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No Credit Check Apartments: 11 Ways to Rent in 2024

Finding no-credit check apartments doesn't have to be mysterious. Learn from our experts how to do it, and what to expect from the process.

In the quest for a new apartment, encountering the challenge of credit checks is a common hurdle. It's a step landlords often use to gauge a potential renter's financial reliability. Essentially, a credit check helps landlords predict how likely you are to pay rent on time, based on your past financial behavior. With data indicating that around 68 million Americans have credit scores under 601, falling into the bad or poor credit category, it's clear that this requirement can pose a significant barrier for many. This is also evident when you consider the average credit score of renters in the U.S. stands at 638.

Navigating this scenario can feel daunting, but there's good news: you're not without options. This article is designed to guide you through the process of finding no credit check apartments, offering 11 ways to rent them to give you a sense of hope and practical solutions if you're intimidated by the traditional credit check process.

Renting No Credit Check Apartments

1. Start Online

Like many people these days, you probably plan to start your apartment search online. But it can be difficult to find no credit check apartments that way since many property managers don't advertise that information. Still, you shouldn't be discouraged from sitting down at your computer. Here are some proven tips for using the internet to locate landlords willing to work with you:

Through Apartment Listing sites, you can find a lot of information about a prospective landlord in the description, including what kind of credit and background checks they do. The best way to find out a landlord's policies is to ask them directly. Use Apartment List's internal messaging system to reach out to prospective landlords. Not sure what to say? Scroll down to find a helpful template for making such inquiries.

What Are No Credit Check Apartments

2. Rent from Private Landlords

For Rent By Owner properties are privately rented out directly by the owner, as opposed to being controlled by a property management company or other corporate entity. These types of properties may be apartments, but they are often houses, townhomes, and condominiums as well. If you're flexible about property type, private properties can be a great option.

Private landlords may have more flexibility in selecting tenants and could be better if you’re renting with bad credit, especially in 2024 after all we've been through with housing and the pandemic. At the very least, you may be able to discuss your situation directly with the property owner and come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement.

3. Find Month-to-Month Leases

A month-to-month lease is a rental agreement between the landlord and tenant that allows renters to lease a unit monthly. Since these leases are more short-term, you can sometimes find landlords who waive the apartment credit check. This year it seems as if this is easier with furnished apartment rental listings than unfurnished.

4. Offer to Move-in Early

Sometimes landlords want to fill a vacancy as quickly as possible. Other apartment owners are sometimes too busy or forget to check your credit when you apply. Whatever the case, looking for rentals that need to be filled immediately is a good way to find landlords that might be willing to overlook bad credit. Furthermore, they may look more favorably on tenants willing to move in and start paying rent immediately than those who push their move-in dates to the last minute.

5. Provide Proof of Income & Savings

Your credit score doesn't always make or break your chances to rent an apartment. Very often, proof of income is just as, or even more important, than credit.

Even apartments that accept low credit still require proof of income to demonstrate a tenant’s financial security and ability to pay rent. Most landlords look for a monthly pre-tax income of at least three times the cost of the rent. If you can also show you have other financial assets like savings, that can help as well.

Look for income requirements in the descriptions of properties if you're using an online tool. If you see an income requirement, and you meet the threshold, try submitting your proof of income early in the process to improve your chances of approval.

Use our rent calculator to help you determine how much you can comfortably afford in rent.

How to Rent No Credit Check Apartments

6. Find a Character Reference

Credit scores are mostly important insofar as they tell someone about whether you would be a good tenant. Positive landlord references are often just as influential as a high credit score, especially when trying to rent with bad credit. In addition to providing your history of on-time rent payments, a landlord reference helps illustrate how responsible and trustworthy a tenant you are.

7. Offer a Higher Security Deposit

Typically, a landlord collects a security deposit to offset the potential costs of property damage, missed rent payments, cleanings, and key replacements.

Getting an apartment with bad credit can be possible if you offer a higher deposit upfront to show your landlord you’re serious about renting the apartment and aren’t afraid to put your money on the line. Refer to your state laws to see if you can legally offer more for your security deposit.

8. Find a Cosigner

If you’re having trouble finding rentals with no credit check, consider using a cosigner or someone who voluntarily takes on the responsibility of paying rent if you can’t. From a landlord's perspective, cosigners offer a stronger guarantee that they will receive rent payments.

9. Secure a Guarantor

A lease guarantor is someone who cosigns an apartment lease. These are more common with apartments that accept bad credit. The lease guarantor must legally pay your rent if you can’t cover it. Before you move forward with an apartment, make sure you know the difference between a lease guarantor and a co-signer.

10. Showcase Your Assets

If you are able to make payments on time because you have savings or other assets, that information can be helpful to a landlord as well. Additionally, if some areas of your credit history are stronger than others, be sure to point that out as well. In either case, it helps to showcase your assets to your prospective landlord. Savings, assets, proof of on-time payments, and other positive aspects of your rental history could help your application.

11. Live With a Roommate

Even if you can’t find apartments that don't do credit checks, you might be able to make it work with the right roommates. If you're lucky enough to rent with roommates with good credit scores and meet all the other criteria of good tenancy, your prospective landlord might be more willing to rent to you.

Your roommates serve as informal cosigners, and the strategy could lower your overall rent burden (indicating to your landlord that you'll have an easier time paying it).

Why Is a Credit Check Required to Rent an Apartment?

Landlords typically require credit checks for apartment rentals to assess a potential tenant's financial responsibility. Here's a breakdown of the reasons:

  • Predicting rent payments: A credit report offers a glimpse into your history of managing debts, including on-time payments for credit cards, loans, etc. This can indicate how likely you are to pay rent consistently and on time.
  • Financial stability: Credit scores reflect your overall debt situation. Landlords use this to gauge if you have a manageable amount of debt and can comfortably afford the rent on top of your other obligations.
  • Reduced risk: By looking for a history of responsible financial behavior, landlords aim to minimize the risk of tenants defaulting on rent or damaging the property due to financial strain.

Inquiring about Credit Checks

When you use tools like Apartment List, you can find a lot of information about a prospective landlord in the description. Very often, if there is an income or credit score requirement, it will appear in the property's description. This is especially true of properties that provide low-income housing, which will usually include detailed information about who is eligible to apply there.

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to find out if your credit score will impact your chances of renting is simply to ask the landlord. You never know who might be interested in your application, particularly if you can explain your situation.

If you find a property through Apartment List, you can use our messaging system to reach out to prospective landlords and inquire about income and credit requirements. If you aren't sure what to say, try copying and pasting the template below. You do not need a salutation within our messaging system.

Sample No Credit Check Inquiry Message

"My name is [Your Full Name], and I recently came across this listing for your apartment on Apartment List. The property seems to align perfectly with what I'm looking for, and I'm highly interested in learning more about it. However, before I proceed further, I would like to inquire about the application process, specifically regarding credit checks. Due to [brief explanation of situation, such as being a student, recent relocation, etc.], I'm seeking rental opportunities that offer flexibility around credit score requirements. I would be happy to schedule a time to view the apartment or discuss further details over the phone. Thank you very much for your consideration, and I appreciate your time in addressing my inquiry."

How to Build Credit for an Apartment

Places to rent with bad credit aren’t your only option. While you can't always take the time to build your credit, several of these techniques could make a big impact. In addition, good credit offers long-term flexibility when renting an apartment, a car, or purchasing a home.

Ideally, you want to keep your credit use below 30% of your available credit to avoid having your score may take a negative hit. You can pay down your debts to reduce this number, increasing your credit score.

When you're already paying down as much as you are able, here are a few other ways to improve your credit.

Credit Building Tips for Apartment Renting

Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

Your credit score may dip due to an error in your credit report. If you monitor your credit regularly, these errors can be easier to spot.

If you find errors, you can challenge them and request removal from the credit bureau. Equifax, one of the three companies that provides credit reporting in the United States, provides information about how to file a dispute when you think there is an error on your credit report.

Become an Authorized User

Ask a close relative or loved one whether they would be willing to make you an authorized user on their credit card account. If they have a history of excellent credit and a high limit, you may experience a substantial credit score boost as an authorized user.

Make On-Time Payments

Now is the time to make on-time payments across your credit cards, loans, and report your rent payments to credit agencies. This tactic is one of the quickest ways to build your credit back up.

Set Goals

Instead of searching for apartments without credit checks, you can focus on setting goals for yourself to help build your credit. Start by creating a budget to help keep you on track.

Apply for a Secured Credit Card

A secured card is a great way to build a credit history and improve your overall credit score. This is because secured credit cards are often easier to obtain than traditional credit cards since they require a security deposit that serves as collateral for the credit limit.

As a result, individuals with limited or poor credit history may be able to obtain a secured credit card and use it responsibly to build or rebuild their credit and upgrade to a traditional credit card in the future.

Get Help Locating No Credit Check Apartments

Figuring out how to rent with bad credit takes some creativity, though it’s not impossible. The good news is many landlords will still consider responsible tenants that can prove their financial stability or offer an extra incentive, like renting with a roommate.

Apartment List offers several tools for discovering information about rental properties and for reaching out to property owners and managers. Sign up for an account today to start searching for apartments in your area.

No Credit Check Apartment FAQs

What Are No-Credit-Check Apartments?

No credit check apartments do not require a credit check as part of the rental process. This is a departure from the traditional rental process, where landlords perform a credit check during tenant screening as a way to anticipate whether you will make payments on time.

What Credit Score Do You Need for Most Apartments

According to a study by Rent Cafe from 2020, the average credit score for renters was 638. We have found that a score of 650 or higher in many places will give you the best chance of finding an apartment to rent. Luckily, many landlords won't discount a tenant solely because of their credit score.

Why Do Landlords Perform Credit Checks?

The primary goal of credit checks for landlords is to vet prospective tenants to ensure they will fulfill the duties of a good tenant by paying their rent on time and caring for the property.

Can I Rent an Apartment With No Credit Score?

Yes, you can rent an apartment with no credit score. However, you may need to narrow your search to no credit check apartments, for-rent-by-owner apartments, month-to-month leases, find a cosigner, or offer a higher security deposit to increase your chances.

Can I Rent an Apartment with a 500 Credit Score?

It can be challenging to rent with a credit score in the 500s or below, but if you have income, a plan for repairing your credit, an explanation for your credit situation, and especially if you seek out a no credit-check apartment, it is possible to find a new place to live.

Do Apartments Do Hard Credit Checks?

Most apartments perform soft credit checks rather than hard credit checks. If you’re trying to avoid hard inquiries, ask about the type of credit check the leasing agent will perform, or consider apartments for rent with no credit check.

Which Credit Report Do Landlords Use?

Most landlords will use FICO credit scores to determine if an applicant qualifies for an apartment. The most common credit reports come from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion.

How Can I Improve My Credit Fast?

Lenders usually report new information to agencies every 30 days to 45 days, and sometimes quicker. You may see some improvement in your score over a month, but it depends on how much debt you have. For example, it could take as long as 18 months for your credit to recover after missed or defaulted payments or three months to improve your score if you maxed out your credit cards.

What Do Apartment Managers Look for in a Credit Report?

Understanding what a credit report says about you can help you negotiate a rental agreement. Ultimately, your credit report is just a tool that people use to decide if you will be a good tenant. That's why, if you have a good explanation for your situation, you might be able to find someone willing to work with you.

A credit report tells a landlord about

  • Your rental history
  • How much debt you owe
  • Whether you make payments on time
  • Your bankruptcy status

Even if your credit score is low, there might be aspects of your credit report that reflect positively on your payment history. Be sure to review your entire report to better understand your score.

Can a Cosigner Help Me Get an Apartment?

A cosigner with a good credit score, income, and the ability to cover your rent if you are unable to pay can help you get an apartment. Co-signers should be someone you know well, such as a parent, spouse, or friend. They do not necessarily have to be a roommate.

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Dr. Katherine Blake
CONTENT EDITOR
Dr. Katherine Blake is a content editor with Apartment List, where she helps ensure our renter and rental management content is fresh and informed by the latest data. Read More
Tristian Brown
SENIOR CONTENT ASSOCIATE
Tristian Brown is a Senior Content Marketing Associate at Apartment List, where he manages high-quality content that helps modern renters find the perfect home. He brings an immense wealth of knowledge to the team, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and European Management from the University of San Diego and EM Strasbourg Business School. Read More
Susan Finch
AUTHOR
Susan is an accomplished freelance writer whose passion for rental real estate, travel, and digital marketing has been the driving force behind her nearly 15-year career. Throughout her professional journey, Susan has become a seasoned veteran in creating compelling and informative content focused on the tenant/landlord relationship. Read More

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