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How to Rent With a Low Credit Score

Although people with a high credit score are not necessarily happier than those with a low one, they sure have fewer problems when it comes to rent. The cold truth is that renting with a bad credit score is hard. Property management is a form of business, so there is no wonder why landlords prefer dealing with those who can prove their financial stability. Credit scores are meant to reward responsible behavior, which is exactly what the majority of landlords are looking for.   

And it becomes clear why landlords give their full attention to these 3-digit numbers and reject applications based on this factor. Like it or not, but a bad credit score can get you a tough time qualifying for rent and halve your chances of renting a home of your dream. But it does not mean the war is lost. There are plenty of things you can do to minimize the destructive effect of a low credit score, and Rentberry is here to help you.

What Credit Score Is Considered Low?

Before you grow alarmed, take a time to study a credit score chart. In most cases, the score varies between 300 and 850. And although there is no rule of thumb to determine the borderline between a good and a bad score, the majority of experts agree that everything below 650 can get you into trouble. In other words, you should be geared toward 700 and higher to be considered a creditworthy applicant.

Where Do You Get One?

There is a fair amount of brands that provide credit score services, but Experian, FICO, and TransUnion are chief among them. However, with platforms like Rentberry, you should not worry about getting a credit score at all. Due to our partnership with Microbilt (Experian vendor), your credit report will be generated automatically and delivered to your prospective landlord together with your application.

Does a Bad Credit Score Affect Renting?

Yes, it does. Your credit history report is the only document that can give landlords an idea of your ability to pay rent on time. It demonstrates how good (or bad) you are at managing your finances, so this factor affects the final decision of landlords significantly. So, it’s time to reveal the secrets of renting with a low credit score.

Co-sign Your Rental Agreement

If you have a low credit score, your goal is to give your landlord an extra reassurance that you will make a reliable tenant. The easiest way to do so is to find a co-signer, aka rent guarantor, to cover your back. It means that someone else will be legally and financially responsible for the property you rent. In the majority of cases, people choose either close friends or trusted family members on the role of co-signers. It might be a hint at an obvious, but rent guarantors must have a good credit score of their own.

Make Your Landlord a Custom Offer

The cold truth is that the rental process is yet another auction. Although landlords are usually clear about the price, tenants are free to make custom offers (and the majority of them don’t miss this opportunity). Like it or not, but bidding wars exactly what is happening behind the scene of the rental world. But if you have a low credit score, you can actually take advantage of this trend. Choose a rental platform with an option of custom offers, and make your application more attractive by means of extra money.  

Example of custom offer on Rentberry

Offer a Higher Security Deposit

The other way to prove your financial solvency is to pay a larger security deposit. This approach will make you more appealing in the eyes of your future landlord and can sweeten the deal. Of course, some properties might have exceptionally strict rules regarding security deposits, but it doesn’t happen frequently.

Provide a Positive Reference

Another trick to make your landlord look past the numbers is to convince your former landlord to vouch for you. If you’ve rented a property before and had no problems with paying on time, use it for your own benefit. Asking your previous landlord for a favorable feedback will sure pay off. Positive testimonials never hurt anyone, so give it a try.

Allow an Automatic Deduction From Your Bank Account

All landlords want to be certain about getting payments in full and on time. To alleviate your landlord’s concerns, suggest an automatic deduction from your bank account. If you are ready to pay on time (and hopefully you are), it will make no difference to you. However, it can be a good tactic to increase your chances of renting a property.

Show Your Progress and Be Honest

The truth is that a bad credit score does not equal bad money management. You might be the most responsible and trustworthy human being, but it does not guarantee you from losing a job or experiencing another form of a financial step back. Some things can get out of your control and ruin your credit history. If something like that happened to you, try acting upfront. Admit your bad credit score even before your landlord asks for it and provide a reasonable explanation of your situation.

Demonstrate a Solid Income

Credit history can reveal a lot about your money management skills and overall financial situation, but there are other showings to look for. Your credit history might be shaky, but a record of a stable income can cover things up. Use a letter from your employer, documentation of tax returns, and recent pay stubs to demonstrate your financial muscle.

Suggest Paying in Advance

It might be a costly option, but it does its job just well. The truth is that landlords don’t care about the numbers in your credit score. What they actually care about is your ability to pay on time, and paying in advance demonstrates this ability better than anything else. By paying some months in advance, you can easily alleviate your landlord’s concerns and rent that dream property of yours.

As you can see, there is no need to get nerve-wrecked at the thought of your low credit score. Set aside some time and think of which ideas from this article can work for you. There is a fair amount of measures you can take to improve your tenant’s application and rent a property despite a low credit score. Find a rent guarantor, demonstrate a stable income, offer a higher security deposit, pay in advance, or combine a number of ideas to get a property of your dream. Above all, remember that you are so much more than a 3-digit number.

1 Comment

  1. Bad credit can trigger all sorts of issues, from difficulty securing a car loan to trouble getting a mortgage. But even if you’re just looking for an apartment to rent, your credit history can pose problems. If you are moving in near future, i suggest you start setting some money aside and begin looking for a new place as early as possible. The sooner you start looking, the more time you’ll have to prepare.

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