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Tips for Leasing an Apartment with Bad Credit

No credit check apartment rentals are likely to be found in your community. While it’s best to have good credit, this isn’t going to stop you from renting an apartment in your local area. Some landlords run a credit check when you rent, but others don’t.

Even if they do, having bad credit may mean you’ll have to pay a bigger deposit, but it won’t keep you out of the home. The more property owned by the landlord, the more likely they are to have a process for checking up on new tenants. I’ll talk about property management companies in a bit, but if you want to know how to rent an apartment without having a credit check done, I’d tell you to learn about the potential landlords in your area and fill out applications according to what you know.

Dealing with the Landlord

Honest Young Man with a Smile

No Matter What’s Happened in the Past, Honesty Is the Best Policy, If You Want to Impress Landlords.

Whatever your background, be honest with the landlord about your situation. If you have bad credit, meet with the property manager or the landlord–whoever decides on new applicants.

These are real people just like you, so if they remember you and liked what they saw, they’re more likely to take a chance on you. When you explain your past to them, they are able to associate you with more than a simple credit score.

Most of all: people respect straightforward honesty. If you admit to your mistakes, then they realize you’re honest with yourself and others. That makes you more trustworthy, not less trustworthy.

The important thing is to get personal face-to-face time with this person. Do not drop off the application and hide from their inquiries. Now, let’s talk about the questions the property manager is likely to have.

Credit Checks – Hard Inquiries

If a apartment complex does have credit check, ask if you can submit your own report. This evades the hard inquiry and lets you offer an explanation for any bad information on your report. It’s not going to sound suspicious that you don’t want a hard inquiry, because too many of these actually lower your credit score. Most employers and landlords know this, but if they don’t, explain that to them when you ask to submit your own report.

Resident History – Letter of Recommendation

Those who have a good tenant history and bad credit should ask their former landlord to provide a letter of recommendation. If this person can look back on their records and find that you paid on time and didn’t damage their property, most landlords are going to be happy to say this in a letter to your potential new landlord.

Avoid Apartment Management Companies

I mentioned the property manager before. I happen to know one and he is a good guy. He’s worked for a long time at a small apartment complex with a more high-scale set of renters, therefore he’s probably not typical. He has a more personal touch, but as a general rule, the apartment management company is less personal than a single landlord. Less personal is bad for people with bad credit.

Some apartment complexes are managed by apartment management companies. These organizations tend to have a bulk-rate credit check account with one of the Big Three and they’re going to perform a credit check on anyone filling out an application. Before you starting applying for apartment leases, find out which ones are self-managed and which ones are managed by a management business. Avoid the management companies.

No Credit Apartment Rentals and the Co-Signer

If you’re just starting out, but you have a good relationship with your parents, see if they’ll co-sign. This clearly is not an option for many families and many new renters. Parents and family members are just like credit companies; if you’ve given them reasons to distrust you in the past, this isn’t going to work. But if you are a member of the family in good standing and you’ve shown a basic level of responsibility in the past, this might be an option. This helps you build credit for your next lease, while giving the apartment management a reason to believe you’ll pay.

For Singles Apartment Rentals, Get a Roommate

Those single people with no spouse and no kids should consider getting a roommate. This might be really annoying if you get the wrong roommate, but you’ll split the costs in half. The landlord is also more likely to assume you’ll have the resources to pay them on time. Avoid the nightmare roommate situations and try to find an apartment mate whom you think is going to be compatible to you.

Landlords and Checking on Tenants

A landlord or property manager wants to know you can afford to pay for your apartment rentals over the course of your lease. He or she needs to be able to expect you can pay each month. In many cases, that means landlords pay to see your credit report.

The person deciding whether to rent you an apartment flat gets a report from one of the three big credit report companies, Equifax, TransUnion, or Experien. I’ve given advice to landlords before. My advice to property managers and their landlords was they should require a credit check fee from applicants. This naturally eliminates many credit risks, because anyone with bad credit isn’t going to spend the money for you to find that out. They find another place to rent.

That’s good information for potential renters to have, too. If you go into an apartment complex to apply for a rental lease, if they don’t ask you to pay a fee for a credit history report, that means they probably don’t consider your credit as important. You’ve got a better chance to rent without good credit.

Think about it: just about everyone finds somewhere to live. Renting a home is about like buying furniture: everyone does it in one form or another. That’s why people find inventive ways to finance furniture sales, while also finding ways to put people with no credit or bad credit into tenement buildings and apartment complexes.

Many people have bad credit, so people with bad credit reports find some way to make it work. Here’s how they do it. Ultimately, having a job and no credit card is a better sign you can pay than having a credit card and no job.

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