Good credit seems like the gateway to a lot of things: small loan applications, car purchases and even apartment leases. That’s because credit scores are indicators of a person’s likelihood to pay on time.
For instance, when it comes to renting an apartment, your credit history will prove to your landlord that you can either make your monthly payments or not. It also lets them know whether certain precautions are needed to ensure that you will pay on time. In some cases, landlords require a higher security deposit.
But what if you don’t have credit or you have a bad credit history? Does that mean all hope is lost?
Worry not! No credit check apartments are here to save you from your real estate woes.
What are No Credit Check Apartments?
As its name implies, no credit check apartments are apartments with no credit check required. Landlords or apartment management companies don’t require a credit check as part of their rental process.
This is a drastic shift from the traditional rental process, which requires landlords to perform a credit check before they lease a unit to a potential tenant. But in theory, any apartment can be considered a no credit check apartment. But finding luxury or upscale apartments without a credit check is nearly impossible.
Apartments with no credit check are often rented to eager renters. While it may sound like “the dream,” there are several risks involved for prospective renters. In some cases, landlords that offer no credit check apartments impose late rent fees and other additional fees. Some don’t even consider doing background checks. So if the landlord isn’t checking on you, they aren’t checking your neighbors either.
If you see come across no credit check apartments, be wary and critical. Usually, landlords are willing to forego the credit check because they’re trying to lease an undesirable unit or want to fill all the units with tenants.
But there are cases where landlords are generous enough to lease an apartment without a credit check. However, these landlords can be more selective with the tenants they allow to rent apartments with no credit check.
How Can I Get An Apartment With No Credit Check?
Apartment living need not be an impossible dream just because you don’t have credit. If you currently don’t have a credit history, here are some ways you can score apartments with no credit check:
Rent from An Individual Owner
Many management companies and apartment complexes require a credit check. However, there are individual owners who allow renters without credit history or an established credit.
In general, these landlords will still require proof of your income’s stability. To gain their trust and to spare yourself from future landlord troubles, only rent apartments that suit your budget, even if you get approved for a more expensive place.
Request to Move In Immediately
Managing more than one empty apartment can be costly for landlords. They have to pay for the utilities and mortgage without any reimbursement via the rent. In this case, especially if you’re living in an area with low rental demand, the absence of credit checks won’t stop you from renting an apartment as long as you can move in ASAP.
Pay a Security Deposit Upfront
Landlords are more likely to rent you an apartment if you pay a few months’ rent upfront. By paying at least two to three months’ worth of rent, you appease your landlord, especially those who have experience with wayward tenants. For your peace of mind, document this payment so you can get back at it once your lease ends.
Prove Savings or Income Balance
Another way to secure an apartment with no credit or no check is to prove that you have a stable income and the ability to adequately cover the rent. In general, it’s best to keep your rent expenses to less than a third of your salary. So, for example, if you make $4000, look for apartments with a rent of $1,300 or less.
But what if you don’t have a job or a stable income? You can still get approved for cheap apartments with a high savings balance. The required savings varies on the apartment complex or management company.
Start Month-to-Month Payments
Most landlords are patient. It can take them months before they evict a non-paying tenant, especially if the tenant refuses to leave. By going month-to-month with your payment or signing a three-month lease, landlords have the option to not renew your term, especially if you’re not paying. You may be confident with your paying abilities but you have to prove that with a good track record of on-time payments.
How to Find an Apartment With Bad Credit
On the other side of the spectrum, there are people who do have a credit history but it’s a bad one. It happens to the best of us: one day, you just find yourself at the end of a journey that resulted in bad credit. There are many reasons behind low credit scores but all of them mean that your credit standing could affect your chances at scoring an apartment.
Ideally, you’d find an apartment that suits your needs and fits your budget while you improve your credit score. Or if possible, you’ll magically find bad credit apartments. But that’s not always the case since property managers and landlords require a tenant screening that involved credit reporting or checking.
Fortunately, your bad credit need not ruin your apartment dreams (or your future home dreams!). Here are some ways to secure an apartment despite your poor credit history.
Consider Multiple Apartments
Your bad credit may require you to look for apartments far from your desired area. Still, applying for different apartments across multiple neighborhoods increase your chances of finding your new home. Keep in mind that apartment owners have different credit score requirements.
Finding multiple apartments in the area you want to live in takes advantage of the variability of landlords in the area. When shopping for apartments, read reviews of the properties. Previous tenants may talk about the loose requirements or the credit score requirements of the landlord.
Get Some References
References go a long way for tenants with bad credit histories. If you have an employer who can speak about your dependability or a previous landlord who can guarantee your paying abilities, use them as references for your rental application. They can also back up difficult circumstances that contributed to your bad credit (e.g. medical emergencies or family tragedies).
Your references should be people who can vouch for you. If they can, landlords will most likely allow you to rent an apartment despite your bad credit history.
Be Honest About Your Situation
Don’t let your potential landlord find out about your situation the “hard way.” Landlords will be disappointed if you tell them about your bad credit history once they’ve expressed their interest in letting you rent. Instead of disappointing them, be upfront with a landlord or property manager as soon as you apply.
Tell them why you have a bad credit history, as well as assure them that you’ve made the necessary changes to improve your credit score. By being honest with them, you build a good reputation with your potential landlord — a must for a quality renter and landlord relationship.
Pay Your Bills on Time While Apartment Hunting
Even though your credit will take a while to recover, paying your other bills on time is a great way to establish a positive track record. Be organized with your bills and make sure that your budget allows for on-time payments. This could mean being stricter with your budget or giving up pricey hobbies but if it improves your credit score, it’s worth the sacrifice.
Get a Cosigner
A cosigner can help you convince a landlord that you can pay the rent on time, despite the bad credit history. Cosigners are people who volunteer to take on the responsibility of making payments if you can’t. From the perspective of your landlord, a cosigner is a strong guarantee that they will receive payment on time.
Your chosen cosigner must have a higher credit score and income than you or any traditional renter. Since it’s a major responsibility, your cosigner should be a family member or very close loved ones.
No credit check apartments are the saving graces for house hunters without a credit score or with a bad one. But you have to be careful with the apartments you add to your list. At the same time, you have to be mindful of your credit score, too. While looking for a quality apartment, improve your credit score, too!