Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › Have a Civil Judgment on Record? How to Rent

You could have a judgment against you for a variety of reasons, such as unpaid medical bills, a past broken lease, or other financial obligations. Sadly, some companies will not rent to people with past judgments against them, but that does not mean you should lose hope in your hunt for a place to live.

Here are some strategies that may help you get into the apartment that is right for you.

Pay the Judgment Off Quickly and Consistently

If you are able to, pay the money you owe on your judgment as quickly as you can. Once the judgment has been paid in full, many states have regulations in place that will remove the judgment from your credit record within thirty days. If it has not cleared yet, but you have paid off the required amount, make sure to get documentation that you have cleared the debt. You can submit that documentation personally, if you need to, to credit agencies.

Remember, even if the judgment is removed from your credit record, there will still be court documents out there that detail the judgment and your potential landlord will likely have access to them. Make sure you are ready to explain your situation and follow some of the other tips here, if that becomes the case.

If paying off the debt is not an option, be ready to provide evidence that you will be able to pay off your judgment at a consistent rate while still making your rental payments as well. When you meet with the manager or leasing agent for your rental, make sure to have things like your pay stubs, tax documents, and bank statements ready. Showing these documents and your ability to make all the needed payments may give your landlord incentive to work with you.

Offer a Large Deposit

A landlord may see taking on a tenant with a judgment as a huge risk, but they might be willing to overlook that risk if you provide a large deposit as insurance. This will give them confidence in your ability to make future rental payments.

Work With an Apartment Locator

Like a real estate agent, apartment locators will be familiar with your local market and they may have an idea of who will be willing to rent to you. They also have built a rapport with local landlords and property owners and may be able to vouch for you.

Find an Advocate

Advocacy services can help with credit counseling and other services, which might make you more appealing as a potential tenant. These agencies can help provide strategies to restore poor credit and make the steps you are taking to improve your credit more obvious, thanks to a paper trail.

You can also ask these agencies to vouch for you to a potential landlord, which can help to make you look like a more solid investment. Advocacy agencies are a great way to show that you are taking responsibility for financial mistakes or missteps of the past and working to rectify them.

You May Have to Adjust Your Standards

Some property owners don’t run credit checks, so you may want to look for smaller companies or private landlords who are less likely to run full credit checks on potential renters. They may consider renting to you based on your personal contact with them and your demeanor, so show up looking professional and do your best to keep the conversation amiable.

Big rental companies and luxury apartments have very strict guidelines that their employees can’t bend, so you may want to skip these kinds of rentals altogether. More than likely, they won’t take a second glance at you after reading your score.

Make Good on Your New Rental Agreement

The best way to improve your credit and show that you are a good tenant is to stay caught up on your new rental agreement. Pay your rent on time and do not break your lease or allow payments to pile up.

If you lowered your standards and have rented an apartment that was not quite what you wanted, making consistent rental payments for a year or two can make you look a lot more appealing as a potential tenant, even if the judgment is still on your credit history. As a bonus, if you Master These DIY Skills to Decorate Your Rental, you could still enjoy a homey locale that keeps you happy.

Though renting an apartment with a judgment on your record may seem like a daunting task, you actually have a lot of options to work through this issue. Using all the tools at your disposal could put you on the right track to finding and renting a place that you really love.

About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


  1. Greg Lane says:

    Great web site, forrent.com. Good to have a group looking out for people with less that perfect rent history. It seems hard to hunt for apartments, at least in this area, to get straight answers for certain lower price ranges, in regular online searching.

  2. Sandra Delson says:
    Dear Amber, I recently came in contact through a friend who at 78 years old and was asked to leave the home she was living in. Her living arrangements were with friends in west Palm Beach. An acquaintance took her in and the goal was set for 90 days. Feb 15th marks 90 days and still no place or apartment? She is a very sweet woman very intelligent and intellectual. Heart of gold. She unfortunately had to claim bankruptcy and all was discharged for a new start ( at 78 ) years old. A very sad situation. She has her own vehicle and her belongings etc are in storage. (a monthly payment.) She was living in her car for over 40 days! All so sad to go from “richest to rag’s” in addition a classy lady I might add.

    How can a human being born raised in america not find an acceptable apartment? From Fort Lauderdale where she is now until the 15th of Feb, to West Palm Beach .She travels to doctors from fort Lauderdale to west palm beach where they are located.

    I apologize for the lengthy email.

    Any help or suggesting would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Tony C.

    • Hi Sandra! I am sure it is a difficult thing to watch your friend go through such painful obstacles. It is surely a difficult situation to manage your livelihood while going through a bankruptcy with so many twists and turns in managing expectations. We have a sister site called After55.com that can bring a bit of light to her apartment search. check out the site and take a look at the apartments we have for rent in the West Palm Beach. All the best to you and your friend!

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