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Is it Possible to Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit? Yes, with These Strategies!

Jenn LoConte

Jenn LoConte has over 20 years of experience in the fields of public relations, communications, and professional writing...

Jenn LoConte has over 20 years of experience in the fields of public relations, communications, and professional writing...

Jun 29 4 minutes read

At one time or another, you may have experienced bad credit. Maybe you racked up credit card debt in your twenties, not realizing what late payments can do to your credit score. Or, maybe you went through an unfortunate hardship like job loss or a medical emergency and just couldn’t make ends meet. Even seniors can experience bad credit if they don’t have sizable savings account to rely on during their later years. 

When it comes to renting a home or apartment, having a bad credit score can often make or break the approval process. Potential landlords may not feel comfortable renting to you if you’ve had a history of making late payments on your bills; too risky for them. Or, if you’ve had prior evictions, they may not even consider you at all. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to improve your financial situation and find a suitable apartment for you to call home. 

Know Your Credit Score

Start by having as much information on yourself as possible. That means find out your credit score. There are three main credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion -- from which you can obtain a credit report, free of charge, annually, and make sure to get a report from all three. If you notice errors or inaccurate information, get in touch with them directly and as soon as possible. After you’ve paid outstanding debt, ask the business or financial institution to write a letter stating the account has been paid and there are no longer any open charges.   

Letters of Recommendation

Speaking of letters, write your own letter explaining the unfortunate situation that made your credit less than desirable in the first place. As stated above, many of us have experienced a hardship of one kind or another which resulted in financial stress. Explaining your situation in an honest and heartfelt letter can go a long way with a potential landlord who may be less than eager to rent to you. Additionally, you may want to request a letter of recommendation from a previous landlord, employer, or even a bank.

Proof of Employment

If you have a steady job, that’s a step in the right direction towards dependability. Be prepared to show both pay stubs and bank account statements which can prove that you have a steady income. Keep in mind, you may be asked to pay a higher security deposit or even additional months rent, up front. And, when discussing how rent would be paid, consider setting up an automated payment system so that your potential landlord will automatically receive your payment from your bank account into theirs. 

Where to Find an Apartment

Consider where you are looking for a rental property. You may find individual property owners, through advertisements found online or in print, who do not look at credit histories. Better yet, turn to a real estate agency and explain your situation so that they can help. Jonathan Campbell, VP of DLP Realty, comments, “Make sure to align yourself with a reputable real estate agent who can act on your behalf as a reference, as well as represent you and your reputation in a positive and powerful way to get you the apartment rental you actually want, not something you would settle for.”

If you’re looking for an apartment rental and worried about your credit, consider reaching out to professional leasing agents through DLP Realty. Campbell comments, “Whether your goal is to rent or even buy, if you have bad credit, talking with an agent can be eye-opening. There are financial options and programs available with 100% financing, even with credit scores in the 580 range.”

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