Finding a new apartment to rent is hard. As if it wasn’t bad enough you have to jockey for space at crowded showings, you now have to worry about bidding wars pumping up the already too-high prices. And if you miraculously manage to jump through these hoops, you still might not get the apartment of your dreams.
According to the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, background screening could be your downfall. These background checks — which can include peeks at your credit score, payment abilities, and rental history — may stand in the way of obtaining rental housing.
Some landlords check your credit before they’re willing to welcome you as their new tenant. If this check reveals bad credit, you might lose the apartment.
Bad credit results from paying bills late and carrying a lot of revolving credit. A bad credit score most frequently impacts your ability to get an installment loan or line of credit.
Some financial institutions may be willing to work with people who have low scores, but not all financial institutions share their enthusiasm. These financial institutions may deny you an installment loan or line of credit if your score falls below their limits.
Credit can split landlords in much the same way. While you can find mom-and-pop lenders who don’t put much value on your score, the biggest rental companies may deny you outright for bad credit. Financial institutions like MoneyKey suggest that you keep close tabs on your credit score to know where you stand.
2. Ability to Pay
Landlords want to know you’ll pay rent every month without fail, and they can ask you to share information that proves you can handle this payment.
The credit pull from above is a part of this equation. However, they may also verify your income by asking for copies of bank statements. This way, they can guarantee you have a bank account and that you make enough monthly income to handle rent.
You have the right to deny this review of your bank balance, but this might jeopardize your candidacy, especially if another hopeful renter holds no such scruples.
3. Rental History
Your landlord may also get information about your past rental situations by asking for references from previous landlords. They may also go through a private eviction database to see if your name comes up.
If you’ve ever been evicted before, this blip may cost you a rental unit. You might be able to convince them otherwise if you can prove to this new landlord that it was a mistake in your past and you have no chance of doing it again.
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Your Next Apartment
You can’t control how many people you have to compete with over a single apartment. With that out of your hands, you have to look at the things you have power over. Your credit score and income are two things you can work on.
Consider what habits you need to change to boost your credit score and income. And if that fails, consider these alternatives that may increase your chances of rental success:
- Apply with a co-signer who has better credit and more income.
- Avoid complexes owned by large companies.
- Investigate all rental options, including rooms in a shared house.
- Search for mom-and-pop landlords.
With hope, these tips can help you find a comfortable place to call home. Good luck!