Renting an Apartment

It's not unusual for landlords and rental management companies to check your credit prior to signing you on as a new tenant.

What Are Landlords Looking for on My Credit Report?

The data on your credit report is important in helping the property owner determine whether they can trust you to make your rent payments on time each month.

See what a landlord sees when you apply for a lease.

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Your Debt-Load

 

If you're tied to several bill payments each month, you may not have much room to squeeze in a rent payment. Tight budgets may leave you with trouble finding a lease.

Consistency and Predictability

 

Rent payment is considered a bill and just as creditors expect payments to be paid on time, so do landlords. A good payment history without late payments shows that you are responsible and credible.

Blemishes Such as Late Payments

 

Late payments or delinquent accounts are red flags warning landlords that you may be a potential risk. Late payments may show up on your credit report for up to 7 years even after the account is made current.

What to Expect Based on Your Credit Score

Under 600

  • May be denied a lease
  • May need to offer first and last month's rent to lease apartment
  • May be required to pay cash into an escrow account in case of default
  • May need to set up automatic rent payments

600-669

  • May need a credible co-signer with good credit history
  • May be required to pay a higher security deposit
  • May be asked to provide letters of explanation for minor blemishes such as late payments

670 and up

  • Considered the ideal tenant
  • Should be able to secure apartment with little or no trouble
  • Should be required to only put down a minimum security deposit

Tips to Consider When Renting

  • Be prepared to share. Landlords are required by law to get your permission before checking your credit, saying "no" may delay the process or disqualify you altogether.
  • Know your credit. Familiarize yourself with your credit report before you start shopping and be prepared to provide additional explanation.
  • Dispute any inaccuracies. Check your credit report for inaccuracies, including accounts and public records, and dispute if needed.