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Blog Jul 3, 2018

My Credit Sucks: Rent an Apartment


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How to Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit

For those who say, “My credit sucks,” renting an apartment may seem like an impossible dream, as more rental agents are requiring credit checks before a lease is issued.  In reality, it may be easier for someone with bad credit to get a sub-prime mortgage than it is to rent an apartment in today’s economy. That said, there are things you can do to fix bad credit and improve your chances of renting an apartment.


Be Upfront

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is just being honest about your credit with a potential landlord. Providing the information upfront allows you to frame the narrative and gives you the opportunity to explain why your credit score is what it is and why it will not hinder you from being a great tenant.

The ability to be flexible and minimize the role your credit score plays in your consideration as a tenant is something that is done more easily by individual landlords than by large companies. With that in mind, if your credit is poor, you are better off being upfront and seeking leniency from a single property owner and not an organization dedicated to managing housing.


Maintain Steady Income

One of the most basic yet important ways to rent an apartment when your credit sucks to have a steady income. In determining what a desirable income amount is, it is important to know that it is best to make several times more than the cost of rent. What this demonstrates to landlords is that you can afford the price of your lease each month.

Also required in taking this route to get around bad credit is the ability to provide proof of income. In order to do this, you will need several months’ worth of paystubs to pass along to your potential landlord. Showing that you have the means to take care of the expense of rent may be enough to prompt your credit to be overlooked in the consideration process for becoming a tenant.  


Pay a Few Months in Advance

One way to improve your chances of renting an apartment when you believe “my credit sucks” is to pay a few months’ rent in advance. Although this may reduce the cash you have available for other moving expenses, paying a few months in advance indicates to the landlord that you are responsible and that you are serious about paying your rent on time, despite past credit problems.

Especially if you are still just in the planning phase of making your move, begin saving up money now. The more you have put aside before locking yourself into a high-cost leasing agreement, the more manageable it will be to make that initial investment. This tactic also helps you to stand out amongst others vying for the same apartment.


Make Automatic Payments

Sometimes overcoming poor credit to rent an apartment can be as simple as setting up automatic payments to your landlord. For landlord’s, this option takes away a lot of the hassle involved in getting payments from renters and ensures them that the money they are owed will reach them on time and in full.

Initially this may be more difficult to arrange than other payment methods due to the fact that poor credit may have some landlords hesitant to trust that a resident will be able to maintain a savings account with funds sufficient enough to cover the cost of living. It is here that demonstrating consistent income and an adequate savings account balance should enable overcoming these limitations and poor credit.


Letter of Recommendation

Another option for those who say “My credit sucks,” is to obtain a letter of recommendation from a previous landlord. A leasing agent may be more willing to forgive your credit indiscretions in the event that your rent payments were always on time in the past. Letters of recommendation are not limited to landlords, as getting others with whom you have had a financial relationship with in the past can also be advantageous. This includes the likes of your bank or even former employers.

With letters of recommendation, it is important to remember that you are volunteering this information and that at the time of passing the information over, your potential landlord may not have checked your credit yet. Because it is required that landlords receive your permission to check your credit, that will be your indicator as to when to get your letter together. In the letter you can provide context as to why you credit score is what it is, so use that opportunity to tell your landlord what happened and more importantly discuss the changes you have made to improve your finances.



Just like purchasing a vehicle, if you claim, “my credit sucks,” you may need to get a co-signer for your apartment. Because leases are not reflected on credit scores, co-signing an apartment lease will not damage your co-signer’s credit score like an auto loan would, but if you fail to pay your rent, the co-signer agrees to take responsibility for paying it themselves.

In joining on as a co-signer there are certain requirements, as the co-signing party must have good credit themselves to be approved. Other requirements include the ability to prove income and steady income. For those interested in getting an apartment but who lack proof of income or are younger (like recent college graduates), co-signers may be suggested as a means of qualifying for apartment rental.


Avoid a Credit Check

Larger apartment complexes are more likely to require a credit check in order to rent an apartment to you, so if you are one of those who says, “my credit sucks,” consider renting from a private owner, or renting a room or apartment in a private home. Check local newspapers or even Craig’s List for apartments in smaller buildings, as there is a greater chance that they will be rented out by a single owner who is more likely to rent without a credit check.

Finding a place can even be as simple as scoping out an area in person, as some people advertise places for rent right outside of their homes. Following up with the homeowner could provide you a better understanding of the rental criteria and presents the opportunity to rent without requiring a credit check. Sometimes real estate agents can also be of assistance, as homeowners will sometimes hire them to aid in renting out their homes.


There are options out there for those who say, “My credit sucks”. One way to help build credit and reduce your monthly costs is by investing in cheap prepaid electricity through Payless Power.  For more information on cheap electricity, call 866-206-7986 or visit us online.

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