It can be hard enough to find an apartment that you like (and can afford), much less worrying about whether or not your credit score is good enough to land the lease.
Unfortunately, there is no set credit score that will guarantee you the chance to rent. The majority of rental companies and landlords will run a credit check to make sure you can afford the lease terms of your rental. Since it’s their call as to what a good enough credit score is, you can never know for sure what number or range they have in mind.
But don’t worry! There are a number of things you can do to help boost your chances of renting, no matter what your credit score is. Check out the full list below for some helpful tips.
1. Know Your Credit Score
If you’re not signed up for free credit score reporting with CreditKarma, now’s the time to do so!
CreditKarma is a free way to monitor your credit score with two of the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax. Your scores will be regularly refreshed so you can keep a close eye on how you’re doing. Alternately, you can request a free copy of your credit report from all three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.
2. Don’t Set Your Heart on One Neighborhood
The average credit score landlords and rental companies look for could be much higher or lower depending on the residence and the neighborhood you’re looking at. Higher income neighborhoods in major metros like Los Angeles or San Francisco for example will more than likely require a credit score of 700, if not more than that. Neighborhoods that are farther away from city centers or are more mixed-income may have less stringent credit score requirements.
To keep your options then, be sure to look at residences in multiple neighborhoods.
Tips for When Your Credit Score isn’t Great
3. Explain Your Credit Score
Numbers on paper don’t always tell the full picture: Maybe you had a medical emergency or a surprise bill that ended up dinging your credit. But whoever is conducting the credit check won’t know that.
When it comes time for the credit check, provide a letter or email explaining the situation. Being honest about what happened demonstrates responsibility on your part and could help in convincing the company to approve you for the lease, despite the less-than-perfect credit rating.
4. Consider Co-Signing
If you’re worried that a low credit score is going to hurt your chances of being able to rent, consider a co-signer! This could be a friend, family member, or, if you’re going to be renting with someone, your roommate. Having somebody with a strong credit score sign the lease with you makes it more likely that you’ll be offered a lease.
5. Pay Ahead
Another excellent way to show that you’re financially responsible is offering to pay a few months’ rent ahead of time. If the landlord or rental company is on the fence because of a low credit score, their main concern is that that means you may be more prone to missing monthly rent payments in the future. By offering to pay in advance, you can alleviate those fears and hopefully land the lease!
No matter what your credit score is, there are always steps you can take to increase your chances of being able to rent a residence. We hope these tips help you on your way to renting success!
1Guerra, T. (June 19, 2017). What credit score do they use for apartment eligibility? Retrieved August 31, 2018, from https://homeguides.sfgate.com/credit-score-use-apartment-eligibility-95585.html
2Hipp, D. (May 16, 2016). How to rent an apartment with no or poor credit. Retrieved August 31, 2018, from https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/rent-apartment-with-no-or-poor-credit/
3Tsosie, C. (July 15, 2015). What landlords really look for in a credit check. Retrieved August 31, 2018, from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/landlords-credit-check/