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Asked by bobby - 6 years ago
I'm about to rent my first apartment but my credit score isn't perfect. Previously, I always had roommates and the lease was under their name so my credit score wasn't an issue.

I would like information on the credit score required to rent apartments. Is it a big issue for landlords if my credit isn't that great? Am I better off renting from a private landlord or renting in a larger apartment complex?
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aprileubanks Level 1 / PR Professional
Answered 6 years ago
1
Hi Bobby,
I have worked with various real estate ventures and can tell you it depends on the landlord or property management group standards.

If you have no current civil judgments against you and no prior evictions - you should be able to get an apartment with little or no difficulty.
The more upscale - the higher your score will likely have to be.

Be sure to search for an apartment that matches your income. This will be your best shot. If your income is $2000/month - a $1000 a month apartment will be a stretch and your application will more likely be denied.

Apartment managers I have worked with in the past have accepted many people with poor credit if they pay a higher deposit. This may or may not be your case. Having the appropriate cash on hand will always be helpful. Money talks and it's difficult to negotiate a poor credit score if you don't have the money on hand.

When a previous partner and I would rent to people - we'd accept low scores (in the 500's even) if the person could explain. We had one woman who had 5 months of rent on hand for a 6 month lease - she got the apartment without a credit check.

My suggestions:
*Find apartments within your budget
*Talk to the leasing agent/landlord before filling out the application
*Be sure to have all of the appropriate documentation
*Save for the security deposit - many landlords require first and last month - regardless of your score - have the money READY (don't want to miss a great deal)
*Be honest on your applications
*Pull your own score beforehand so you can know what they're going to see (go to truecredit.com and try them - get all three bureaus)
*Enjoy searching for your apartment! Use resources like Craigslist to find a place
*If you DO have evictions or unsettled civil suits on your credit try to rent from people who own their own property - they may be more lenient


Bottom line is to work on building your credit. It's your reputation. It affects your entire life.
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katiem Level 5
Answered 6 years ago
1
It really depends on the landlord or the firm that manages the apartment complex. From my experience, there are no set rule on the minimum credit score required to rent an apartment.

Private landlords are going to be more flexible. After graduating from college, I had a friend with poor credit who was able to persuade the landlord by providing references and a letter explaining the reason for her poor credit. She tried to do the same thing at an apartment complex but it didn't work because the people managing the apartment had pretty rigid rules. Their rules were that you had to have a credit score greater than 550. Other places might require more or less.

If you have poor credit, another option is to get a co-signer on the lease. This is a great time to get your parents to help out without shelling out any money. It doesn't have a big impact on their credit score but it can help you improve your credit score as long as you pay your rent on time!

Another bigger issue that you're likely to face is the minimum income requirement. In my experience, most apartments and landlords require some proof that you have the income to pay the rent on time. I think the guideline was that your annual income had to be 40x greater than your monthly rent payments.

Also, if your annual income is significantly larger than 40x your monthly rent payments, a private landlord might be more easily persuaded to give you a break and rent the apartment.
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