How to Rent an Apartment with Troubled Credit
Renting affordable apartments in Texas or apartments anywhere else in the United States has the potential to be difficult if you have bad credit. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be absolutely impossible. You’ll just have to take additional steps to prove to potential landlords that you aren’t going to be a major credit risk. In fact, there’s ways to make it easy for them to know that you’ll pay your rent on time, every time, and never give them any trouble.
How do you show potential landlords that you’re an excellent candidate for their apartment when you have troubled credit? We’ve discovered 10 tried-and-true ways to prove to landlords that you’ll have your rent every month on time, or we’ll show you how to get around typical problems that your average tenant runs into when their credit score is less than stellar.
Sound good? If you have troubled credit and you’re struggling to rent an apartment, we highly recommend using the suggestions we’ve shared below. They’ll help you find the right apartment and landlord and put an end to your renting struggles once and for all.
- Find Apartments That Do Not Require a Credit Check
First and foremost, it’s certainly possible to find apartments that do not require a credit check, but they are few and far between these days. If you are going to rent an apartment from a leasing company or a property manager, they are absolutely going to require a credit check. They will not rent to you unless they view your credit report and make you provide other important information as well.
Guess what? Renting from individual property owners is completely different than renting from property managers and leasing companies. When you meet with an individual landlord, they may only ask you to prove your income and nothing more. In this case, your credit score isn’t going to matter because they aren’t going to check it anyway, so you can rent from these people without any difficulty whatsoever.
- Be Willing to Pay More Upfront Because of Your Poor Credit Situation
If you meet with a potential landlord and they are willing to overlook your troubled credit score, they may only be willing to do this because you are willing to pay more money in advance just to prove that you aren’t going to be a major problem.
Instead of asking for first and last for your security deposit, they may require you to pay an additional deposit of two or three months on top of the original security deposit. This may seem outrageous on the surface, but it’s something that you may be required to do in order to convince a landlord to rent you an apartment.
The alternative is to struggle finding a place to live or be forced to move into a bad neighborhood. So, if it comes down to paying an additional security deposit as opposed to living in a crappy neighborhood, you have to decide which is the lesser of two evils and make up your mind from there.
- Find a New Roommate
Have you considered moving into an apartment with a roommate? This is a good idea because it’s possible the landlord will let you move in with a roommate and not require you to be on the lease.
As an example, let’s say you search for a roommate online and find one that already has an existing apartment. They are looking for someone to rent a room and share common expenses with them and you seem like you’d be the ideal fit. So you contact this individual, tell them about your poor credit situation and prove that you can pay your bills on time. If they accept you, you may be able to move into the already existing apartment and never have to put your name on a lease.
Or in another scenario, you and your new roommate can begin looking for apartments together at the appropriate time. You meet with landlords and only ask for your roommate to be on the lease because of your credit situation. The landlord may be willing to make an exception as long as your roommate has excellent credit, a good stable job, and the ability to pay the bills even if you screw up and fail to pay your monthly bills on time.
- Find Somebody to Cosign for Your Apartment
On many occasions people with poor credit attempt to buy cars, homes, and other stuff that requires loans and they can pull it off because somebody is willing to cosign and apply along with them. The same holds true for attempting to rent an apartment. You can have somebody cosign the lease with you and if they have good credit and a stable income it will make your chances of qualifying for the apartment so much better.
At the same time, you’ll need to prove to the landlord and your cosigner that you’ll be capable to pay your bills on time. Because if you fail to pay your monthly rent, your lack of payments will have a negative impact on your co-signer’s credit score and they’ll even become liable for the rental debt you’ve accumulated. So do the right thing and continue to pay your bills on time instead of ruining your co-signer’s credit score and potentially making their life worse if you stop paying your rent altogether.
- Prove That You Are Trustworthy and Reliable with Solid References
Having great references will go a long way to helping you secure an apartment even if you have bad credit. Remember, your credit score doesn’t necessarily define you and it doesn’t tell your life story.
As an example, maybe you’ve had excellent credit your entire life and then somebody you love suddenly becomes ill and you have to pay for large medical expenses that you couldn’t afford. Because of this additional burden, you had to stop paying other bills and it ruined your credit. A landlord might be able to overlook your poor credit score if you tell him or her your story and have excellent references to back up everything you’ve said.
So ask financially responsible people to provide reference letters to future landlords. In fact, you can get reference letters from previous employers, financial institutions, former landlords, and important members of your community. These reference letters will go a long way to proving that you are a trustworthy person who normally pays his or her bills on time but ran into a bit of trouble recently.
- Prove to Potential Landlords That You Have a Rock Solid, Stable Income
Every potential landlord is different when it comes to your income and their willingness to rent you an apartment. In some situations, a landlord might require you to make two or three times more than the rental amount in order to qualify for the apartment.
In this example, let’s say you’re moving into an apartment that costs $1000 a month. Your landlord will want you to prove that your income is at least $2000-$3000 a month with the aim of proving that you can afford to live in their apartment without any major potential financial difficulties.
Let’s face it. You may make a lot of money now even though you screwed up your credit a few years prior. So, it’s possible that a potential landlord will rent you an apartment even if you have a poor credit history as long as your income proves that you can afford the place.
So definitely keep your pay stubs handy. Show potential landlords as many pay stubs as you can, dating back as far as you can, to prove that your job is stable and your income is steady. This will help your landlord see that their apartment is more than affordable for you.
- Show Your Landlord Your Bank Account If It Will Help Secure an Apartment
Your credit score is only one way to indicate whether or not you are a solid credit risk to potential landlords. So even if you have a poor credit score, you may still qualify as a good tenant if you can prove that you’ll be able to pay your bills on time.
One way is to show your landlord that you have a steady income. And if your income meets their criteria, they’ll have no problem renting you an apartment. Another way is to show your landlord that you have plenty of money in the bank to pay your rent month after month for an unspecified period of time.
Sticking with our example, let’s say you have $20,000 in the bank and your rent is only $1000 a month. You can show your landlord your $20,000 bank balance and prove that you’ll be able to pay your rent for quite some time even if you were to lose your job.
Some people do not want their potential landlord to see how much money they have in the bank and it’s your right to keep this information private. But if you’re having a hard time renting an apartment, this might be the additional catalyst a landlord needs to determine that you are a good fit to rent an apartment from them.
- Avoid Renting from Companies and Stick to Renting from Individuals
As we’ve touched upon earlier, dealing with property managers and leasing companies is often difficult when it comes to renting an apartment with poor credit. The reason this is a problem is they often have strict policies in place that they are not willing to bend from because they aren’t allowed to.
With this example, if you attempt to rent an apartment in a large complex owned by a property management company, they may have strict rental application expectations already in place. They may require the person to make a certain amount of money, have a certain credit score – e.g. 650 or better – and other prerequisites. So if your credit score is poor or it’s below 650, you’ll never be able to rent an apartment from one of these corporations no matter how hard you try because of the existing policies that they already have in place.
Instead, meet with one or more individual landlords and find out about their policies. Since it isn’t a major corporation, they may be willing to bend the rules as long as you seem like an excellent fit in other ways.
- Be Willing to Temporarily Pay More than Someone with Good Credit
This may seem really unfair on the surface but this is the way the world works and we all have to work within the system. If the landlord sees your poor credit score and negative credit history and determines you are unfit for his or her apartment, you’re going to be out of luck and have a difficult time finding a place to live.
But you can make things easier on yourself and the landlord. You can offer to pay additional money – like $100 or $200 more per month – in an effort to secure the apartment. Some landlords would be willing to go for this because of the additional income that they could potentially generate. This isn’t going to work every time, but it will work often enough that it’s worth your time and effort to make the offer and see what happens.
- Ask for a Shorter Lease
When a possible landlord is skeptical of renting to you because of poor credit, you can suggest getting a trial run with a shorter lease. If your lease is only 3 to 6 months, you can pay your bills on time and prove that you are a good fit for the apartment.
After the trial is through, hopefully your landlord will renew with a longer lease. On the other hand, if your payments are late or you missed payments entirely the shorter lease will make it easier for the landlord because you’ll be gone soon enough and there will be no need to evict you.
Renting an apartment with troubled credit is never really fun for you or your potential landlords. But it’s a necessary situation that needs to be rectified if you are desperate to put a roof over your head.
Instead of assuming the worst, please use the suggestions shared today to your ultimate benefit. This invaluable information can make it possible to rent an apartment even if your credit is in the toilet. So use it to your advantage and you’ll have no trouble renting an apartment in the near future.