By Joan Lee
on May 15, 2024
Read in 2 min

So the time has come for you to secure a new apartment. With that comes a few challenges. You have to decide on a place, get in contact with a landlord and negotiate a deal for the lease. At the same time you need to see if your score is acceptable or not. Oftentimes, your score is not the full picture.

Yes, it's true that a majority of landlords are looking for scores that are 620 or higher. There are still things that you can do to increase your approval odds that aren't related to your credit. Here are some you can consider.

First, A Small Disclaimer

As we've said, there are many considerations for you getting approved for an apartment. You shouldn't get your heart set on one building or even one location. Keeping yourself open to new areas will prevent you from getting let down if you don't get approved. Keep trying. There are different things landlords will look for, even different types of credit.

It could be your FICO score or another model altogether. They could base it off of information from one bureau or many. It could be something else unrelated to your credit. You can't know. The best thing you can do is to check your credit score for free and know where you stand.

With That Said...

Remember, dealing with landlords and establishing a lease for a place has a human element. You're not dealing with a machine looking for the most ideal tenant. You can speak to them and try to establish other things that make you trustworthy. If you have a bad credit score, give them a good explanation.

A paper can't tell the full story. There could be extenuating circumstances. There could be a medical emergency. Sometimes credit can get negatively affected outside of our control. Get in touch with the landlord with a letter or email explaining your situation. It couldn't hurt.

You Could Also Pay Ahead

One excellent way to establish that you're responsible is paying a few months' rent ahead of time. This will show a prospective landlord that you're serious about paying. This could even bolster their confidence in you to make them reconsider. If you do decide to go this route, though, remember to get it documented in writing. 

If All Else Fails, Try and Get Help

There is no shame in offering someone to help you out. This is especially true if you're desperate or it's your first time. The biggest way to instill more confidence in a renting agency is to have a cosigner. This is a promise that someone will pay your rent if you fail to. An alternative would be to have someone foot you the money to help pay ahead of time. Like we discussed in the previous section, the end result is the same.

In Conclusion

If you're serious about renting, there are lots of angles to try. This applies even if you've made mistakes before with regards to your credit history. Put yourself out there and don't be afraid to try and form a connection with the owner of the property. It may surprise you how understanding people can be. Failing that, if you're able to, save up to pay in advance to show a positive intention to pay. If you know someone that can assist you, all you have to do is make sure the landlord will go for it.

This is not legal or financial advice. Please consult a legal or financial advisor for your specific situation.