Having bad credit can being a deal breaker during your apartment search. Landlords are looking for trustworthy renters so they get paid on time. Even though having less than stellar credit doesn’t mean you won’t be responsible and pay your bills, your potential landlord doesn’t know that. To help you out, here are some tips to keep in mind while apartment hunting:
Explain Your Bad Credit
There are ups and downs in the lives of many people and your potential landlord may understand your situation. So if you know your apartment application will reveal your bad credit history, explain what happened. For example, if a family member became sick and you had to take time off from work to care for them it is reasonable for you to have missed a credit card payment or two. Just be honest and share your experiences and you’ll have a greater chance of getting the apartment.
Get a Cosigner
Just like banks may require cosigners when lending out money, landlords may ask you to find a cosigner with better credit. So if you have a parent or grandparent that wouldn’t mind being put on the lease, ask for their help.
Offer a Large Security Deposit
Sometimes you can overcome a bad credit score by providing the building owner with some insurance. And that usually take the form of a large security deposit. Have a chat with your potential landlord to see if he or she will accept two or three times the rent in the form of a refundable security deposit to show that you’re worthy of the apartment.
Showcase Your Personality
You and your potential landlord are strangers, so he or she will need to get to know you before deciding whether or not to rent you the unit. Help the building owner or manager get to know the real you that can’t be showcased on paper. Don’t be afraid to be outgoing and talk about yourself and any roommates you may have. Also, make him or her laugh–it can’t hurt!
Provide Check Stubs
If you have a low credit score, you may need to prove to the building owner that you can pay for the apartment. Print out at least three months of your check stubs along with the documents of any roommates you plan to have. Ideally, the rent shouldn’t take up more than one-third of your monthly income, so keep in mind that landlords are watching out for that ratio.
Your potential landlord may want to hear from people other than you when determining whether to rent you the apartment. In that case, provide him or her with the names and numbers of people who can vouch for you. Additionally, if you had a positive relationship with a previous landlord, ask him or her write you a reference. It can go a long way toward helping you nab the apartment.
Get a Roommate
If your credit history and income negatively impact your chance of getting an apartment, consider rooming with a pal. He or she can help pay half the rent and the utilities, which may convince the building owner that you can afford the unit.