Your Credit Report & Renting

I have bad credit: Can I still qualify for an apartment?

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To put it plainly, the effects of having bad credit can be crippling. While bad credit most directly affects your ability to get favorable terms on loans and establish other lines of credit, it can also cost you a shot at getting that apartment you’ve worked so hard to find.

But while bad credit can be a hindrance in your apartment search, it won’t disqualify you altogether. Here are a few tips for finding rental housing even if you have a ways to go toward improving your credit:

* Find a willing and trusted co-signer. Just like college students often need their parents to co-sign on a lease due to the lack of a credit history, this is a way to offer assurances to potential landlords that they will be paid. Don’t make this decision lightly, however, as that last thing you want to do is put somebody else on the hook if you have any doubts about your abilities to make the payments.

* Offer to pay an increased security deposit, or pay your rent ahead of time. Normally, it’s a bad sign if you’re renting and your landlord asks for an exorbitant (more than one or two months’ rent) security deposit. But if you have bad credit, you may need to use this option to convince your landlord that you’re able to make the payments.

* Find an apartment that doesn’t require a credit check. Not all landlords require a credit check before you apply for housing. This will greatly narrow the amount of apartments available to you, but it’s an option to consider.

If you have bad credit, the best thing you can do is get on a plan to rebuild it by paying your bills on time, settling old debts and establishing good spending habits. These tips on finding housing are only simple fixes until you are able to do so.

If you don’t know where your credit stands and are looking for housing, consider purchasing a rental history report. Not only will you receive a credit report, you’ll also be able to ensure that you have a clean criminal and rental history, so you can rest assured there’s nothing standing in the way of you and your dream apartment.