Can You Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit?

If you’re wondering “Can you rent an apartment with bad credit?”—the answer is yes, with some planning and persistence.

Applying for apartments when you’ve got bad credit can be daunting, but it’s possible to get approved for an apartment despite your low credit score or negative credit history.

Be ready to look for private landlords, provide proof of income, supply references, and offer more money upfront.

Can You Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit in 2024?

Can You Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit

Yes, you can get an apartment with bad credit. Some landlords will show flexibility over bad credit; others are more concerned with your rental payment history and income than your overall credit history.

Before you fill out a rental application, ask for the acceptance criteria the apartment manager or landlord uses. This information will help you decide whether it’s worth the time and money to go ahead with a rental application.

What Credit Score Do Landlords Look For?

Generally, landlords using credit scoring in their tenant screening process look for a credit score of 670 or above although many will approve applications with a credit score of 625 or higher.

If your credit score is lower than 625 you may be approved if you can pay a higher security deposit or provide a co-signer or guarantor for your lease.

Rental Credit Checks

When a landlord checks your credit, your credit score is only one factor used to evaluate your application.

Payment history: Landlords want to know if you pay your bills and make credit repayments by the due date.

Rental history and evictions: Landlords ideally want to rent to tenants who pay their rent on time and don’t have a history of evictions.

Debt levels: A high level of debt relative to your income could impact your ability to afford the rent.

In addition to the credit check, landlords will ask for proof of your income in the form of bank statements or pay stubs.

Finding Apartments That Accept Bad Credit

Finding Apartments That Accept Bad Credit

An easy way to find apartments that accept bad credit is to use a second-chance apartment finder.

With their knowledge of the local rental market, second-chance apartment finders can refer you to landlords who accept bad credit.

You may need to pay a fee to the apartment finder but many work on a commission basis, meaning the landlord pays the agent’s fee when you sign a lease.

With a good second-chance apartment finder you may also qualify for move-in specials and rebates.

Look online for second-chance apartment finders in your city or contact local real estate agents that handle rentals.

How To Get An Apartment With Bad Credit

  • Check your credit report
  • Use a co-signer
  • Get a roommate
  • Offer a higher security deposit
  • Offer automatic payments
  • Get a rental reference letter
  • Provide your rental history
  • Prove you can afford the rent
  • Rent from private landlords

Check Your Credit Reports

Before you start filling out rental applications, obtain free copies of your credit reports so you know what information landlords will see.

Federal law requires each of the 3 credit reporting bureaus to issue one free credit report per year. Get your free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action).

Check the information contained in your reports and dispute any inaccuracies to get errors removed.

Use A Co-Signer

A co-signer is responsible for paying your rent if you fail to make your payments on time. Your co-signer can be a family member or friend but they must have good credit and sufficient income.

Companies that provide a co-signing service are another option you can look at. These companies typically charge a fee equal to one month’s rent to act as a cosigner for a lease.

Get A Roommate

Renting with a roommate who has good credit may allow you to qualify for apartments that would otherwise reject you.

Because a roommate is jointly responsible for the rent, landlords will feel more confident about getting paid on time.

Offer A Higher Security Deposit

If you can afford to, lower the landlord’s risk by offering a higher security deposit. You could also offer to pay 2 or 3 months rent in advance.

Offer Automatic Payments

Automatic payments let your landlord take the rent due directly from your bank account each month when you get paid.

Get A Rental Recommendation Letter

When a landlord runs your credit report they only see a record of your past rent payments if your previous landlords reported that information to the credit bureaus – many don’t.

If your credit report doesn’t include your rent payment history, then you should obtain your payment history from your previous landlord to prove you paid your rent on time.

Ask your previous landlord for a letter of recommendation confirming your history of paying your rent on time and vouching that you’re a responsible tenant.

If your credit problems were caused by an unexpected situation like medical bills, divorce, or unemployment, include a brief letter explaining the situation and the steps you’ve taken to rebuild your financial stability.

Provide Your Rental Payment History

If your previous landlord won’t assist you, provide your own proof you paid your rent on time. Proof of payments can include bank statements covering the lease period, rent receipts, or a statement of payments issued by your previous landlord.

It’s also helpful to provide proof that you paid your utility bills in full.

Prove You Can Afford The Rent

Information about your income isn’t shown on your credit report. If you can show that your monthly income is 3 or 4 times the monthly rent payment, landlords may approve your application even though your credit score and credit history are below their acceptance standard.

Proof of income can include:

  • A letter from your employer
  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • W2s and 1099s
  • Social Security statements
  • Unemployment benefits statement

Rent From Private Landlords

Private landlords are independent property owners rather than corporate property managers. Independent landlords can show more flexibility over bad credit as long as the other aspects of your application are satisfactory.

While some small apartment buildings are owned by private landlords, you’re more likely to find houses and condos for rent by the owner.

  • On rental listing sites use the filter menu to specify “for rent by owner”.
  • Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are both good places to find private landlords.

Private landlords will still want to see proof of your income and having a letter of recommendation from a previous landlord will be a big help.

Can You Get An Apartment With Bad Credit? Next Steps

Apartment With Bad Credit

Now you know that the answer to “Can I get an apartment with bad credit?” is yes, we hope you feel more confident about your search for a new apartment.

Remember to be selective when you apply for apartments. While most large apartment complexes will deny renters with bad credit, many independent landlords will approve tenants with bad credit and some private landlords won’t check your credit at all.

Always ask about the tenant approval criteria before you pay an application fee. If the landlord wants to check your credit, ask if there’s any room for flexibility if you pay more money upfront or provide a co-signer for the lease.

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