Leasing An Apartment with Bad Credit

Searching for a new place to live will come with a lot of challenges and rejection when your credit history has suffered a few bad marks. Landlords look for responsible tenants that can pay their rent on time.  Experiencing financial hardship is an unfortunate part of life that many people face but a bad credit record signifies financial unreliability. Luckily, there are proactive steps that you can take to establish new credit history and clear up a bad credit report.

Tip 1

Don’t hesitate to communicate with management about your past credit history. Explain your negative history and FICO score. Don't hesitate to be open about some of the unfortunate life events that you were experiencing at the time that made it difficult for you to pay your debts. By admitting your credit issues, a property manager knows that you’re honest and looking to receive a fresh start.

Also,  be sure to point out positive new credit history or items that will expire soon and raise your score.

Tip 2

If your credit history is marked with numerous negative items, searching for a new place to live presents a few challenges. Landlords look for responsibility and ability to pay from their prospective tenants, and a bad credit record signifies past problems with financial reliability. However, by taking certain steps to show good faith and a proactive nature, you can secure new lodgings and establish a new history that can help clean up a bad credit report.

Tip 3

While searching for an apartment, take steps to fix your credit problems. The obvious option would be to pay negative listings.  However, we provide a DIY Credit Repair kit that shows you step by step how to remove negative items off of our credit report without having to pay the debts that are claimed to be owed. It takes a while for fixes to show up on your credit report so providing proof at hand, such as copies of certified letters or copies of canceled checks written as a payment toward the debt.

Tip 4

While apartment searching, save up a deposit of two months amount of rent. Landlords tend to charge tenants with bad credit history a larger security deposit because they are considered high risk. The higher deposit charge is to guard against potential non payment of rent.


Offer to use a co-signer to guarantee the rent. Ask a family member or a close friend who has a solid income and good credit, to consider being your co-signer . The landlord may also require the co-signer to be a state or local resident to qualify. Some landlords and management companies don't allow co-signers, so be sure to ask when you view the apartment.

Bring documentation of stable income, and have additional references ready. A few letters from your boss, an old friend, or a workmate attesting to your trustworthy nature build trust in a landlord's eyes. Bank statements, tax forms and a job contract can also make you appear more secure.

What you will need:

  • Two months' rent for security deposit

  • Financial paperwork

  • Credit report

  • FICO score

  • References

Extra Tip

  • First, try leasing from Private Owners as they tend to have weekly or month-to-month leasing. It is a less risky option to prove that you’re capable of making timely payments. Consider it a trial run, then upgrade to a year lease after that time. Regular payment of this shorter term lease shows reliability and responsibility, and can reassure a landlord that a longer lease term is safe.