Tips for Apartment Hunting with Bad Credit

apartment-leaseHaving to hunt for apartments knowing that your credit score is not as great as you’d like can initially feel like a formidable task. After all, landlords use components of credit scores to find tenants who are reliable and have been historically trusted to make timely payments and take care of their property. For prospective renters who have done their research but are toting around a bad credit score, there are a few ways to show potential landlords that having a less than great credit score doesn’t mean you’re irresponsible.

Find a Cosigner

Many students who don’t have bad credit sometimes start out with very little credit at all. Thus, many apartment complexes near college campuses allow for students to have cosigners who have better credit to vouch for them, making the student living process a little bit easier. Cosigners are usually parents or grandparents who have had time to establish and maintain their credit and who are also paying part of the student’s rent each month.

Offer a Bigger Security Deposit
Being able to provide a landlord with a larger, up-front security deposit can be one way to show them that you are financially stable. A deposit that’s double or triple the amount of the rent is basically insurance for the potential landlord and a way for you to show that you’re a good fit as a renter.

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Provide References and Check Stubs

Being able to show a potential landlord that you have a stable source of income and way to pay the rent on time each month is a huge part of showing that they can trust you. Having three or more check stubs shows that your employment status is steady rather than volatile. The ratio between your monthly income and rent payments also plays a role in the landlord’s decision, such that your rent should not be more than one-third of your monthly income. In addition to demonstrating financial stability, you can provide professional references who can vouch for you as a renter. Provide the landlord with references to any previous landlords you’ve had a good renting relationship with.

Just Talk to Them

When speaking to your potential landlord, keep in mind that you are both nothing more than strangers who are getting to know each other. Be open to explaining your bad credit, as landlords may be more understanding of your situation when they realize that life has its ups and downs. Throughout the apartment hunting process, show the landlord that you are more than what the papers may say you are and show them your personality. Let them know that you’ve read the apartment reviews and are serious about renting at their property. After all, a good impression can only help!

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