How To Rent An Apartment Or House With Bad Credit

By Minh Tong Reviewed by Nima Vahdat Updated Apr 02, 2024
How To Rent An Apartment Or House With Bad Credit

Even with a poor credit score, there are actionable strategies you can employ to increase your chances of securing an apartment or house.

You require a place to call home, yet your credit report lacks the favorable information landlords seek, while your credit score sits at the lower end of the spectrum. 

Finding yourself in this predicament can be challenging. 

And while you may need to invest a bit more effort, explain your credit dings, and prove that you’re a good renter – renting an apartment or house is definitely achievable.


  • Bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t rent an apartment or house, but it may require extra effort and preparation.
  • Landlords often consider factors beyond credit score, such as income and rental history, when evaluating rental applications.
  • Taking proactive steps to improve your credit and demonstrate financial responsibility can enhance your rental prospects.

Can I Rent An Apartment Or House With Bad Credit?

Although your options may be limited, you can still rent an apartment or house with bad credit

Many landlords understand that individuals may face financial challenges that impact their credit, and they may be willing to work with you if you can demonstrate other positive attributes, such as stable income and a solid rental history.

What Credit Score Do I Need To Rent An Apartment Or House?

While there’s no universal credit score requirement for renting an apartment or house, most landlords will review your credit report as part of the application process. 

Many property managers and individual landlords rely on the FICO Score to efficiently assess your credit risk. 

Generally, a credit score below 620 is considered subprime or poor, which may make it more difficult to rent an apartment or house. 

However, some landlords may be willing to overlook a low credit score if you can provide other forms of financial assurance, such as a co-signer or a larger security deposit.

Why Bad Credit Impacts Your Ability To Rent

Before finalizing any lease agreements, most prospective renters have their credit history scrutinized by their potential landlords.

Landlords use credit reports to assess the risk of renting to potential tenants. 

A history of missed payments, defaults, or other negative marks on your credit report may raise concerns about your ability to pay rent on time. 

Additionally, bad credit may indicate financial instability, which could make landlords hesitant to enter into a rental agreement with you.

Tips To Rent An Apartment Or House With Bad Credit

The process of looking to rent an apartment or house with bad credit can understandably evoke feelings of nervousness. 

However, following the steps below can enhance your prospects and increase your chances of securing a lease.

Tip #1 – Know Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a representation of your credit reports and payment history. 

You should know this number before you fill out an application for an apartment. Landlords typically favor applicants with good credit, which usually translates to FICO Scores of 670+.

Begin by obtaining a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 main credit bureaus from

Next, review it for any errors or inaccuracies that could be dragging down your score. If you notice any inaccuracies, like unfamiliar collection accounts, signs of fraud, or balances that you’ve already paid off, it’s crucial to dispute them promptly.

Correcting these discrepancies can give your credit profile a much-needed boost.

Tip #2 – Offer A Larger Security Deposit

To instill confidence in landlords, consider offering a larger-than-normal security deposit (if you have the money to spare).

A higher deposit or a few months’ rent ahead of time provides landlords with a financial cushion in case of missed rent payments, making them more inclined to overlook your credit history.

Tip #3 – Provide Proof Of Steady Income

Demonstrating a stable and sufficient source of income is crucial when renting with bad credit, even if you don’t really have the credit to back it up. 

Compile documents such as pay stubs, employment verification letters, or bank statements to showcase your ability to afford the rent consistently.

If your income isn’t consistent, a substantial savings balance might suffice. The required amount varies by apartment complex or management company, but ideally, it should cover several months’ worth of rent payments.

Tip #4 – Get A Cosigner

In certain cities, having a cosigner may be mandatory for renting apartments if your income falls below a specific threshold relative to the monthly rent. 

Even if it’s not obligatory, having a cosigner with a strong credit history could be the solution to your apartment search challenges.

A co-signer agrees to take on responsibility for the lease if you fail to meet your obligations, offering landlords an added layer of security and increasing your chances of approval.

Tip #5 – Write A Letter Of Explanation

Take the initiative to compose a sincere letter detailing the circumstances surrounding your credit history. 

Explain any negative marks on your report, such as past financial hardships or unexpected expenses, and outline the steps you’ve taken to improve your financial situation.

Obtaining letters of recommendation from previous landlords affirming your reliability and dependability could also greatly improve your chances of securing a lease.

Tip #6 – Offer To Set Up Automatic Payments

Another way to increase your odds of apartment approval is to propose setting up automatic rent payments directly from your bank account. 

This demonstrates your commitment to timely payments and provides landlords with peace of mind knowing that rent will be received promptly each month.

Tip #7 – Search For Landlords Who Don’t Check Credit

If your potential new landlord is still on the fence about accepting your application, explore rental opportunities with landlords who prioritize factors beyond credit scores.

Some landlords may be willing to overlook credit history in favor of other qualifications, such as rental references, income stability, or personal recommendations. 

Research rental listings that explicitly state leniency toward credit checks or consider reaching out directly to landlords to discuss your situation.

Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

Pay Bills on Time: Your payment history is a significant factor in determining your credit score. Ensure you pay all bills, including credit card bills, loan payments, and utility bills, on time every month.

Reduce Credit Card Balances: Aim to keep your credit card balances low relative to your credit limits. High credit utilization ratios can negatively impact your credit score. Try to pay down outstanding balances and avoid maxing out your credit cards.

Avoid Opening Too Many New Accounts: Opening multiple new credit accounts within a short period can lower your average account age and increase the number of hard inquiries on your credit report, both of which can lower your score.

Regularly Check Your Credit Report: Monitor your credit report regularly to identify any errors or inaccuracies that could be dragging down your score. Dispute any errors you find with the credit bureaus to have them corrected promptly.

Diversify Your Credit Mix: Having a mix of different types of credit accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages, can positively impact your credit score. However, only take on new credit when necessary and ensure you can manage the payments responsibly.

Keep Old Accounts Open: Closing old credit accounts can shorten your credit history and reduce the overall age of your accounts, which may lower your score. Keep old accounts open, even if you no longer use them, to maintain a longer credit history.

Use Credit Responsibly: Use credit wisely and responsibly. Avoid applying for unnecessary credit, and only borrow what you can afford to repay. Demonstrating responsible credit behavior over time will help improve your credit score.

Consider Credit Building Products: If you have a limited credit history or a low credit score, consider using credit-building products such as secured credit cards or credit-builder loans to establish or improve your credit history.

Final Thoughts On How To Rent An Apartment Or House With Bad Credit

Renting an apartment or house with bad credit may pose challenges, but it’s not impossible. 

By taking proactive steps to address concerns, such as offering a larger security deposit or providing proof of income, you can increase your chances of securing a rental despite your credit history.

At Americor, we understand the importance of managing your finances wisely. 

As America’s trusted source for debt relief solutions, we aim to empower you with financial knowledge that can lead to informed decisions, whether it’s about savings, investments, or managing debt.

If your debt has become unmanageable and you have difficulty making your debt payments each month, then you should consider a free consultation call with one of our certified Debt Consultants, who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

By taking proactive steps today, you can put an end to your financial stress and work towards a brighter financial future. 

Remember, there is always hope for debt relief, and our team of experienced professionals are ready to guide you on your journey to regaining control of your finances.

For more information on Americor’s debt relief services, contact us today to see how we can help you eliminate your debts, and get on the fast-track to becoming completely debt-free!


Minh Tong

Minh leverages decades of experience in marketing, sales management and technology to provide high-level advice and lead new initiatives. Minh has a Bachelor of Science in Business/Managerial Economics from University of California at Irvine. He brings over 20 years of sales and executive management experience to the company and his responsibilities include customer service improvement, professional development, and carrying out communications and marketing. Originally from the east coast, Minh resides in southern California and enjoys spending time with his family, going to the beach, and playing a variety of sports.