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How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit

How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit

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If you have bad credit, getting an apartment can be a challenge but it isn’t impossible. You can still get a nice rental; you just have to put in more effort than the average applicant to position yourself as a strong candidate.

If you’re wondering how to get an apartment with bad credit, this guide will help you tip the scales in your favor and secure an apartment.

Attach Documents and References With Your Application

Your credit score is just one part of your profile. It doesn’t define your ability to make rental payments. If your credit score is low, consider attaching documents and references with your application to demonstrate that you’re a credible applicant that can pay rent on time.

Here are some suggestions on what you can include with your application:

  1. Proof of a solid tenant history. Bring copies of payments you’ve made towards your last rental. If you’ve remitted payments on time, it can serve as tangible proof of your reliability, which can counteract your poor credit history.
  2. Letters of recommendation. Request reference letters from your previous landlords, property managers, and roommates to confirm your rental history and demonstrate your dependability.
  3. Pay stubs. Share your pay slips with your landlord as proof that you have a steady source of income. This will show your capacity to pay rent on time, adding to your credibility.
  4. Cell phone and utility payments. Paying your bills on time shows that you’re responsible and that you honor your financial obligations.

These documents can offset a poor credit report and can show that you’re taking active steps to improve your score. It can help convince the landlord that you’ll be a responsible tenant, increasing your chance of securing an apartment.

Bad Credit? Be Honest About It

get an apartment with bad credit

Trustworthy tenants are honest about their shortcomings and don’t try to hide them. If you have bad credit, it’s a good idea to run a credit report for yourself before you start apartment hunting so you know where you stand and how to position your tenant application.

If you notice issues that may have influenced your poor rating such as getting laid off, you can show your landlord that it’s no longer a problem by showing pay stubs from your new job. Your landlord may then understand what kept you from paying your rent on time and it may convince them to accommodate you.

At the end of the day, your landlord doesn’t really care about your credit score, they just want to ensure they’ll get paid on time.

So, consider what makes you less of a risk and use that information to tip the scales in your favor. You could also attach a letter explaining your credit with your application. Your willingness to discuss your financial standing will demonstrate your honesty which bodes well for you.

Find a Roommate

Not all landlords will accommodate tenants with bad credit, but most of them will accept your application if you share your apartment with someone who has a good credit report or a better rental history than you. Sharing an apartment with a reliable roommate will also help you split costs, so the financial burden will be significantly smaller and more manageable.

Make sure your lease agreement allows subletting though, or you might find yourself on the hunt for a new place in no time.

Get a Cosigner

If you have a friend or family member with good credit and a solid rental/mortgage history, see if they can cosign your lease. This will allow you to use someone else’s credit to balance your poor credit score. Make sure to familiarize them with the status of your credit report and the terms of your lease agreement because they will have to pick up the slack if you miss a payment.

This is why it’s advised to only sign a lease if you can financially commit to the rental agreement and can pay your rent on time. Failure to meet monthly payments will damage your and your cosigner’s credit scores as well as your relationship with them.

Look for Rentals That Don’t Require a Credit Check

Credit checks aren’t a requirement, they’re merely safety precautions for landlords. So, it’s possible to find landlords who will rent their property to you without a credit check though your options will likely be limited. Such properties will probably be less desirable or they’ll require you to pay more upfront. You should thus be flexible and remain open to making allowances.

Offer To Pay More Upfront

get an apartment with bad credit

Typically, you’ll be expected to pay a security deposit and the first month’s rent as you begin your lease. However, if you want to make a good impression, consider placing a larger security deposit or paying for multiple months’ rent. Paying more money upfront goes a long way in rectifying the damage of a bad credit score.

Doing so will give your property manager peace of mind and will put you ahead of your rental schedule. If you’re facing financial issues, this tip can lessen the financial pressure on you since you have your extra payments as a buffer. You’re also less likely to fall behind on rent, helping you keep your rental history clean and blemish-free.

Offer To Set up Automatic Payments

Are financial problems making it hard for you to pay more upfront? Offer to set up automatic payments. This will allow your landlord to deduct payments from your bank account via direct deposit or an automated clearinghouse (ACH), so they won’t have the undesirable task of running after you for rent.

You’ll have to provide proof that you have a steady income and money in the bank to show you can pay rent. So, attach copies of your pay slips and statements of account with your application to demonstrate this. These documents will assure your landlord that you can keep up with payments and help you secure an apartment even with bad credit. 

Wrapping Up

Despite poor credit, there are many ways to prove that you can still be a reliable tenant. Put these tips to good use and your odds of securing that apartment you’ve been eyeing increase.

However, if you have a few months to spare before you need to move into a new place, work on improving your credit score. This will make securing an apartment even easier and provide you with more leasable options.

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