Can You Get An Apartment Without Credit?

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Written By Alina Sokirko

It’s very common for landlords to require a credit check before approval of your rental application. This might seem like a major hurdle if you’re trying to get your first apartment and have no credit history. Luckily, you can rent an apartment without credit, but it will take a bit of extra preparation.

Renting an apartment can be frustrating if you don’t have a credit history or have bad credit, or have recently filed bankruptcy after getting into debt. 

Because these issues happen to everyone (okay, maybe not everyone), it’s best to know how to navigate them. The good news is there are ways to show landlords you’re responsible without revealing your credit report. 

Here’s how to rent an apartment without needing a credit report.

How To Rent An Apartment With No Credit

1. Bring References And Proof Of Income

A prospective tenant often needs to provide income verification to qualify for an apartment. Some cases may even require three months of bank statements listing all transactions (including direct deposit). A prospective tenant may also be required to provide references from previous landlords or employers.

2. Offer To Pay A Larger Security Deposit

It’s not surprising that landlords look for stable, reliable tenants who pay their rent on time. In addition, landlords want to rent to people with cash in the bank. So, let the landlord know you’re a serious renter who can pay your bills – and that you have more money at stake than they do if anything goes wrong during your apartment-rental tenancy.

3. Explain Your Situation To The Landlord

Landlords have many options when it comes to renting out their property. However, they also know you’re human, and they don’t expect you to come in perfect every aspect possible. Therefore, if you have no credit, explain your situation clearly and honestly to the landlord.

If you’re still young, consider informing them that you are just starting in life and may need time to build up your credit score. Also, keep a clean payment record if requested by the landlord during this process.

4. Get A Cosigner

Consider getting a cosigner if you’ve been turned down for an apartment because of bad credit. Getting a cosigner significantly improves your chances of nailing a rental apartment, and you can apply for any available place almost anywhere.

Landlords will feel better with a cosigner on your lease. If you can’t make the monthly payments on your apartment because of an illness or layoff from work, for example, the landlord will contact your cosigner instead of evicting you.

5. Find A Roommate With Good Credit

A roommate with good credit can make the difference in getting approved for your apartment. However, finding the right roommate to share bills with can be tough, especially if you’re picky about who you spend your time around.

A good tip is to ask your friends if they know anyone who would fit the bill or visit rental websites that offer roommate matching strategies. Then pay attention to their qualifications when deciding whether or not to take them up on their offer.

Tips For Getting An Apartment Without Credit

1. Rent From An Individual Owner

Renting an apartment from a private owner is one of the easiest ways to renting an apartment without credit. It’s a much better option than renting from a landlord or an apartment complex as they will almost always require a credit check.

These days, you can locate property owners on Craigslist.org or your local paper’s classified section. Once you’ve identified a potential lead, call and set up an appointment to view the unit.

2. Offer To Move In Right Away

There’s no quicker way to show the landlord you’re ready to commit and take care of their property than by offering to move in right away or before anyone else. If the landlord feels like you’re going to be reliable, they’re more inclined to rent it to you – even if you’ve had a past relationship with bad credit.

3. Prove Your Financial Stability

If you’re looking for a place to live, realize that many apartment complexes need proof of income or a significant savings balance to be approved for an apartment. In addition, landlords will want to know that someone living in the unit can pay their rent monthly from their paycheck or savings.

4. Pay More Up Front

You may have to pay a few months’ rent upfront as a security deposit to secure an apartment. Ask your landlord or manager if they will waive the fee or require a smaller deposit if you can show proof that you have been working in the state for at least three months and can afford the rent.

5. Provide Reference Letters

A tip for getting an apartment without strong credit is to provide reference letters from those who can vouch for you and your financial responsibility. For example, references should be able to confirm that you have a steady job, that you’ve paid your rent on time in the past, and that you have no criminal record.

6. Offer To Start Out Month-To-Month

Although credit checks are not always done, losing a place because of bad credit can be devastating. If you’re not very good with finances and want to avoid being ready to move in when the landlord runs a credit check, offer to start month-to-month.

7. If All Else Fails, Get A Co-Signer

The easiest, and often the fastest, way to land an apartment is to get a co-signer. Whether it’s a parent or friend, a co-signer can help you get approved for an apartment much faster than if you tried to go at it alone. Try this out if other options aren’t working out.

Getting an Apartment With No Credit Bottom Line

Pulling off a rental apartment without credit can almost seem magical, but it isn’t. So far, we’ve broken down almost everything you’ll need to make it happen. After that, you’ll only need to figure out which option is best for you and just go for that apartment you’ve always wanted.