Your credit score is important when you’re applying for any kind of credit, from mortgages to auto loans to credit cards. Borrowing money isn’t the only thing that could be impacted by your credit history or credit score since potential employers, landlords, cell phone companies and insurance companies may also run credit checks as part of their screening process. One question you may have is, “How does my credit score affect renting an apartment?”
Credit Scores and Renting an Apartment
There isn’t a minimum credit score to rent an apartment. While it helps to have a score of 670 or higher, different landlords have different policies on minimum scores. It’s still possible to rent an apartment with a low score since some landlords may not consider your credit score at all. They’re usually interested in your recent credit history more than everything else on your credit report.
Landlords that pull your credit report may want to understand the details behind your credit score. In particular, they may be looking for any history of late payments, accounts in collections, bankruptcies or evictions.
Other Ways Landlords Screen Tenants
Tenant screen services can give landlords a picture of you that extends beyond your credit report. These services will let them know if you’ve ever been evicted or declared bankruptcy, but they may also provide a review of your employment history or a criminal background check.
In most cases, landlords consider much more than your credit score. If your income is three to four times the amount of the rent, that can work in your favor. If you have poor credit but you’re able to pay a few months’ rent in advance, that may convince a landlord to give you a chance.
Improving Your Credit
If you’ve had credit issues in the past, it’s a good idea to work on improving your credit several months before applying for an apartment. Paying off any past due balances, paying down credit card balances and establishing a history of paying several months on time can help to raise your credit score. The longer you’re able to wait, the more distance you will be able to put between your application and any negative events of the past.
Checking Your Credit Report for Accuracy
Another thing to do before applying for a new apartment is to obtain a copy of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. Review the information that’s on your credit report to make sure it’s accurate. Check that your personal information such as your name, address and social security number are correct. Check that the debts listed are all correct and that there are no items you don’t recognize. Make sure balances and payment history are reporting correctly.
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