Tips to Overcome Bad Credit When Renting an Apartment


Photo courtesy of myhabitat.com

Photo courtesy of myhabitat.com

If there is one thing I know without uncertainty, it’s that we’re not all perfect. Want proof? Just take a look at your credit score. For those with good or excellent credit, life seems a bit easier. A good credit scores makes it easier to buy a car, purchase a home, or qualify for another type of loan.

But what if you’re one of the millions of Americans with little, no, or bad credit? Perhaps you were laid off from work and missed a few credit card payments or maybe your house was foreclosed on during the housing crisis. Whatever the case, your low score has made it difficult to get ahead. Even worse, it could be making it nearly impossible to rent an apartment. So what is one with bad credit to do when they need to find a place to rent? A recent article in the Huffington Post aimed to answer that question.

Here are a few of their tips to landing that apartment despite your current credit issues:

Be honest – Be honest with the potential landlord and open about past credit problems. Explain “how the situation arose and what steps you have taken to avoid similar problems in the future.” It’s also a good idea to check your credit report for errors and to resolve them as quickly as possible. If the issue has not yet been resolved, show the landlord that the problem is “being tactfully and skillfully addressed.”

Go mom and pop – Consider renting from individual owners who may be more “interested in the character of the applicant and what sort of lifestyle they lead” as opposed to his or her credit score.

Offer a higher security deposit – To alleviate a landlord’s fears about default, show him or her the ability to pay more up front – such as several months of rent – rather than just the typical first and last month’s rent.

Provide proof of solid income – Bring copies of pay stubs, last year’s tax returns, and any proof of additional income to show a potential landlord that you are organized and “serious about taking care of business.”

Have recommendations – Provide a potential landlord with letters of reference from employers, co-workers, colleagues, and prior landlords and roommates if possible.

Consider a cosigner – Discuss the option of a cosigner, such as a friend or relative with good credit and a solid income, with the landlord. By signing, this person agrees to take over your payments in the case of default which ensures the landlord doesn’t get burned.

Room with a friend – Consider moving in with a friend who already has an established place to live. Be sure to check with the friend’s landlord, however, before doing so. Most landlords require that all tenants be listed on the lease and undergo the same screening process before moving in.