How to Rent an Apartment with Bad Credit

Renting an apartment with bad credit can be tough, but it’s certainly not impossible. And when you find an apartment you really love, you don’t want to give up on it due to a bad financial track record. After you’ve learned the basics about credit, you can take the right steps to facilitate renting an apartment with poor credit. Here are 6 ways you can improve your chances of renting with bad credit.

1. Order Your Credit Report

Before you start looking for an apartment, find out what your financial history looks like.  You are entitled by law to access your credit report for free once every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com.  This site is the only one that is federally authorized to give you a free credit report from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).  Once you receive them, make sure your credit reports don’t have any inconsistencies or false information.  If you will be applying at a lot of apartments, consider making copies of your report and handing them in with your application directly.  (Too many inquiries on your report can hurt your score because it can appear as though you are attempting to get a lot of new credit in a short time frame.)

2. Know Your Credit Score

When you order your free annual credit report, you can usually request your credit score for a small fee.  Otherwise, you can use an online monitoring service that provides you with your credit score for a fee.  Evaluate your credit score so you know what you’re working with and what apartment landlords will see when they process your rental application.

3. Be Honest with the Landlord

When you do meet with the landlord or leasing agent, be honest with them about the state of your credit.  Working one-on-one and establishing a relationship may help you secure a lease.  Talk to the landlord about the reasons for your bad credit and the steps you plan to take to repair your credit.

4. Provide Proof of Reliability

When working with the landlord, you can also go one step further and provide additional documentation of your reliability.  Landlords run credit checks to evaluate your ability to be a responsible renter, and providing documentation to supplement your poor credit could give that credibility a boost.  For example, consider letters of recommendation from your employer, a letter from your previous landlord, or a letter explaining the state of your credit and how you are working to better it.  Ask the landlord if there is any other information you can provide, as well.

5. Get a Cosigner for Your Apartment Lease

If you have a friend or family member who is willing to vouch for your financial credibility, have them cosign your lease.  This is a good option for renters with bad credit or a minimal credit history.

6. Pay in Advance

Though not the most ideal option, if you have the cash then you can offer to pay up front for your deposits and the first several months of rent.  You can also offer to pay a larger security deposit than the one required in the lease.

For more help with moving apartments, renter’s insurance, and keeping up with your credit score, visit the ApartmentSearch.com Moving Center.

Additional Resources

Apartment Safety and Security
Feel safe in your own apartment by following these tips on apartment safety and security from ApartmentSearch.com.
Apartment Safety Checklist
Feel safe in your own apartment by following these tips on apartment safety and security from ApartmentSearch.com.
Apartment Safety Tips for Summer Vacations
Going on summer vacation? Make sure your apartment, pets, and car are safe by following these 12 apartment safety tips!
Tips for Apartment Emergency Preparedness
Stay safe in your apartment during an emergency with these tips for being prepared from ApartmentSearch.com.
A Beginner’s Guide to Exploring New York City
Moving to New York City? Here’s our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in the heart of the empire state.
A Beginner’s Guide to Oklahoma City, OK
Moving to Oklahoma City? Use our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in this southern metropolis.
A Beginner’s Guide To Philadelphia, PA
Moving to Philadelphia? Use our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in this historic city.
A Beginner’s Guide To Phoenix, AZ
Moving to Phoenix, AZ? Use our quick and easy guide to living, getting around, and having fun in this event-filled city.
A Beginner’s Guide to Pittsburgh, PA
Moving to Pittsburgh, PA? Use our quick and easy guide to finding an apartment, getting around, and having fun in this historic city.
Advice for Moving to Sacramento, California
Take the stress out of moving to Sacramento with this helpful moving guide. Get tips for renting an apartment in Sacramento, enjoying the city and more!
Show More
Apartment Staging Tips
Staging a model apartment for renters to tour? Use our quick and easy guide to home staging for potential new tenants.
Student Furniture Rental
Want to outfit your new ApartmentSearch.com apartment with stylish, affordable furniture? Learn more about CORT’s rental furniture options.
The Benefits of CORT Furniture Rental for Military Members
Are you a military service member moving to a new home? CORT Furniture Rental is easy & convenient. Learn more!
What Is the CORT Personal Service Guarantee?
Renting furniture for your apartment? Choose a company that respects its clients. CORT Furniture Rental is dedicated to upholding its Personal Service Guarantee.
Why Rent Furniture Instead of Buying New?
"What's the advantage of furniture rental vs. buying new? Here are some situations in which renting furniture may make more sense for you.

More Like This

A Guide to Apartment Lease Types
Don't know what type of apartment lease you need? ApartmentSearch.com goes over the different types of apartment leases to help you decide.
Checklist for Moving to Another Country
Moving internationally? From figuring out furniture to getting health insurance, here's what you need to know to make your move as simple as possible.
Choose the Best Movers
It doesn’t matter if you’re moving for the first time or hopefully the last; if you don’t plan accordingly, relocation can be a logistical nightmare.
How to Find a Handicap-Accessible Apartment
ApartmentSearch.com's guide to finding housing and apartments that are handicap-accessible. Your new home is waiting for you!
How to Read Apartment Ratings and Reviews: Can You Spot a Fake?
Learn how to spot a fake apartment review when searching for an apartment. ApartmentSearch.com offers tips for finding the right place to live.
Pros and Cons of Renting an Apartment vs. Buying a House
Trying to decide whether you should rent an apartment or buy a house? Use this pros & cons guide from ApartmentSearch.com to help.
show more
Renting an Apartment Without US Citizenship
Renting an apartment in the U.S. when you’re on a visa or Green Card can be confusing! Learn how to rent an apartment without citizenship, with ApartmentSearch.
Renting Apartments and Credit: A Guide to Credit Scores and Reports
Learn more about why apartments check your credit score when you rent and what your credit score means at ApartmentSearch.com.
The Ultimate Apartment Moving Checklist
Moving apartments? Use this ultimate checklist to make sure you take care of everything necessary to make your move go smoothly.
Tips for Moving with Pets
Moving can be stressful for you & your pet! ApartmentSearch.com offers tips to make moving with your pet go more smoothly.
Top Questions to Ask on an Apartment Tour
Ask the right questions on your apartment tour, so you can find the perfect place to live. ApartmentSearch.com has compiled the top questions to ask the apartment guide.
What to Know When Relocating for Work
Relocating for work? The duo could make for serious stress, especially if you need to find an apartment for rent. Check out 5 tips for a smoother move.
What to Look for in an Apartment
Don't get overwhelmed by all of the different apartment options available! ApartmentSearch.com has put together a list so you know what to look for on an apartment tour.
Why Choose International Furniture Rental?
Moving internationally? Choose the CORT Global Network for international furniture rental packages & more. Click here & learn how!