Does Credit Score Matter When Trying to Lease? How does your credit stack up as a tenant?

Obtaining a rental lease usually requires at least fair credit.

For those unable to purchase a home because of a lack of funds or poor credit, renting is the obvious alternative to home ownership. However, landlords often perform a credit check prior to renting their homes. Generally, when looking for a rental, a credit score in the low 600s is a minimum requirement.

Apartment Credit Scores

When it comes to leasing an apartment, required credit scores usually are lower than that which is required for mortgage loans. While not all landlords check credit histories- at All County Denver Metro, we do, be prepared just in case. Typically, a credit score of 620 or above will allow you to obtain a rental lease with relatively little trouble. Apartment leasing sources say that credit scores lower than 620 receive a "high risk of default" rating along with a leasing denial.

Overcoming Poor Credit

If your credit score is below 620, you'll need to convince a landlord to lease to you. When you have poor credit, provide evidence that shows your ability to pay if a landlord agrees to rent you an apartment. Include items like bank statements and pay stubs to make your case. Also, if you have poor credit, supply a potential landlord with character references. Include former landlords with whom you have had good rental experiences.

Leverage Your Cash

Hopeful renters often have to provide more cash up front to their prospective landlords. If you have poor credit and need an apartment, offer a larger security deposit. Poor credit also could mean you'll need to offer first and last month's rent to obtain an apartment. Hopeful renters with poor credit may even be required to pay cash into an escrow account along with setting up automatic payments.

Other Tactics

If your credit score is below 620 and you need an apartment, you may be asked to provide a co-signer. Additionally, those with poor credit may be able to obtain an apartment by agreeing to a month-to-month lease initially. Your landlord may change your lease to a longer-term one if you demonstrate you can pay on time. Finally, if your credit score is poor, agreeing to a higher rental payment could work as a last result.
-Courtesy of SFGATE.com

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