If you have less-than-perfect credit, you may find that securing an apartment can be a daunting task. Most landlords require a credit check before handing over the keys to one of their units, so the most important step is to ensure that your report is accurate. Each year, you are entitled to one free credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion from AnnualCreditReport.com. Begin by disputing any claims that are not accurate. You may see an improvement in your score that allows you to find the perfect apartment. However, even if your score leaves something to be desired, you may still find an apartment if you take the following steps.
Skip the Complex
Large corporations typically own large apartment complexes. Managers at these locations usually require a credit check. However, many independent homeowners have apartments available for rent, as well. The classified section of your local newspaper or online sites, such as Craig's List or Rental.com, have listings available for potential renters.
You may also wish to speak to a local real estate agent: Agents often have access to additional listings, which may be difficult to find in the paper. Additionally, individual homeowners do not have the overhead costs that apartment complexes do, so an apartment that is not professionally managed usually costs much less to rent.
Get a Recommendation
Some independent renters do check credit, but they do not have to follow the dictates of corporate policy and may be willing to accept a tenant that a traditional complex may reject. You may be able to explain the reason for your poor credit and receive some leniency, as well. For instance, you may have taken a large hit to your credit due to a recent divorce, hospitalization or job loss. Individuals are often more accepting of these reasons than large apartment complexes.
A recommendation can also go a long way to convince a potential landlord that you are a reliable person. It is not enough to have a friend call the renter and vouch for you, however. Get an endorsement from someone with whom you have sustained a financial relationship, such as a former landlord, banker or employer. Your recommendation and credit explanation should be written in letter form, and you should only give it if you know that your credit will be checked. Landlords must inform you of their intention to check your credit, but unsolicited explanations about bad credit may send up red flags with your potential renter.
Get a Cosigner
A cosigner can help you get into the apartment you desire, but it is recommended that this should be your last resort when renting an apartment or, for that matter, any financial matter. A cosigner puts his or her name on your lease or rental agreement, which ties his or her credit to your account. If, for any reason, you are unable to meet your rental obligation, your cosigner's credit will be negatively impacted along with your own. While some family members or friends may be willing to cosign for your new place, they will certainly expect you to make timely payments. Failure make timely payments can leave you with strained relationships in cosigning arrangements.
Bulk Up Your Deposit
While it isn't always easy to save up the funds, most independent landlords are happy to take collateral in the form of cash. If you cannot find a home by any of the other methods listed, attempt to set aside three times the cost of the rent on the apartment in which you wish to live.
A security deposit of this size will provide the equivalent of 90 days of security for the landlord if something should happen that makes it impossible for you to make your payment. Ensure that the rental agreement includes a reimbursement of some or part of this money if you do not miss a payment and leave the apartment in good repair. As with any deposit, the landlord usually reserves the right for repairs, if necessary, but timely payments will allow you to recover most of your investment and leave you in good financial form while looking for your next home.
Bad credit can affect everything from your ability to rent an apartment to getting good car insurance rates. To see how your credit affects your car insurance rates, visit www.carinsurancecalculatoronline.com.