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The ultimate guide to deal with bad credit when renting an apartment

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By: Good Nelly
on 13th Aug,2014

Potential landlord always checks your credit report before accepting your rental application.
The ultimate guide to deal with bad credit when renting an apartment

Bad credit score can be your nightmare when you're looking for a rental property. Because you've heard that good credit is as important for renting an apartment as adding sugar in a dessert. Potential landlord always checks your credit report before accepting your rental application. If you are worried because of your bad credit score, then you can try to use few steps to impress your landlord.

Below are some steps to secure a rental apartment when you don't have stellar credit.

1. Be your personal referral

If you've a good rental history, then ask your former landlord to assure your present one. If your former landlord conveys to the present landlord that you have paid the rent on time and you're a responsible person, then your landlord may overlook your bad credit history and accept your rental application.

2. Be ready to give an explanation

You should give a brief explanation for your bad credit report to the landlord. Write down an honest explanation on what are the reasons behind your bad credit history. Sometimes, your credit score drops because of some emergencies such as an unexpected medical emergencies, losing job, etc. Try to make the landlord understand that the situation was out of your control and you have suffered a lot. Try to assure him that you're now able to maintain your credit responsibly. Your landlord may understand your genuine problem and consider you.

3. Hunt for a co-signer

Try to find out one of your trusted friend or any relative with a good credit history. Ask your buddy to help you become a guarantor or co-signer. Be careful that you are confident enough to pay the monthly rent. Your co-signer is not going to take the payment responsibility forcefully.

4. Go for an anonymous rental

Renowned landlords will surely check your credit history. If your credit score is not so good, then try to go for smaller landlords. Sometimes, ordinary landlords do not require credit check.

5. Refix your credit history fast

Start working to improve your credit history as early as possible. Pay all your due bills. Try to reduce your debt burden. Start monitoring your credit report. Check your credit history regularly and resolve all the issues. Ask the credit bureau for a free report that you can get once a year. Use free tool to get update on your credit score.

6. Approach smartly

If you have good balance in your account, then offer a higher deposit to the landlord. You can also offer him/her that you can deposit first and last months rent at a time as security deposit. Your landlord may agree with your offer and overlook your poor credit history.

7. Present proof of your secured income

If your present job is secured, then try to provide proof of your secure income to your landlords. Your present paycheck and promising work history will work as reflection of your responsibility. Try to bring copies of prior years' tax returns, pay stubs, paper of your additional income or incentive while going to look at a rental apartment. Try to present yourself as an organized person. If you're a victim of company closure and recession, then try to bring any income proof of that phase. Try to prove that you can live within your means.

8. Collect recommendations

Try to collect reference letters from your past to present employers, co workers, business affiliates, and roommates. Provide all reference letters to the potential landlord.

9. Share room with a friend

You can move in with your friend who already has a good credit history and an established place to live. Your landlord may allow one person to sign the lease. On the other hand, you can share the bill with your roommate. Thus you can reduce your financial burden and repair your bad credit fast.

10. Go online

You can find classified listing, rental advertising online. Craiglist can be your destination if you search online. There are mass rental advertisement on apartments, condos, townhouses and houses. You can even find out individual landlord easily. You just need to pick your preference from lots of listings.

To do list

  • Go through the classified section of your local newspapers to explore property owners advertisement.
  • Real estate agent in your area can help you out. Contact him fast.
  • Ask your neighbors and friends if they know anyone who might be ready to rent out without checking credit history.
  • Try to grab a steady profession to have solid monthly income.
  • Try to live within your means to clear all your due bills and credit card debt.
  • Do not try to hide your past financial issues to the landlords. Confess all your money matters honestly in front of them.


The more you show your honesty about your financial record, the more you can get options to avail a rental apartment fast. You may find some difficulties but it is possible to rent with bad credit history. A broker with Broadpoint Properties in San Diego, Melissa Zavala says, “she's constantly running across applicants with poor credit. but that doesn't always stop them from finding a rental. Renters just need to know how to work with their past.”

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