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How to rent an apartment with a low credit score

Finding an apartment to rent with a low credit score can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. In addition to looking apartments without credit check, you can take steps to increase your chances of having your rental application accepted when applying for an apartment rental with weak or bad credit. What do you need to know about your credit score for an apartment application?

Why do landlords and property managers perform credit checks?

Property managers perform credit checks on potential tenants to ensure tenants can meet the financial commitment of renting the apartment. Credit checks tell property managers about a tenant’s financial history. If applicants have met their financial obligations and maintained a good credit rating, they will likely pay their rent in full and on time. Negative scores on your credit or a low credit rating could affect the property manager’s decision to accept your rental application.

What is a credit score?


A credit score is a three-digit number that reflects your credit and loan history. These scores generally range from 300 to 850. A low credit score indicates that you have a poor credit and loan history, while a high credit score indicates that you have been financially responsible.

What credit score do I need to rent an apartment?

Ideally, property managers want tenants with credit scores of at least 600. However, some property managers will be more flexible and accept tenants with much lower credit scores. Luxury apartments and apartments in popular cities often ask applicants with higher credit scores. You can ask your potential property manager if there is a minimum credit score that the property management company will accept.

Tips for applying for an apartment with a low credit score

Apartments without a credit check aren’t your only option if you have a low credit score. Check out some tips for applying for a rental when you have a low credit score for an apartment:

1. Be transparent on your credit score

Transparency is key if you’re trying to find apartments to rent with bad credit. Applying for a rental can be stressful. You don’t want to blend in with the pack or stand out because of your low credit score. You can submit a hiring resume and cover letter as part of your application. A rental resume and a cover letter explaining who you are, your rental history, your income and why you are looking for a new apartment. These documents are great places to detail anything that may be questionable about your credit score from a property manager’s perspective.

It’s also a good idea to have an honest conversation with a potential property manager during an interview or apartment viewing. Give the property manager the context of your current credit situation and help the person understand you more personally. Are you in debt from a student loan? Have you been unexpectedly laid off and forced to use credit for purchases? Explain what led to your low credit score and insure the property manager you work towards improve your credit score.

2. Show proof of financial responsibility

The best way to show a potential property manager that you can make rent is to provide proof. Be prepared to submit pay stubs, bank statements, or tax documents to prove your income. Most rentals require tenants to have a gross monthly salary of at least three times more than the price of the rent. You can also show proof of on-time full lease payments and your savings. Do not share any tax documents or personal banking information unless the list is verified to avoid compromising your personal information.

3. Consider a co-signer

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A property manager may be more likely to choose you if you have a co-signer. If you have a friend, relative, or relative with good credit who will vouch for and co-sign your lease, share this information with the property manager. Many younger tenants who don’t have a rental history use co-signers, so they should already be familiar with the process. Having a co-signer means that this person is ultimately held responsible for any missed payments, damages or unforeseen events related to your apartment. A co-signer reassures the property manager that the property management company will not be shelled out for rent.

4. Become a roommate

If bad credit prevents you from buying an apartment on your own, consider renting with a roommate. If you have a friend or acquaintance who is currently a tenant and is looking for a roommate, that person may be able to add you to the lease as a roommate. In this case, the person you choose can be the main tenant and you can be the sub-tenant. You may still need to provide your credit score, but the property manager may not value yours as much since your roommate is the legal tenant.

5. Offer more money up front

You can also offer to pay a higher amount security deposit, the second month’s rent and the rent you must pay when signing the lease. Offering more money up front shows the property manager that you’re serious about that apartment and, despite your low credit score, you can afford the monthly payments. Discuss the extra funds you are willing to pay with the property manager in advance to combat possible rejection when applying for apartments to rent with bad credit.

6. To understand positive references in your application

Reference letters can go a long way if you have a rental history. Positive testimonials from former property managers will help potential property managers understand that you can pay rent on time, be a good tenant, and keep the apartment in good shape. If you have no rental history when choose your rental referenceselect someone who can speak positively about you, such as an employer.

seven. Establish credit

Believe it or not, having no credit score at all (no credit cards, car payments, etc.) can also negatively affect your chances of renting an apartment. Landlords like to see a credit history to better understand how you handle regular payments. Having a credit card that you pay off at the end Believe it or not, not having a credit score can also negatively affect your chances of renting an apartment. Property managers like to see a credit history to better understand how you handle regular payments. Having a credit card that you pay off at the end of each month can help build your credit score. This activity shows the property manager that you can handle financial responsibility and make payments on time and in full. Getting accepted for an apartment with no credit can be as tricky as getting apartments with bad credit.

Tips to improve your credit score

These strategies can help you improve your credit score to make it easier to secure rentals:

  • Repay any outstanding debt when possible
  • Make minimum payments on your credit cards monthly and on time
  • Enable automatic payments so you don’t have to remember to make payments on time
  • Limit expenses as much as possible
  • Increase your credit limit
  • Ask your property manager and utility company to report your payments to major credit bureaus
  • Consolidate any debt into a low interest financing option through a credit union
  • Do not open a new card without reducing the balance of your current credit cards
  • Correct any inaccuracies on your credit report

Renting with a low credit score can be overwhelming. While apartments without a credit check are an option, you can take steps to show any potential property manager that you have financial responsibility to be a valued tenant.

FAQ: Renting with a low credit score

What determines my credit score?

Five factors determine your credit score:

1. If you’ve made scheduled loan or credit card payments in full and on time
2. How much you currently owe on credit cards and loans
3. The average age of your credits
4. If you recently applied for a new credit or loan
5. Whether you have a combination of revolving credit and installment credit

How can I find out my credit score?

You can find your credit score by requesting a credit report from Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. request a free credit report every 12 months. Your credit report can tell you if your score is low enough to worry property managers and alert you to any errors that you can challenge to raise your score.

What are apartments without credit check?

Apartments without credit checks are rentals that approve applicants without a credit check. These types of rentals are generally for basic apartment buildings. Private property managers who want to fill their apartments immediately usually list them. Apartments without a credit check may be riskier to rent and may sometimes have a history of common rental scams. If you’re looking for apartments without a credit check, check the listing through an in-person visit, virtual tour, or verified photos.

These are just a few ways to avoid renting an apartment without a credit check, even with a low credit score. Once you are ready to start looking for a new apartmentkeep these tips in mind and you’ll be well on your way to having a new home.

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