How To Qualify For An Apartment With Bad Credit How To Qualify For An Apartment With Bad Credit Photo Courtesy of Allstate You’ve found your dream apartment, and you envision all the things you are going to fill it with to make it your salvation and the place you come home to after a long day of work. You find yourself skimming through magazines and scouting ideas on aesthetics from the wall hangings and furniture, right down to the curtains and bedding. But, there’s one thing keeping you from landing that apartment; your credit isn’t exactly stellar. Whatever the reason may be as to why your credit isn’t up to par, there are ways you can work around it, however, you may have to take a step down from the ultimate dream apartment to one that works within your current credit situation. Here are four ways to land an apartment with bad credit as you work on getting your credit back on track for the future. 1. Find a co-signer If you are considered unqualified for a rental, you could enlist the help of a co-signer. A co-signer will agree to pay any outstanding rent should you fail to make payments. Having a co-signer may provide a landlord with financial reassurance. However, your co-signer will have a serious responsibility as well as take on a financial burden should you default. It’s important for both you and your co-signer to be able to afford the rent on the apartment. Have a detailed conversation with your co-signer before you both sign the lease. Another option would be to find a roommate that has good credit. A roommate with good credit can be a better alternative as you can split the rent expense and put extra money away or towards paying outstanding debt, which in turn will help repair your credit. Once your lease is up, you may be in a better position credit-wise to get a place on your own and not have to worry about a co-signer or a roommate. 2. Offer a larger deposit Tenants with bad credit pose a risk for landlords. Try offering a larger deposit to secure yourself in obtaining the apartment if you have the means to do so. By paying a few months’ rent in advance, the landlord may consider having you as a tenant and ease any doubts about you being financially negligent in paying your rent. Keep in mind that rental deposits are capped in some states, so find out what how much you can pay up front in your area. By paying a few months’ rent in advance, the landlord may consider having you as a tenant 3. Find an Independent Property Owner If your bad credit is keeping you from getting an apartment, you may have a better chance of landing an apartment with an independent owner as opposed to a property management company. Private owners may be more willing to work with someone who has poor credit, however, make sure you do your homework to safeguard against any issues with the property. Finding reviews of independent owners could be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Before signing a lease with an independent landlord, you can check public records that can reveal a host of information from foreclosures to lawsuits brought about by previous tenants. If there are multiple units on the property, talk to the current tenants about their experiences living there. It’s best to wait if you can until you rebuild your credit and raise your credit score. Photo Courtesy of Kingston Apartments 4. Get letters of Recommendation A letter of recommendation could be a good way to prove you will be a responsible tenant. If you left your previous apartment on good terms and were prompt with your rent payments each month, ask your former landlord to give you a recommendation. You can also ask your current employer for a letter verifying your income as well as attest that you are a responsible employee. Showing that you have cash flow enabling you to manage monthly rent payments and a description of your good character could be the deciding factor to get the apartment if the landlord was initially on the fence. While you may want to get into that new apartment sooner than later, it’s best to wait if you can until you rebuild your credit and raise your credit score. If you choose to wait, take this period of recovery to set a budget and stick to it, make your loan and credit card payments on time, and try not to use your credit cards or apply for any new lines of credit to keep your credit utilization low. Once you are back on track, you’ll find you will have better apartment options that suit your needs. Leslie Tayne Leslie H. Tayne has more than 15 years' experience in the practice area of consumer and business financial debt-related services. Speaker, Author of Life & Debt, Attorney and Founder of the Tayne Law Group, P.C., Leslie is working towards reshaping the debt industry by offering real, proven solutions to help her clients get back on the road to financial freedom.