You’ll need a good credit history when renting an apartment since landlords are typically looking for renters with a credit score of at least 600.

If you don’t have a credit history yet or have bad credit, you may need to specifically look for apartments for rent with no credit check. Some private landlords don’t require a credit check as a part of the rental application. Instead, they’ll look at other factors like stable employment and income.

How To Rent an Apartment With No Credit Check

Renting an apartment with bad credit will require some work and time, but it’s possible. Consider following some of the tips we’ve listed below to improve your chances of qualifying.

1. Search No-Credit-Check Apartments Online 

Search “no-credit-check apartments near me” or “property management that works with bad credit near me” online. You may be able to find properties and landlords on apartment listing sites, along with some information about the kind of background checks they do.

If you’re not sure about a landlord’s credit check policy, you can always reach out to them and ask directly. Apartment rental websites like Zumper and RentCafe are usually good resources for finding rental properties of all types.   

2. Contact Local Real Estate Agencies

Contact local property management companies and real estate agencies to ask about apartments for rent with no credit check. Another option is to ask family and friends about recommendations if they’ve rented an apartment with a poor credit score in the past.

When speaking with someone at the agency, be clear about your situation and specifically ask about their credit check policy. Ask if they have any rental listings that don’t require a credit check, and ask if you might be able to make your application stronger by offering a larger security deposit and providing proof that you have sufficient income.

3. Rent From a Private Landlord

You can get an apartment with bad credit if you look for properties listed by private landlords instead of a property management company. Private landlords are more flexible when it comes to selecting tenants, and they may be willing to consider your situation.

You can usually find “For Rent By Owner (FRBO)” properties listed on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and HotPad.

4. Provide Proof of Income

When renting with bad credit, you may be able to improve your chances for approval if you have stable employment and enough income to cover your rent adequately. Ideally, your rent should be no more than one-third of your net monthly income.

For example, if your take-home pay is $3,000/month, your rent shouldn’t be any more than $1,000/month.

Provide pay stubs, income tax returns, and bank statements showing a sufficiently high savings balance to make your rental application stronger.

5. Build a Strong Rental Application

A good rental application should demonstrate your financial stability and reliability as a renter. When you have a bad credit score, it’s even more important to ensure that your overall financials are strong.

Provide professional references from past employers and ask previous landlords for recommendation letters. These reference letters are a good way to demonstrate that you’re financially responsible.

6. Offer a Larger Security Deposit

Landlords typically ask for one month’s rent as a security deposit as a safeguard against missed rent payments and property damage. However, if you have bad credit, we recommend saving two or three months’ rent and offering it upfront to show that you’re serious about renting.

Many states have a set limit on the amount of security deposit landlords can collect. Check your state laws on security deposit limits before you offer to pay more than one month’s rent.

7. Consider a Co-Signer

Ask a family member or friend with good credit to be a co-signer for the apartment lease. Having someone else with a good credit score on your rental application can improve your chances of securing the apartment.

However, a co-signer will also be responsible for paying the rent if you don’t pay it on time, which can damage your personal relationship. Always pay rent on time in full to avoid that situation.

8. Secure a Guarantor

lease guarantor is someone who legally takes the responsibility for paying the rent if you don’t pay. Usually, a guarantor is a relative or parent.

A co-signer signs the lease and can also occupy the rental unit. However, a guarantor takes the financial liability for paying rent but is not a tenant and can’t occupy the apartment. Make sure you understand the differences between the two to decide which one may be suitable for you.

9. Consider Living With a Roommate

If you can’t find an apartment for rent with no credit check, another option is to live with a roommate. A roommate with an excellent credit history and steady income can make it easy for you to qualify for a rental.

Another benefit of living with a roommate is that it’ll lower your housing costs and allow you to save more money.

Why Rent an Apartment Without a Credit Check

Renters with a low credit score or thin credit history often face challenges in finding a safe, comfortable place to live since most property management companies require a credit check submission.

No-credit-check apartments can help these renters find a place to live, even with less-than-perfect credit. Some potential landlords may be more willing to look beyond the credit score and consider other factors like your income, rental history, and references.

Since there’s no credit check required, the application process may also be faster. Be sure to have all the necessary documents on hand before you submit the rental application to ensure that it’s approved on time.

No Credit vs Bad Credit to Rent an Apartment: What’s the Difference?

When you have no credit, it means that there’s not enough information on file for you to have a credit score. This may be because you’ve never borrowed money before, never borrowed money from a lender who reported that loan information to any of the credit bureaus, or you never owned/were an authorized user on a credit card before because you’re a young adult who’s just starting your credit journey.  

One other reason you may have no credit history is that you may be a brand new resident of the country you’re in. For instance, many Canadian citizens move to the U.S. for many reasons, but even though they may have an extensive positive credit file and history in Canada, the U.S. credit reporting agencies may not have any information on a credit applicant who is a Canadian citizen, because s/he has never borrowed money in the U.S. before. This is easily fixable in most cases, however, if the U.S. lender simply requests a copy of the Canadian applicant’s Canadian credit report(s).

Bad credit, on the other hand, is because you have a lower credit score due to missed payments, late payments, substantial credit card debt, and other credit issues.

When it comes to renting an apartment, both types of renters have potential risks. However, those with no credit may be seen by landlords as less of a risk compared to those with bad credit.

What Happens If You Have To Get a Credit Check?

In some cases, you may find there’s no option to skip a credit check when applying for a rental property. Some consumers worry that the review process will negatively impact their credit score. However, this kind of check is typically considered a “soft credit check,” which impacts your credit minimally or not at all.

“Most of the time, a rental application credit check is a “soft inquiry” of your credit report(s) rather than a “hard credit check” because you’re not technically applying for a new loan or line of credit,” explains Brad Reichert, a debt expert, and the founder and managing director of Reichert Asset Management.  

“In other words, you’re not applying to borrow money from anyone as part of this credit history review and assessment, and rather, you’re just having your credit looked into for any obvious red flags a potential landlord may be looking for,” Reichert adds.

Rent an Apartment With No Credit Check Today

Figuring out how to get an apartment when you have bad credit can be challenging but not impossible. If you’re a responsible tenant who is financially stable, has a co-signer, good references, and a higher security deposit, some property owners may be willing to consider you as a prospective tenant.

Before you rent an apartment with no credit check, be sure to review your budget and ensure you’ll be able to afford the rental payments in both good times and bad. You can also keep your housing costs down by living with a roommate. Once you lease a condo, home, or apartment, make sure to pay your rent on time (or even a couple of days early) to establish a positive payment history and improve your credit.