How to Get an Apartment With Bad Credit

Growing up, it was just me and my mom. Living with her wasn’t bad at all, actually. We got along well, and never really had any issues…even in high school and college. Living with my mom definitely wasn’t one of those scenarios where I was itching to leave, at least, not at first.

The only thing about living with my mom that gave me that extra boost to speed up my independence was her “my house, my rules” way of doing things. This rule was mainly for staying out too late. The thing with my mom was that, if I went out with friends, whether it be to a party or club, she wouldn’t be able to go to sleep until she knew I was home safe and sound. It was a kind gesture, but in my mind, I thought, “I’m an adult, and should be able to come and go as I please.” Well…in her house, that was definitely not the case.

Her “my house, my rules” policy on how late I could stay out was all the motivation I needed. I had enough money saved up, since she let me live with her rent free all through college, but I didn’t have good credit. While I was in college, I made some bad choices financially with loans and credit cards, but at that point, I was ready to leave and fully be independent.

The apartment hunting process was a little daunting, but I eventually got my own apartment. It wasn’t the best apartment, and definitely didn’t have any of the new upgrades and fixtures, but it was my own apartment, and I loved it.

My apartment process may be different from yours, but the way I got my apartment was by working on my credit. I had to check my credit report, see what all was on there, and start to pay items down, and off, until my credit was in good standing. Everyone’s situation will vary, but if you’re having a hard time getting an apartment due to bad credit, don’t get discouraged. There are other options for you to look into.

Use a No Credit Check LandlordBad Credit

Finding an apartment complex that doesn’t require a credit check can be very hard to find, depending on where you live. Also, you want to keep in mind that if you do find an apartment that requires no credit check, it will most likely not be a luxury apartment. You will have the bare minimum of everything. Usually, these kinds of apartments can have extensive problems, and maintenance may be slow (if it’s provided under your lease) or you may have to fix everything yourself. This sort of apartment will definitely be your motivation to get your credit in order so that you can quickly move out, and into a nicer place.

Use a Cosigner

Having someone cosign for your apartment is a great option for you to look into. Just remember – your cosigner is not fully responsible for your lease. They are there to help you get into your apartment. Now, if something were to happen to you, to where you couldn’t pay your rent, then they’d be responsible for paying on your behalf.

If you’re going to use a cosigner, you want to make sure that they’re someone you can trust, and also that you’re someone they can trust as well. Your cosigner doesn’t have to do that for you, so be appreciative if they do. I didn’t have the luxury of a cosigner when I moved out. My mom tried to help me out, but her credit wasn’t so hot either, so those options were limited.

The other factor with a cosigner to consider is that they need to have good credit in order for you to get approved. On your apartment application, they will not only check your credit, but they’ll check your cosigner’s credit as well. Credit checks for apartment complexes are usually hard inquiries so it will cause both your and your cosigner’s credit scores to drop a bit, so keep that in mind when considering asking someone to be your cosigner.

Find a Roommate to be the Primary Tenant

Finding a roommate with good credit is also a great alternative. Now, I’m not sure how you would feel about sharing a space with someone, especially if they’re a stranger to you, but sometimes, you have to make that sacrifice. Trade in that personal space for a reduced cost in rent, as well as being able to live in a much nicer apartment than you would if you had tried to get approved on your own.

There’s actually nothing wrong with having a roommate. Lots of people have roommates just for the convenience, and even for the company. Now, I don’t recommend rooming with your friend, because it really can ruin friendships…I’ve seen it too many times with some of my friends, so just be cautious of that.

Most people that have roommates split everything down the middle, as far as bills, but it’s however, you and your roommate choose to arrange it. Bills still need to get paid. Electricity, water, rent, and cable with internet. A lot of these companies give you the option to pay online or over the phone. A great way to utilize the online payments is to pay with a credit card. It’s fast and convenient, plus it allows you to build your credit up as you pay. This really allows your bills to work for you.

Improve Your Credit Score if Nothing Else Works

Improving my credit score is the route I had to take. I didn’t care for the time frame it took for me to get my credit score up while I was going through it, but it was definitely worth the wait. This is an area that you have to be realistic with yourself as well. Improving your credit is not something that will happen overnight, so get that out of your head.

To really clean up your debt, you’re going to want to give yourself at least six months. On top of that, you’ll want to make hefty payments and make those payments early, to really see your credit score shoot up. Some people will even take out a loan, and use that money to pay off their debts. These types of loan options are available to those with bad credit as well, can help you raise your score much higher than just relying on your credit card bills.

Sometimes, it helps to use the snowball effect. That’s where to start with items on your credit report that have a low balance and pay on those until they’re reduced to a manageable level, or better yet, paid off completely. Then, you can move onto the second highest item and start paying on that.