Apartment Living BlogApartment Hunting › How Your Credit Score Might Affect You as a Renter

As a renter filling out apartment applications, you’re searching for a home that will meet your budget, lifestyle and work needs. But there’s another thing you may have overlooked that might keep you from moving into your dream home: your credit score. Some property managers value this above all else, and if yours is nonexistent or poor, you might encounter barriers preventing you from securing your dream apartment. Yet if you don’t have a credit score (if a credit card has never been issued in your name) or yours isn’t in the best shape, don’t despair. Here’s what you need to know about building your credit history, repairing it and renting without a great score. Wendell De Guzman, CEO of Chicago-based real estate investment company PCI LLC, shared what you need to know about your credit score as a renter. PCI specializes in rent-to-own apartments and is constantly evaluating potential renters’ credit scores.

How to Build Credit If You Have No History

If you’ve never had a credit card in your own name before, you need to build or repair your credit score. De Guzman recommends you open up a secured credit card — one with which you put down a cash deposit, and that’s the amount you can spend. If you don’t have any credit history, are reestablishing your credit history or need to repair poor credit, you might only be able to get a secured credit card. Not all banks issue these types of credit cards, and most have an annual fee. Be sure to shop around before you commit to one. After six months, you can get an unsecured credit card.

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How to Maintain Good Credit

The #1 way to maintain good credit? Pay your bills on time. De Guzman advises enrolling your bills in auto-pay so you can “set it and forget it.”

What Negatively Affects Your Credit Score

Paying your bills late will negatively affect your credit score. The more past due your bill is, the worse off your score is. “Foreclosure is the worst offense on your credit, followed closely by filing bankruptcy,” says De Guzman.

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How to Rent If Your Credit Score Is Poor or Nonexistent

There are plenty of ways to rent even if your credit score isn’t the greatest. We’ve already covered tips to rent an apartment if you don’t have a job lined up, and many of them will apply to renters with poor credit histories too.

These tips include having a cosigner, offering more money up front, being up front about your history with your property manager (maybe you lost your job or were severely ill for a few months) or showing your bank statements or recent pay stubs. If you’ve worked hard to always pay your rent on time these past few years, show your property manager proof of that. You’ll also want to ensure you’re searching for places that either don’t value credit scores above all or are willing to work with renters who don’t have good ones. That will help you narrow down your search and avoid spending time on places that will never rent to you.

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How Often to Check Your Credit Score

Each time you check your credit score, you lower it by about 5 to 10 points, according to De Guzman. You’ll want to avoid checking it frequently. De Guzman recommends you look it up about once a year. It’s also a good idea to check it to ensure you haven’t been a victim of fraud or a reporting error. “By tracking your credit report at least once a year, you will spot these mistakes and request your creditors to correct these mistakes,” he says.

For other tips on how to fix your credit, check out this ForRent.com article.


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About :

Ever since I first started writing for my middle school newspaper, I knew that I was born to tell stories. Well, that and travel. I've been fortunate enough in my professional life to combine both loves. My work has appeared on sites like USA Today, Fast Company, Racked, Refinery29 and The Daily Meal. I enjoy covering lifestyle topics like food, fitness, travel and decor. When I'm not writing or travelling, you'll find me reading books, playing with my two Chihuahuas, exercising or searching for my next great cup of coffee. I've never met a cupcake I didn't like. Visit Chocolate and Chihuahuas


  1. Kemal Tarakcioglu says:
    You will probably want to correct the end note in the article. Checking credit score will not impact a person’s credit score as long as he/she is the requester and the recipient of the report.
  2. Lee Autrey says:
    Great tips – If more renters took advantage of these tips it would greatly increase their choices of Apartments that they can qualify for. Austin Tx has 150 people per day moving here, so the apartments can be as picky as they want to be. A good Credit score opens alot of doors.

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