Renting with bad credit requires a strategy for success

Renting with bad credit is a challenge more people are facing. It requires a clear strategy to succeed. Image: Thinkstock

Renting with bad credit is a challenge a great number of people are facing these days, thanks to the housing crisis, mortgage lending meltdowns, unemployment, foreclosures, etc. Circumstances beyond their control have put many people in the bad credit doghouse. But a decent place to live, or simply a roof over one’s head, is a fundamental need that must be met. The bottom line is simply that the rent must be paid. For people with bad credit who can pay the rent, securing a place to live requires a strategy.

Know the facts about your credit score

It’s tough for renters with bad credit to lease an apartment or house, whether the economy is good or bad. AOL Real Estate says that credit scores, income and employment history, are the major factors landlords use to evaluate renters. The first priority a renter must address is to know where they stand with their credit. Anyone can get a free credit report at This is the official government site for the free credit report everyone is entitled to by law once a year. Credit scores are available for purchase from any of the nationwide credit reporting agencies providing the credit report via this site.

Stay away from a credit check

The best way to successfully rent with bad credit is to avoid getting a credit check. According to CNN, houses or apartments rented by an independent owner may be more easygoing than properties managed by a professional management company. Start by checking Craigslist, free newspapers and bulletin boards. Landlords advertising in these venues are trying not to invest any money in advertising rental units, and the odds are better they won’t do credit checks. When you ask about the place, ask them about the criteria they use to evaluate renters. If a credit check isn’t on their list, you’re a step closer to success.

Other bad credit rental options

The reality for renters with bad credit is that most landlords require a credit check and a completed application before they will lease an apartment. According to, options are still available. Getting someone to vouch for your financial responsibility can help offset bad credit. A family member or good friend with good credit can also act as a co-signer on the lease. Getting a roommate with good credit could help. But keep in mind that if your name isn’t on the lease, you’re not building your credit with a rental history.