Another tactic to get an apartment when your credit is less than perfect is to offer a larger deposit. Many states set limits on how much a landlord can demand as a deposit. Still, offering something over and above the standard deposit can make your landlord feel more at ease. In the worst case scenario, they've at least recouped more of their losses. Further, it shows that you're serious. You're not promising more money in the future. You're offering money in the here and now, putting a bit more of your skin on the lease than with the standard deposit. It will be harder for you to walk away from the deposit the larger it is and your landlord will know that.
No Credit Check
As a last resort, look for apartments that do not perform a credit check. Credit checks are par for the course when it comes to larger corporate apartments. Many small-time, mom-and-pop landlords don't require them. It's an added expense and hassle that they don't want to deal with. You might be worried that you won't be able to get a good apartment if you only look for places that don't do credit checks. While it might make your search a little more difficult, you'll be surprised at what you can find even among rental properties that do not require a credit check.
A Long-Term Plan
You might be looking for a new apartment right now. However, you should always have a long-term plan to repair your credit. This will allow you to get car loans, mortgages and even apartment rentals easier. Think not about the apartment you're trying to get right now, but about the apartment you'll be looking at a year or two down the line. A benefit of fixing your credit problems is that many rental properties ask for smaller deposits from renters with outstanding credit.
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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.