6 Tips to Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit
Your credit score is about more than obtaining credit at reasonable rates. It can also affect your ability to do other things such as get a job and rent a place to live. Having bad credit makes it more challenging — but not impossible — to rent an apartment. Let’s review some tips on how to rent an apartment with bad credit.
Face the Reality
When your credit is less than great, it’s tempting to ignore it and wait for things to improve. But that won’t help anything. Before you start applying for apartments, review your credit reports from all three credit bureaus — you can do so for free until April 2022. Look for any errors or negative entries more than seven years old. Once you have those things resolved, you’ll have a clear idea of where you stand and how to proceed.
Add References to Your Application
Including references from a current or former landlord with your application can help ease any apprehension your current credit score may cause. Landlords are looking for proof you will pay your rent on time, in full, every month. Seeing that you have done exactly that in the past may be more important to them than your current credit score.
If you can’t get references from a landlord, ask your employer, a colleague or a former teacher to provide character references similar to a letter of recommendation.
Share Your Bank Statement
If you keep a healthy balance in your checking and/or savings account(s), show those statements to your potential new landlord. Showing them you have an adequate cushion to pay your rent every month should help put to rest any concerns about whether you’ll be a reliable tenant.
Provide Other Payment History
A solid payment history of your utility and cell phone bills or car loan can be helpful when you’re trying to rent an apartment with bad credit. And it’s not just your new landlord who wants to see them. Sharing your payment history on these bills and even for recurring expenses like streaming services can help improve your credit when you use a service like Experian Boost.
Offer to Pay More
First and last months’ rent and security deposit are the standards when renting an apartment, regardless of your credit. When you’re trying to rent an apartment with bad credit, it may be helpful to offer to pay an additional few months’ rent in advance. That will give your landlord a feeling of security while giving you time to prove yourself a reliable, problem-free tenant.
Consider a Roommate or Co-Signer
If bad credit is proving to be an obstacle to renting an apartment, you may need to consider renting with a roommate who has better credit or getting someone to co-sign the lease. A co-signer needs to know they are 100% responsible for paying rent and any other fees if you are unable to, so choose someone you already have an established, trusting relationship with.