By Bill Gassett
Are you looking to get an apartment with bad or no credit? If you decided to rent, your first impulse might not be to think about your credit standing. However, your credit history is something that you will probably be requested to present to rent an apartment. Landlords ask for this information to ensure that you are serious and will make your monthly payments in a timely fashion.
Sometimes, showing that you have stellar credit is not a reality due to problems you've had in your financial past. In instances such as this, you may need a no-credit-check apartment. No-credit-check apartments are for those who know their credit at the moment is not up to snuff. It can also be that you don't have established credit yet, either.
Whatever the case may be, there are going to be circumstances where you may need to prove to the landlord that you're worthy of consideration for their rentals. In fact, it's similar to those who are looking for rent-to-own homes due to not having the necessary credit. Here are some of the things you can do when you have no credit or bad credit to land that apartment you really want:
When There is No Credit Check
You should expect to be asked about a credit check every time you present your intention to rent an apartment or house; this happens in the vast majority of situations. No matter if you rent from a private landlord or a property management agency, most will ask for your credit history.
The credit check is the easiest way to prove to them your financial responsibility value. The good news is that even if you don't have the best financial stability at the moment, there are other things you can do to prove to the landlord you won't go south when it comes time to pay the monthly rent.
The Co-Signer Variant
One of the easiest options to prove your good renting intentions is to ask some other person to sign the lease agreement with you. In this situation, the respective person will be asked for their credit history, which comes as a guarantee.
This person becomes practically responsible for the monthly payments and for covering any possible damages that you might cause in the apartment. Usually, the person who you're signing with has an extreme level of trust that you won't let them down.
Not many people will guarantee for you, so these co-signers are usually relatives or good friends. This person usually has to trust that you're serious about renting the apartment and covering the monthly fees. Landlords will often look at this as a solid option for providing you are going to be paying on time.
If you've had credit issues in the past but are on track now and have a healthy income, you could show this to the landlord. You could prove your financial reliability by giving proof of your constant income. Doing so will typically require you to show you have a healthy amount of money in savings or investment accounts.
This balance or the income proof usually is required to be a minimum of three times the amount of your lease fee. This way, you could always match the level of your income to the most appropriate monthly rate.
Recommendations From Trustworthy Sources
You could try to convince the future landlord by presenting them with several references. There's no guarantee that they will be accepted, however, certain landlords and some real estate agencies accept them as good-enough proof.
Such a recommendation should come from your current and sometimes past employers, as well as from former landlords. These people need to present you as a reliable, financially aware person. The more recommendations you can gather, the bigger the chances to convince the landlord.
The Reliable Roommate
If you alone are not enough to cover the lease or to prove it, you could always bring another person as your roommate. This person can provide their credit check as a single reference. Or you could both bring some income proof and recommendations that are put together to represent a stronger guarantee.
You and your roommate thus become co-signers of the lease agreement. Furthermore, the monthly fee will be easier to cover on time, since it's divided between the two of you.
Bigger Security Deposits
If cannot convince the landlord with a credit check for the apartment, you may convince them if you have a significant security deposit for the lease. Having a large security deposit ensures there will be money there to cover any problems at the end of the lease.
Provide Advantages to Impatient Landlords
Even if you can’t provide all the above variants, there is still hope for finding an apartment. There are some advantages that you could bring to your future landlord, such as offering to move in and start paying the rent right away. Some homes remain empty for long periods and translates into financial losses for the owner.
Landlords that remain with such vacant apartments are more open to receiving tenants that can pay the rent right away, even in the absence of having good credit. It is important to be fast in giving them the money.
Another option that you may provide the landlord with is offering to rent month-to-month, or in shorter term. Some owners enjoy this type of lease because they can charge bigger monthly fees compared to the long-term lease. As long as you're willing to pay the exact amount they require from you, you'll be able to rent without an apartment credit check. For example, if the monthly rent is $2,000, you could offer to pay the first three months and give them a $6,000 check upfront.
If none of the above options are possible, you can still try to convince the landlord with explanations. This will involve good communication skills and convincing powers. Give explanations for why you have no credit record and for your current financial situation. Be as creative as you can with assurances and proofs of your good intentions. You may find an understanding apartment owner that is willing to trust you. Rise to this occasion and always pay your rent on time.
The Credit Card Solution
Even if you can get an apartment with no credit check, you can expand your options by starting to build a credit history. You can start with getting a credit card and paying on time every month. In the beginning, the credit limit will be low. However, this is just the starting point and it will grow in time.
If you know getting a traditional credit card will be a problem, you might want to consider going for a secured credit card. In this situation, you can guarantee a secured deposit. The credit limit corresponds to the deposit amount. A good credit reputation can start to be built by paying all of your bills in an expeditious fashion.
Authorized Credit User
You can also start a credit record if you become authorized as the user of somebody else’s credit card. This often happens between parents and children. Before becoming the user, check the respective person’s credit score and reputation, as it will become associated with you directly.
Use a Credit Improvement Company
Another excellent option to build your credit is to use one of the respected credit building companies. I would highly recommend either Credit Karma or Credit Sesame which both have free options for using their services. These companies provide you with the necessary advice to make the right credit decisions.
Landing a no-credit-check apartment is not easy ,as owners often shy away from those who have a negative credit history. All hope is not lost, though, if you follow all of the sensible tips provided above. Hopefully you have found this advice to be useful and can put it toward finding your next apartment rental!
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. Gassett works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.