Home > Personal Finance > 5 Tips for Renting a Home With Bad Credit

Comments 0 Comments

If you’ve recently found yourself in search of a new place to live and your credit is less than stellar, you may have encountered some difficulty.

As with most things in life, how much difficulty you face will depend on your specific circumstances.

Let’s say you’re shopping when the demand is high for rental properties in a particular area. Chances are, the qualification criteria will be more stringent.

But if a property has been dormant for months and no one seems to show much interest, the landlord may be willing to cut you some slack, especially if they have other properties to depend on for a source of revenue. It depends on the given circumstances at the time and whether or not the property manager is willing to take a risk.

Key Factors Landlords Consider 

The screening process varies, but poor payment history is a huge red flag for landlords. If you are consistently late on utility bills, possess delinquent accounts or have faced wage garnishments in the past, chances are that you may have a difficult time getting approved. If you have a hard time keeping the lights on, what are the chances that you’ll actually make timely, if any, rent payments?

On the other hand, items such as excessive student loans, credit card debt and medical bills may be overlooked as long as they do not pose as much of a threat.

Tips to Help You Get Approved With Bad Credit

Having bad credit may not prevent you from renting the home or apartment of your dreams. Here are a few tips to help you get over the hurdles you may encounter:

  • Be honest. Honesty is the best policy. If you know that the property manager will perform a credit check, beat him to the punch and lay everything on the table. When doing so, present letters of reference to make your case from those you have dealt with in the past, such as landlords and employers. Also, direct the evaluator to the notes in your credit file to strengthen your case.
  • Offer to prepay rent. Still getting the side eye? Assuming you have a substantial amount of cash on hand, offer to beef up the security deposit or even prepay rent for the first and last month to indicate that you are serious about being a responsible tenant. You may also want to see if they are willing to grant you an approval if you enroll in automatic withdrawal.
  • Sign a shorter lease. Inquire about shorter lease options in order to gain the respect and trust of the landlord. This may cost you more initially, but they may be willing to lock you into a long-term lease once you have shown them that you will be a tenant who makes timely payments.
  • Find a co-signer. If all else fails, find someone with a strong credit history and verifiable income who is willing to co-sign the lease agreement on your behalf.
  • Search for a landlord who doesn’t run credit checks. This may take a bit of legwork, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. After all, your objective is to get approved while letting your poor credit fly under the radar.

The Application Process

When going through the approval process, remember that this is a negotiation and should be treated as such. Think about the car-buying process: If you blurt out a number, you may be stuck with it, even if the salesmen had a lower figure in mind. The same principle applies here. Don’t jump the gun and do the talking first. Instead, see what they are willing to do for you.

If you still can’t get approved for a rental, work hard to improve your credit and start the search all over again when the time is right.

This post originally appeared on Money Talks News.

More from Money Talks News:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team