Low credit scores can happen to the best of us, whether you are an immigrant who just moved to the country or got into some credit debt when you were young. Having bad credit, unfortunately, may make getting the keys to an apartment pretty difficult. Especially if the city you live in is a city where credit scores are a big deal in rental decisions. However, it’s not all bad. You can still rent an apartment, but it will involve some work on your part
How to rent an apartment with bad credit
1. Check your credit score
Before you start trying to rent an apartment, it’s important to know what you bring to the table so potential landlords don’t continue to deny your credit application due to your credit score. Check your score for free on Credit Karma, Credit.com, Credit Sesame, and other credit checking platforms.
2. Look for apartments where credit checks aren’t required
Although the options you get are not a lot when you go through this route, you may likely find some listing on sites like Craiglist, which typically state whether a credit check is required or not. You want to ensure everything is in order with places that don’t run credit checks, and that there is an actual lease which you’ll sign and makes sense for all parties.
3. Be prepared to pay more upfront
Just because your credit is bad doesn’t mean your application will be denied all the time. In some cases, you will need to stump up more money as a form of security deposit or to cover for a few months ahead of time and keep the landlord’s mind at ease.
4. Get yourself a co-signer
In some cities, a co-signer for apartments is required if your income is not up to a certain monthly rent charge. But if this is not required in your apartment, getting a co-signer can still solve some problems along the way.
A co-signer will sign a legal document that states that if you miss a payment, they will be held liable to make those payments in your place. This means your co-signer will not just be anybody but someone you trust, and who trusts you, since any mistake you make with your rent could negatively impact their credit score.
5. Prove your worth
The best way to impress upon your landlords that you are serious with your rental application is to show up prepared, even if you don’t have credit to back it up. Present some recent financial documents to prove your income for the past few months, especially if your salary is good, and you can tuck in some letters of recommendation as well. If you are able to get letters of recommendation from the previous landlord, this could be very helpful.
6. Sign a lease with someone else
You will require some trust here as well, but if you be okay with getting an apartment with a roommate. Your application could be run with your roommate credit’s score, then rent payments can be made directly to that person. Although, this won’t work all the time though, as some landlords will ask all the occupants to be on the lease.
7. Offer some concessions
If the apartment has spent a great deal of time on the market and the landlord is looking to rent out as soon as possible, you might be able to negotiate within the lease, which makes you more desirable as an applicant, even though your credit is not in shape. For example, you could choose to set up automatic payments so the rents come in without the landlord having to chase down for it.
8. Boast about your savings account
If you can prove that with regards to your personal finance you have been responsible, this might help. Even if you haven’t managed to hold down a great credit score just yet. For example, if there is enough money saved up in a rainy-day fund enough to cover up to some month’s worth of rent, you can bring those statements along just to prove then you can pay if the situation presents.