Apartments With No Credit Check

A big question for tenants online is whether or not you can find an apartment that doesn’t do a credit check.   

The short answer is “Yes, there are apartment complexes that don’t run credit checks.”  

A more thorough answer would explain to you that you actually WANT there to be a credit check for your complex, as well as other hoops to jump through, because it helps to weed out bad tenants all around, and makes the apartment complex safer, more friendly, and much quieter. 

However, some people don’t have the best credit in the world and need other options.  I am going to take you through how to find an apartment complex that doesn’t run a credit check when you apply. 

Can You Get An Apartment Without A Credit Check?

Yes, you can get an apartment without a credit check.  Some complexes don’t run credit checks at all, others will be understanding if you talk to them about why your credit is poor. 

Regardless, unless you are going with a super high-end apartment in a downtown area, if you have the will, there is probably a way.   Landlords don’t want to take unnecessary risks, which is why they run the background and credit checks in the first place, but they also want to keep their units full as well.  

Even with bad credit, you can still get an apartment.  You may have to do some atypical things such as paying several months upfront or getting a cosigner for the lease, but most landlords are willing to work with you on that. 

They are wanting to limit their risk with bringing you on as a tenant, you just have to alleviate those worries of theirs by doing things a bit out of the box.   

Do All Apartments Check Your Credit Score?

No, not all apartment complexes will run a credit check.  

You should be able to determine whether or not a particular complex runs a credit check by simply looking at the application process online.  If they mention something about a background or credit check, then they probably run one.  If they don’t mention it, then they probably don’t.  

The last thing you want to do though is to call an apartment complex asking if they run a credit check.  There is nothing that perks the warning bells of a landlord than this question.  It is basically like asking them if they would like to have future problems at their apartment complex. 

If you are wanting to get into a place that doesn’t run a check, then look for those applications online that don’t do it or automatically funnel you to a site to have it done.  The apartment complex is going to have YOU pay for your own credit and background check to be completed, just this in and of itself is a barrier to entry for poor tenants.   

But remember, you WANT there to be some hoops for tenants to have to jump through to get a unit at the apartment complex.  Just like it is proving a barrier for you to rent, it provides that barrier for other people as well.  And only the most serious of applicants are going to go through the application process and pay the money to have the checks done.  

So, while you may THINK you want a complex that just lets anyone in, trust me, you don’t. 

Do Apartments Deny You For Bad Credit?

Yes, apartment complexes frequently deny people with bad credit because their past history shows that they are a poor risk to take.  This is why a credit check is done in the first place. 

Something that should be taught in school is how to manage your finances straight out of high school.  Most people don’t realize the long-term impact that having bad marks on your credit score can have from everything from getting a job to buying a car, to leasing an apartment.  Your credit score is going to follow you around for the rest of your life, and it is WAY easier to do things that lower your credit score than it is to do things that raise your credit score.  

The entire reason for credit checks with apartment complexes is so that landlords can check the person’s past history with debt and other responsibilities.  Nobody wants to be stiffed out of an exchange, landlords are no different than anyone else.  The credit check helps them determine what kind of financial renter they are going to be, and if they have a history full of evictions and past-due debt obligations. 

Just like a background check is going to let them know if you have any felonies or arrests or outstanding warrants against you, a credit check is going to look at your financial record in the same way. 

Can I Get An Apartment With A 580 Credit Score?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to rent an apartment with a 580 credit score or less.  You just may have to do additional things such as get a cosigner or pay a few months rent upfront to get your landlord to overlook your credit score. 

There is no set number in the industry that makes a landlord automatically reject someone.   When I am looking through a person’s credit history, I am looking to see a couple of things.  

First, I am looking for their current outstanding debt, and who, if anyone, is coming after them for collections.  If I as a landlord is 6th down the list for getting paid each month, chances are that there is going to come a time when I am not going to get paid, and that is not only going to be a hassle and stress for me, I am probably going to lose money on top of it.  

Secondly, I am looking for evictions.  If the person has evictions in the last 7 years, it is going to show up on their credit report.  Evictions are HUGE RED FLAGS, not just for me, but for all landlords.  An eviction says that something went terribly wrong in the past.  And there is no better predictor of the future than past behavior.  

The final thing I am looking for is their income.  Do they have enough income to cash flow all of their outstanding debt obligations AND pay the rent at my complex.  If their income looks solid, then I am more likely to overlook a low credit score. 

The number of the credit score doesn’t mean as much to me as the combined factors in the credit report that applies to my business.  So, keep that in mind when you are applying to a complex, and know that a bad credit score isn’t going to be the end-all for your chances to rent there. 

Can I Get An Apartment With An Eviction?

You can rent an apartment with an eviction, but you are going to have to explain what happened to your new landlord and give them reassurances, either verbal or monetary, that they will be a good choice for a tenant. 

An eviction will show on your credit score for 7 years.  That means an eviction is going to follow you around for a significant part of your life.  Do anything possible to prevent your landlord from filing eviction on you, your future self will thank you.   

If you DO have an eviction on your record, it is up to you to convince your landlord that you are a worthy risk to take renting to.  One way you can do this is by offering to pay several months of rent upfront.  

Another thing you should do is talk to your future landlord about what happened during the time you were evicted.  Let them know what happened, what mistakes were made, and assure them that the same situation will not happen at their complex.  

The final thing that will help you get an apartment with an eviction is to get a cosigner.  A cosigner signifies to the landlord that someone else thinks highly enough to not only vouch for your but vouch for you with their wallet backing them up.  If you are not able to make your rent payment, the responsibility then falls on them to make it for you. 

When more than one party is involved with being responsible for rent, it alleviates some of the worries the landlord has that you may be incapable of making the rent in the future. 

Will Apartments Approve Me?

Apartment complexes want great tenants.  That means paying on time and in full each month, not causing any unnecessary issues, and just being a good human being.  

Your credit score tells your financial background before your landlord ever knew you.  Keeping it clean of unnecessary black marks is going to go a long way in getting you approved for the apartment you want.  

Your landlord will more than likely call your previous landlord as well.  If you have been a good tenant in the past places you have lived, this is also going to smooth the path to a new apartment.  

Being a good tenant and a good human being is going to go a long way no matter what your credit score says about you.

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John Boettcher

Co-Founder of Apartment School and a previous renter turned owner of many multi-family properties across the United States, with many years of experience in all aspects of the apartment, real estate, and investing world.

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