Apartment Living BlogApartment Tips › Credit, Eviction and Roommate Troubles in My Past – Help!

Previous rental history is a serious consideration when a landlord is reviewing the application of someone who wants to rent. Because a landlord is making a business decision and taking a business risk (Will this person pay me the rent? Will this person damage my property? Will this person follow the community rules?), past “sins” will weigh heavily against an applicant. Sometimes those “sins” are not sins of the applicant but rather they are the sins of a roommate or someone else who was also on the previous lease. However (and this is something that renters often do not understand), the lease language almost always makes each renter signing a lease “jointly and severability liable.”

So, if your roommate doesn’t pay “their share” of the rent, or if they move out before the lease is up, or if they are the one who caused damage or made trouble, all of the liability can be laid upon you  – not, for example, just half of it.  And, unfortunately, your rental history will reflect that.

So, with a less than stellar previous rental history you have some significant challenges in finding an apartment.

Two ideas that may be of some help are as follows:

  • Offer to pay more of a security deposit than what the landlord is asking (then you are taking on some of the potential risk of non-payment or damage yourself) and this might suggest to the landlord that you fully intend to pay rent and be a good resident (because you don’t want to lose that money!)  Please be aware, however, that in some states the landlord/tenant law does not allow a landlord to do this.
  • Check out private apartment rentals rather than those at apartment communities. That person who has a garage or basement apartment might be more amenable to giving you a chance and taking a chance on you.


About :

Hi, all! I'm Maggie, the Assistant Manager of Public Relations and Events here at For Rent. I'm part of an awesome team of fun, creative people that love to get together and think up new ideas and solutions for the multifamily industry. Here at ForRent.com, I write and edit A LOT! Other things I love: reading, Netflix, rain storms, Thai food, beach days with friends and the Georgia Bulldogs.


  1. Michael Warner says:
    If you are splitting the rent without a lease and no agreement moving agreement set. If one person is trying to move you out what are my legal stance. I believe i am within my rights to move whenever I decide to.

    Please advise.


  2. Barbara says:
    I am 61 years old trying to fight cancer forced into early retirement due to total disability and have been given a 30 day notice by the owner of the condo I rent because he is moving back from out of state. Even though I have proof of income from disability insurance and very sizeable employer pay out my application for an apartment was denied because social security, disability benefits and cash cannot be garnished. I am being denied for other listings due to bad credit. Motels are very expensive. Soon I will be homeless. Any suggestions?

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