How to Rent with Poor Credit

Going about overcoming a poor credit history is not unlike finding a job. You need to have a well prepared “resume” with references and overcome the landlord’s concern that you won’t pay your rent on time or possibly at all.

Searching for rentals listed by private landlords and not management companies is your best bet. Your credit rating may never rise above the radar as some private landlords do not use sophisticated credit checking systems to qualify their tenants.
Real estate agents or property management companies with rentals will run a credit report and adhere to stricter rental guidelines for qualifying and accepting rental applications. First, call the apartment community or property management company/realtor to determine their credit policy and what is needed. If there is some flexibility in the policy.

  • Explain your situation
  • Indicate you are relocating with your company (have your offer letter available)
  • If this is a promotion or continuous employment, emphasize this, as well
  • Then get a credit rapid rescore

Things to be aware of/ways to compromise:

  • Often times, as a sign of good faith, you could offer to pay an increased security deposit if you can afford it. Usually it can be negotiated to have a payment plan over 2-3 months. Note: Some states limit the amount of security deposit that can be collected up front. If that’s the case, perhaps you can pay 2 month’s rent up front.
  • Get 1-2 references from those whom you have established a steady payment plan with such as your bank, a loan officer, or even credit card company.
  • In advance, determine who can be a co-signer if needed (someone with great credit). These are some web sites that offer this service (although I have not investigated them);;
  • Consider and talk with employer to see if an automatic withdraw, payroll deduction or direct transfer deposit is a possibility. This provides a landlord a better guarantee of payment. You can also look for other options such as credit union in order to ease you on your financial troubles.

You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax; however, it will be missing a beacon (or credit) score that is commonly used to approve an application. You can also obtain a credit report at: or

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