Most prospective tenants understand that a property owner may run a credit check, but they usually assume that if they have the money for the apartment, then there won't be a problem. This isn't always true. Here are a few things you can do to land yourself a good apartment even if you have bad credit.
Know What's on Your Credit Report
Sometimes it's not the credit score that scares property owners; it's the items that are on the credit report. You should know what's on your credit report before anybody else does.
You can run a free credit report once a year and print it out. This may even help you forego the credit check fee if you already have a copy for the property owner.
Ask before Applying
It's possible a credit check isn't required. You can save yourself a lot of time and headaches by simply contacting the property owner and asking if they require a credit check or not. If they do, ask outright if there are options for those with bad credit.
Keep Your Options Open
Don't assume the apartment you want is the only one like it. When you keep your options open, you may find a similar or even better apartment owned by a property owner that's more lenient with their application process.
Not every potential landlord cares about your credit score. Keep your eyes open for other apartments that can fulfill your needs without the hassle of having to convince someone of your creditworthiness.
Offer More Money
If you have the means, it's possible the potential landlord will look past any credit issues if you simply give him or her more money. There are several ways you can go about negotiating this:
- Offer a larger deposit upfront
- Offer to pay two or more months of rent upfront
- Offer both of these things
The whole reason for a credit check is to ascertain whether you are likely to pay your rent on time over the length of the lease. Paying large chunks upfront can assuage some of the property owner's worries.
Be Honest and Frank
If you know you have bad credit, let the potential landlord know. They may just work something out with you. Let the owner or manager know your current situation and how you intend to pay for your apartment. He or she may just surprise you with some options you never considered.
For example, the landlord may have a previous tenant that broke their lease. The property owner has an interest in filling that apartment as soon as possible to keep the monthly income. He or she might offer you a month-to-month lease for a little while to see if you can handle the payments.
Another scenario that can occur involves an immediate move in with no intermediate apartment upkeep. The landlord may forgo the credit check if you're willing to handle painting the walls or cleaning the carpet yourself.
These nontraditional deals can often occur when you're working with private owners rather than managed properties. But either way, if you have bad credit but want a good apartment, it doesn't hurt to ask if there are other options available.