take into consideration a roommate

If you’re looking to lease an apartment with a bad credit score or poor credit score, a landlord could be more inclined to consider your application if you split the rent with roommates or a few. Make sure that a landlord checks the roommate’s credit report before approving the rental application.

Another alternative is to live with someone already living within an apartment or a property available for rental. You may need to go through a credit test.

However, your monthly expenses will be lower, and your roommate will be responsible for the property. The only thing you have to do is pay them, and they will pay the landlord.

As with a cosigner, this arrangement is built upon the assumption that you’ll be able to make all payments punctually. Before you sign an agreement to sublet, you should review your lease agreement to confirm that it’s permissible.

6. Adjust Your Expectations

The apartment you’d like to live in and the one you are eligible for could be different. The one you qualify for might not come with an exercise room, pool or cable included. It might even be located situated on the less desirable side of town or need a longer commute.

If you adjust your expectations and refer to this as a “rebuilding” experience by changing your expectations, you’ll allow yourself the time to build your credit.

In addition, paying less for a smaller area or having fewer amenities will allow you to keep that money in your wallet.

What are the things that landlords will look for on the Credit Report?

Although you’re doing everything you can to convince prospective landlords that you’re an appropriate candidate, however, you should be aware of the information they’re checking in the credit report.

Even if you’ve tried the above strategies and obtained an apartment for rent, It’s crucial to figure out methods to help make the next rental experience more enjoyable while improving your credit.

Understanding what a landlord might be seeking in the credit report and what they are looking for is a crucial first step.

  • History of payments: Creditors will report you’re positive payment history each month. The landlord will be able to look through the details of your credit reports to monitor your habits with payments and decide whether they can expect your rent payments are in total each month.
  • Rental history: If your previous landlords reported your information regarding payments to credit bureaus, your landlord would be able to look over your rental history in its entirety. They’ll also determine whether you’re in arrears with dues, evictions, or unpaid rent to a previous landlord. These are all red flags that you’ll want to pay them immediately.
  • Indebtedness: A high number of credit loans, cards, medical bills, and tax bills that are not paid are warning signs for property managers and landlords. Too many loans put your capacity to pay rent every month at risk.
  • Status of bankruptcy: Bankruptcies may remain visible on the credit reports for as long as ten years. The landlords will often look over bankruptcy cases to determine if previous landlords incurred canceled loans. If your bankruptcy has been dismissed, you’re less risky to landlords than to those experiencing bankruptcy.

Your rental history, payment history, bankruptcy, and debt condition are vital aspects of your profile.

Rental companies and landlords will consider all of these aspects to determine if a tenant-landlord relationship is appropriate.

Therefore, before you request, you must take the appropriate steps to enhance your credit and increase your chances of being approved. Here’s how you can do it.

How to Improve your Credit before obtaining an apartment

Consider increasing your credit if you’re trying to lease an apartment but have a few months remaining. If you want to rent an apartment, here are the steps you must follow months before requesting.

Make sure you pay all your due bills on time. Your credit will improve if you make all of your payments on time each month. Landlords and creditors want to see regular payments over a long period.

Make sure you pay off your credit card debt. Do you have an old loan from a student loan? If you can pay it off before buying an apartment, do so. Paying rent down debt could increase your credit.

Use Experian’s free credit report to see red flags before requesting for an apartment and gradually improve your credit.