Not everyone is able to enter adulthood with a perfect financial track record. Life happens. Has your credit history taken a hit? You are certainly not alone. It’s a stressful situation to be in–that’s no doubt. But there are tips and tricks you can put into practice if you think that getting an apartment now–or in the future–will be an uphill battle due to past money mistakes.
Is your credit really even bad? Are you sure? Get a free copy of your credit report and go through it line by line to check it for accuracy. Do you see any errors? Disputing them can actually help your credit standing–even something as simple as fixing an incorrect name or address. Just do your homework. It’s quite possible that your credit history is not as bad as you are imagining it is.
Prove that you are creditworthy
It is possible that not all of your past and present credit accounts appear on your credit report–particularly if they have always been in good standing. Get copies of bills and payments for cell phone accounts or utility bills–anything that you have paid on faithfully for a long time. This shows a potential landlord that you are capable of making regular payments on time.
Reevaluate your expectations
If your credit really isn’t all that great and you are having trouble getting a lease for your own place, it might be time to check yourself. Is the neighborhood you’re looking in beyond your means? If you can, venture just a little further away into the surrounding neighborhoods. You may find more affordable apartment choices, and you will still be close to the area you originally desired.
If you have a stash of cash, you may be in a better position than other competing renters for the apartment you are eyeing. For your dream apartment, or if you are in a time crunch, paying any extra fees as a penalty for your poor credit rating might be worth it. There could also be the option to pay slightly higher rent.
Phone a friend
Is anyone willing to cosign on the apartment for you? Your options may include a parent, sibling, other relative or a close friend–anyone you trust who also has good credit. It could be a temporary solution until you work out all of your credit issues and you are able to get a place in your name only. It’s important to understand the implications of having someone cosign on your behalf, though. Essentially what that person is doing is promising to pay your rent if and when you fail to do so yourself. If you are ever in a bind, it could become a sticky situation with your co-signer. Just be sure to know all the possible outcomes if things do not go your way in terms of paying rent later on in the agreement.
Get your employer’s blessing
Your potential landlord will likely reach out to your employer to verify your employment and income. If you are comfortable doing so, have your supervisor or human resources department write a letter to vouch for you. Are you a reliable employee? Have you been on the job for a while? Have you been promoted? Do you show up on time and follow your set schedule? These are the things a landlord needs to know in order to be convinced that you will be a reliable tenant.
What other ways have you heard of to score an apartment with less than stellar credit?