Having bad credit will not necessarily preclude you from finding apartments for rent. Indeed, it is helpful having a good credit score or an impeccable credit report, as some landlords will request to view your credit history so that they can be sure you plan on paying your apartment’s rent in a timely fashion.
Don’t get too worried if you have a bad credit score. There is typically not a minimum credit score that you need to rent apartments. Apartment landlords will not rely solely on one number in order to decide whether or not to rent to you.
That which is important is that your potential landlord can feel confident that you will be able to afford his or her apartment rental for the duration of your lease and that you can be expected to pay each month.
There are a couple of things that you can do if you do have a problematic credit history. Most importantly, you should be aware of your credit history. You are entitled to 1 free credit report from the three major credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, per year. You can get a TrueCredit 3-in-1 Credit Report, which can show you any discrepancies between how the bureaus have reported your credit history as well as how each calculates your credit score.
If you have bad credit you can always look for apartment rentals or homes for rent that do not require a credit check. Smaller apartment buildings and single family houses for rent usually will not require a credit check unless they are faced with a highly competitive situation.
If the apartment rental you are trying to move into does require a credit report, ask them if you can provide it for them. By avoiding a ‘hard inquiry,’ which is when someone besides yourself requests a copy of your credit report, you can also submit a letter explaining any potential problems. This way you can demonstrate that you will be able to pay your rent on time.
Most apartment landlords will be satisfied with an explanation as well as a letter of recommendation from your previous landlord. Many people have endured financial hardships and have still been able to find apartments for rent by simply demonstrating to their potential landlord that they have been reliable when it comes to rent in the past and can be counted on in the future. Providing a letter of explanation regarding credit reports as well as a letter of recommendation from previous landlords are helpful ways to prove creditworthiness.
Also, too many ‘hard inquiries’ will actually lower your credit score. Although this is not a major part of your credit report during an apartment search, they can add up, especially if too many apartment managers request a copy of your credit report as part of their screening.
So, do not fret if you credit score is below the optimal range. You will still be able to rent apartments, but you may have to take some extra time in your apartment search to prepare. For more information on credit reports, you can check out our blog post called Credit Reports and Apartments for Rent.