When I rented my first apartment, my landlord asked me for my information for a credit check. I had just started college and had little to no credit to speak of. I was worried that I could potentially lose the apartment because I didn’t know anything about my credit score. Since then, I’ve stayed on top of my score, but with credit card debt and student loans, it’s hard to keep a perfect score. If you have a less-than-stellar score, you might be worried about how you’re going to be able to rent an apartment. Here are some things to consider when trying to beat a bad credit rap during your next apartment search.
Know what landlords are looking for
Not every landlord has the same qualifications. Ask the landlord what the ideal credit score is for their tenants so that you know if you qualify or not.
Document your responsibility in other forms
Good credit comes in handy but it’s not the only factor that landlords take into account. When a landlord looks at your credit, they’re trying to make sure that their future tenants are responsible and will take care of their property and pay their rent on time. They’re trying to make sure you’re trustworthy and there are other ways to demonstrate your trustworthiness other than just your credit report.
Bring a letter of recommendation from your previous landlord or attach a letter to your application explaining your past financial hardships and how they have been or are being resolved so that they will not affect your ability to pay rent.
Everyone makes financial mistakes. Your ability to explain yourself and provide additional documentation can prove you are responsible beyond just what your credit score reports.
Know your credit history
Being aware of your credit score and how your current score is being affected is the most important step to building your credit. You’re entitled to a free credit report each year from sites like Experian and Equifax. Run your score and know what you’re heading into an apartment search with. Knowing your score ahead of time can prevent any surprise questions from a potential landlord and can help you understand how to build good credit going forward.