If you have poor credit, you may be worried about having your rental agreement rejected for a new apartment. It’s easy to feel ashamed or frustrated about bad credit, but you don’t need to worry quite so much. Here are your options for making yourself look like a good choice for the right apartment.
Be Honest and Know Your Credit Report
If you haven’t checked out your credit report recently, do so. Look for potential inaccuracies and get familiar with it, so there are no surprises when you go to discuss your credit report with potential landlords.
It’s usually best to be upfront about your situation, especially if you know for a fact that the property you wish to rent requires credit reports. The property managers and landlords you work with may appreciate your honesty, and want to know more about your situation, rather than just declining your application.
Pay Your Bills on Time
This is a surefire way to show improvement in your credit. It can take time for your credit score to improve, but if you are able to show you’re paying down your debt and paying bills on time, it can prove you’re making positive changes financially.
You may even want to print off copies of your credit history when you meet with property managers and landlords, so you can point out the positive changes you have made in your recent history.
Find Private Owners
A lot of corporate property owners have strict guidelines about credit, but privately owned apartments usually lack these same restrictions. They also may be more compassionate about your situation, since you can establish a more direct rapport with them. Make sure to dress professionally and act politely any time you meet with a private owner, because it can go a long way toward making a good impression.
Private owners and smaller companies may not require a credit check at all. You can always call different apartment complexes in your area and ask about their credit requirements.
Show Evidence of Job Security and Offer to Make Automatic Payments
Landlords deny people with bad credit because they worry that they will not be able to make their rent. If you are able to show that you have a steady income and job security, it could prove you’re worth the financial risk.
You can also offer to set up automatic payments, which means that your rent will be automatically deducted from your bank account, giving your landlord peace of mind.
Bring Good References
Most rental applications have an area for references; be sure to include past landlords you have a good relationship with on your application. If you are able to show you paid rent on time to a previous landlord, it will give your potential landlord a good idea of what to expect from you.
Make sure to touch base with anyone you plan to list as a reference and ask their permission before including them on your application. This will allow them to expect a call from your next landlord and be prepared to sing your praises.
Also consider asking for letters of recommendation from a past landlord and your employer. Letters allow for them to provide clear information about your payment history and job security.
Stay Within an Affordable Price Range
It might be tempting to look at luxury apartments or units at the top of the range for your budget, but you might be setting yourself up for failure.
Figure out what your monthly income is and try to ensure your rent makes up between 25-35% of that. This will ensure you’re able to make your bills, even if some other emergency comes up.
Offer Extra Motivation
You may want to consider upping your security deposit and offering to pay first and last month’s rent upfront. Even with a bad credit history, if you show you can offer money up front and have already shown you have a stable job and stable income, a landlord might be willing to overlook your credit history.
You can also try suggesting a short-term lease. This enables you to show you can pay your rent monthly, and decreases the risk for both you and your landlord if you find yourself unable to pay for one reason or another. If it all works out, then it’s time to Determine If You Need Renter’s Insurance.