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How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit

How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit

When it comes to money, your credit score is one of the most important factors about you. It affects everything from your ability to get a loan to even your job search. But it also affects whether or not you can get an apartment on your own. (Don’t know your score? You can check it for free.)

Most landlords have strict credit and income requirements. If you fall short of their guidelines, they won’t approve you for a lease. However, there are ways to secure a home.

6 ways to get an apartment with bad credit

If you have bad credit and need a place to live, use these six strategies to get around credit requirements.

1. Ask a friend or relative to cosign the lease

If you don’t qualify for an apartment on your own, one way around it is to ask a friend or relative to cosign the lease with you. An apartment cosigner acts as a guarantor on the lease, meaning they’re responsible for making the rental payments if you fall behind. Having a cosigner decreases the landlord’s risk, so they’re more likely to rent to you if you have one.

If you don’t have anyone who can act as a cosigner for you, services like the Guarantors can help. The Guarantors is a company that will act as a cosigner on a lease in return for a fee. It can add to your rental cost, but it can be a useful tool you can use to get an apartment you otherwise couldn’t get on your own.

2. Pay several months upfront

Some landlords will be more willing to work with you if you are willing to pay more upfront. For example, if you can pay several months’ rent right away, they might be willing to waive the credit requirements.

Only go this route if you have plenty of money in the bank. If you pay too much in rent, you could fall short on your other payments, which will only hurt your credit more.

3. Sublet an apartment

Another option is to sublet a place. People sublet their homes when they need to get out of a lease early for a new job or to move. With subletting, you pay the lessee rent each month, rather than the landlord, for the duration of their lease.

You can find apartments available for sublet on Sublet.com.

4. Become a roommate

If you can’t find an apartment on your own, look for a roommate who already has a place to live but needs help with the bills. You can get an apartment you couldn’t otherwise afford, and they get help with the bills.

Don’t know anyone? You can find potential roommates on Roommates.com or Roomie Match.

5. Rent from a private landlord

Traditional apartment complexes owned and run by companies tend to have set policies and procedures, especially when it comes to income and credit score requirements for prospective tenants.

With bad credit, it can make more sense to rent from a private individual, instead. A private landlord is more likely to be flexible and understanding of your circumstances than a corporation, so you might have more luck.

6. Offer to set up automatic payments

Landlords prefer tenants who set up automatic payments; it decreases the risk that the individual will forget to make payments and ensures the landlord gets their money. If you can show that you regularly have enough money in the bank to cover the rent each month, offering to set up automatic payments can be enough to convince some landlords to approve you.

Improving your credit

Although it’s possible to get an apartment with bad credit, finding a place to live is much easier with good to excellent credit. If your report is less-than-perfect, use these tips to improve your credit score.

  • Make all payments on time: The single biggest factor affecting your credit score is your payment history. Pay all of your bills on time each month; a single late payment can drag it down.
  • Pay down debt: Your credit utilization — or how much debt you have compared to how much credit you have access to — also affects your score. By paying down your credit cards or other forms of debt, you can boost your score.
  • Consolidate your credit cards: Tackling credit card debt can be difficult due to high interest rates. By consolidating your credit cards , you can get a lower interest rate, so more of your payment goes toward the principal each month. Plus, you’ll pay off the cards and have a single installment loan instead, which can also boost your credit score.

    Boosting your credit report can take time, but with some hard work, you can get a better score.

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