Your credit score can play an important role in your ability to rent an apartment. Some landlords may reject your apartment rental application if you have a bad credit history, even if you have an impeccable rental history and a large salary. Others can check to see if you have a reprimand or other rent-related defect on your credit history.
If you're worried that a poor credit history will prevent you from finding a home, you can take one or more of the following steps to increase your chances of getting the home you want.
Know what's on your credit history
Check your credit report before you start looking for an apartment so you know what's on your credit score. three major credit bureaus have created credit reports for you, and you should check all three because the landlord can access any of them.
If you find inaccurate information, it's time to use the credit report dispute process to correct the errors. The less negative information in your credit history, the more likely you are to get approved to buy an apartment.
Look for property owners who don't check credit history
The best way to get an apartment if you have bad credit is to find a landlord who doesn't check your credit. Apartment complexes owned by large property management companies usually require a credit check on all applications. Such managers are more likely to turn you down if you have bad credit.
Instead, look to properties owned by individual landlords who often don't do credit checks or may be more willing to take the risk of a tenant who doesn't have the best credit history but has a good rental history and a solid income.
There are several ways to find rental properties owned by a private individual.
In the housing section of Craigslist, owners post listings for rental housing (apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and houses). Years ago, very few apartment complex managers advertised for rent on Craigslist, and it was easier to find individual landlords. Now you will find all types of rentals. Landlords still post ads here, but you'll have to sift through a lot of ads to find them.
Make sure you are looking in the right place; You can change the capital region by clicking on the bar at the top center of the Craigslist page.
The classifieds section of your local newspaper (or the newspaper of the area you want to move to) is another place where property owners place ads for their homes. The Sunday paper usually has the most ads. Many newspapers also advertise online, so look into this option, especially if you're moving out of town.
Ask an agent
Ask a real estate agent in your area to find you an apartment to rent. Many homeowners, especially those who live outside the area, use real estate agents to rent out their property and pay the agent a commission on your rent.
Once you have contacted the property owner, ask him what criteria he uses to select tenants for rent. If a credit check is not one of them, then you will have less to worry about. However, if a credit check does take place, you have a few additional options to get approved.
Get a recommendation
Ask someone to vouch for you.
You are more likely to be denied a lease if you have unpaid overdue bills, especially to other landlords or utility companies. If you have past due bills on your credit history, pay them in full and ask the company to write a letter or print a statement that the bill is paid in full.
You can also try writing a letter explaining the situation that caused your financial problems. Divorce, medical bills, and job loss are common situations that lead to bad credit. Make sure your letter describes how you got your finances in order and why you might want to rent an apartment.
Be careful in the situations in which you use letters of recommendation. If the landlord has not checked your creditworthiness and does not know your credit history, he may be suspicious when you give him a letter describing your past financial problems. Landlords can get your permission before checking your credit history, so it won't be a surprise when they do.
Demonstrate sufficient income
Sufficient income can sometimes compensate for a negative credit history. First, you need to earn three to four times your monthly rent, not only to meet your landlord's requirements, but to be able to afford the payments. Second, you need solid proof of your income. Often, two to three months of a salary certificate confirming your stable income is enough.
Be prepared to pay more up front
Whether you manage to bypass the credit check altogether or get approved to buy an apartment despite your credit history, expect to pay more money up front. You may be required to pay a security deposit or one to three months' rent to move into your new apartment.
If you don't have the best credit history and are planning to move soon, start saving money now to help cover your higher upfront costs.
Ask a co-borrower to help you
Ask someone to sign your lease - this is the last option. Your co-borrower must meet the necessary credit requirements and therefore must have a good credit history.
Be aware that if you fall short of your payments or get evicted for any reason, the landlord can legally demand that the co-borrower pay back the rent. Therefore, it is wise to use someone else's credit sparingly and be even more careful with it than with your own.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can a landlord see during a credit check?
Your landlord can get a full credit report and see everything on it, including outstanding bills, late payments, debt collection activities, bankruptcies, and your overall credit score. The landlord will be most interested in things that can make you an unreliable or problematic tenant, such as delinquencies, criminal records, and bankruptcy.
How long do evictions stay on your file?
While evictions do not show up on your credit history, they will show up on your rental history, which the landlord will likely check during the verification process. As a rule, they remain in your history for seven years.
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