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How to Rent an Apartment with Your Bad Credit History

The rental office didn’t call you back and it looks like you won’t be getting that apartment. Is it your credit score? It wouldn’t be the first time bad credit parked its fat butt on top of an aspiring tenant’s dreams. The tricks that follow won’t guarantee you your next apartment, but they’ll get you back in the race.

Increase The Security Deposit

People like free things—this is the only absolute truth in the universe. And fortunately for you and me, landlords are people (even if they don’t always act like them). One surefire way to make them double-take is to offer them free stuff.

While you don’t want to increase the monthly rent, you do have another card up your sleeve that you can play to use to rent an apartment with bad credit history: you can increase the size of the security deposit. Yes, you’ll pay more now, but when you leave, you’ll get more back. The landlord will feel more secure knowing that if you don’t pay for some reason, they aren’t completely out of luck. If you offer an extra month’s rent in the form of a deposit, that’s one less month they have to worry about if you don’t pay your bills.

Find A Guarantor

At the end of the day, the landlord just wants to be guaranteed his money. The best way to do that is to bring in a fall guy. A guarantor (or co-signer) is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re unable to pay rent, your landlord goes to your guarantor and requests payment. Simple, right?

Kind of, but this isn’t a decision to take lightly. If your guarantor is unable to pay then you’ll both likely end up in court. So it’s important to consider who your guarantor will be; will your relationship hold strong in the event that you both wind up in court?

Sublet From Your Friend

What is subletting? Simply put it means that your friend has leased an apartment in the same way that you’re attempting to. Then she subleases the apartment to a third party (in this case: you). It is extremely important to know whether or not the landlord has approved this sublease—if they haven’t, it’s very illegal. Always call and make sure with the landlord before signing.

The benefit to subletting is not only the flexibility of the lease itself, but that not every landlord will do background, and credit checks on you.

Explain And Show Progress

As I said before, landlords are people and are therefore governed by emotions. And if you’re lucky, they may have been blessed with reason too.

A great way to have your landlord look past your bad credit is to explain your situation, and, if you can, show the progress you’ve made toward mending it. Bring credit statements along with you, and show them that you’ve been steadily improving your score and haven’t missed a payment in a year or two. We’ve all been through hard times—even your landlord—and showing that you’ve been able to improve shows that you’re now responsible.

At the end of the day, there isn’t a quick fix. What I’ve found though, is that coupling these tricks together makes for a great impression. You won’t always find a landlord who takes your side, but these tips give you a great chance of snagging the apartment you would have otherwise been rejected from.



  1. They’re really nice tricks, I would fall for that too [I wouldn’t think twice about the security deposit]. You explain and present each of them really well. Thanks for the great article!

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