Everybody needs a place to live. But in a tough economy where credit scores are low, it may be difficult or nearly impossible to be approved to rent an apartment. Before you pull out the hide-a-bed in your best friend's basement, try these suggestions on how to rent an apartment with bad credit.
Avoid the dreaded credit check. If you're lucky, you may be able to find an apartment to rent that doesn't necessarily need to check your credit. Look in the newspaper classifieds and on rental websites for apartments in your area. You can also talk to local realtors as they sometimes have rentals available. Ask what criteria you are judged on to get you approved to rent the apartment. Some may just want first and last month's rent. Look into what information landlords need about you and you might be able to bypass a credit check and rent an apartment with bad credit.
Get a friend to recommend you. Even though you may have bad credit, you may still be a great tenant. If you can come highly recommended to landlords, they may just overlook the fact that you've got bad credit. Find someone who knows the landlord and have him or her write you a reference letter. Or, ask your friend to recommend you in person. A landlord may choose you over other potential tenants to save the stress of accepting tenants with unknown histories. This may just be your ticket in the door.
Find a co-signer. Even though you may have bad credit, you can usually still rent an apartment if you have a co-signer on your lease. Your co-signer must have good credit and take responsibility for paying any rent that you are unable to pay. It is his legal obligation to do so once his name is on your lease. This is not an ideal route for renting an apartment, as you're putting your friend's credit on the line. Consider this as a last resort when you are trying to rent an apartment with bad credit.
Give the landlord some more security. If your credit check flunked or if you refused to have one, some landlords will still consider you if you are willing to put more money down as sort of an insurance policy. Prove that your bad credit doesn't define your rent paying habits by giving the landlord several months of rent in advance. A higher security deposit might work to secure you an apartment as well. This will require you to save up a substantial amount of money in advance of renting an apartment. It's a good habit to get into anyway, ensuring that you'll have money around to pay all of your bills. That way, your credit score will improve and you won't have the stress of figuring out how to rent an apartment with bad credit in the future.