I Have Bad Credit. Can I Get Approved for an Apartment?

| July 25, 2013

goodcreditHunting for the right apartment is an excruciating and frustrating process. Why is it so difficult just to find a place to live? Unfortunately, having bad credit isn’t to do you any favors, either. It’s becoming a common practice landlords checking credit history upfront.

Even if your score is less-than-desirable, there are a few things you can do to land that apartment of your dreams.

Avoid Credit Checks

It’s common practice for large-scale apartment chains, but many smaller landlords not associated with big property management companies are willing to approve leases for individuals without looking at their credit score. A newspaper’s classified section, whether in print or online, is a good place to find small, local landlords who might be more lax.

Of course, Craigslist is an option for finding apartments of every size, shape, and approval criteria in your area (just be wary of the big companies that also post there). But be warned, though; sites like Craigslist can’t compete with professional companies when locating Atlanta GA apartments that are high-quality, affordable, and offer great customer service.

A Letter of Recommendation

Not just for college and job applicants anymore, letters of recommendation can do wonders for people with a spotty credit history. Find someone with whom you’ve had a prior financial relationship. Previous landlords, banks, lenders, credit card companies, employers, and maybe even close friends and family would be a good place to start.

These groups and people can provide your new prospective landlord insight into your current financial situation and can help ease any concerns they have over your financial history.


Co-signers are a fantastic solution for individuals who have bed credit or no credit history. Co-signers are responsible for guaranteeing that landlords will receive their due money if you should find yourself in a financial predicament and unable to pay your rent. If you ever lived on a college dorm or applied for student loans, chances are your parents acted as co-signers, helping to broker a deal that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise because of your age and nonexistent credit history.

Always be cautious with co-signing, though; somebody is sticking their neck out for you and is at risk of financial penalties if you drop the ball.

Pay Up Front

A landlord’s main concern with somebody who has poor credit history is obviously whether you’re going to be able to pay rent as time goes on. One way to get approved for a loan would be paying several months of rent upfront. If the landlord immediately has three or more months of your rent already in their pocket, they’ll warm up to the idea of you as a tenant because you pose less of a risk. How can you default on monthly payments you’ve already put forward?

Having a bad credit history isn’t the end of the world, but it certainly makes getting approved for an apartment much more difficult. Following these easy steps will help you on your way to finding a new temporary home.


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