credit reporting and renting

What Credit Score Do You Need to Rent an Apartment?

When the apartment hunt is on, you might be worried about your credit score. Your credit history and credit rating are two major factors in whether a property management company would be willing to rent to you or not. It will also impact finding an apartment with the amenities that are important to you

So, what is the apartment rental required credit score?

In the United States, landlords and property management companies tend to look for credit scores of at least 620. Anything below that can put finding a suitable home at risk. If you don’t have a rental history established, your credit becomes even more important. Here are some considerations when it comes to an “apartment rental required credit score”.

Check Your Credit Score

Before you begin your apartment search, it’s always a good idea to check your credit score. You can do this through a number of services such as Trans Union or for free at Credit Karma or Experian. The important thing when checking your credit score is to not only look at the number, but also make sure there aren’t any discrepancies.

It is not uncommon for information appearing on your credit history to be inaccurate, out of date or just completely incorrect. You have the right to dispute any discrepancies and have them removed from your credit history. This can greatly improve your credit score.

check your credit report

Have You Been Bankrupt?

Once you claim bankruptcy, it’s hard to hide it. Bankruptcy stays on your credit record for 10 years, but there are ways to avoid it leaving a permanent scar on your future credibility. If you have consistent income, you pay your bills (especially rent and mortgage) on time and begin to build up your credit score again, you can recover from bankruptcy quicker. This will help you gain the trust of potential landlords and rental companies as they will see you have overcome your past financial challenges.

Has Your Bank Foreclosed on Your Mortgage?

If your bank foreclosed on your mortgage, you could face the same challenges as a bankruptcy filing. Credit checks will show ongoing late payments. Here’s the good news. Not ALL properties will deny your rental application, including Redwood!  Many management companies will take proof of regular income and other on-time payments into account, thereby showing that you are able to pay your rent.

How is Your Rental History?

Finding a new apartment is always easier if you have a rental history. Even if you have less than the apartment rental required personal or combined credit score, you can still prove you are responsible and never miss your rental payments. A referral from past landlords doesn’t hurt either.

Do You Have a Steady Income?

A steady income is especially important when securing a new rental home. Applicants are expected to provide proof of employment. The higher your income and the more stable your employment history, the better chance you’ll have with the property management company or landlord. 

What Credit Score Do You Need to Rent an Apartment?

How to Improve Your Credit Score

If you find your credit score is below the apartment rental required credit score there are many steps you can take to help improve it including:

  • Stay Up to Date on Bill Payments: Late payments or failing to pay the minimum required amount brings your credit score down. Commit to paying ALL bills on time and you will see your credit report improve.
  • Include Utility and Cell Phone Payments: If you have been making payments on time for your utility bills and cell phone, you can arrange to have them included in your credit history. Experian Boost is a free tool that allows you to connect your bank account to track your utility and phone bills. Your improved credit score will be delivered right away.
  • Maintain Low Balances: Keep balances on your credit cards, lines of credit and revolving credit low.
  • Pay Off Debt: Plan to pay down your debt as soon as possible. This will make a big difference in your credit score, as it will help keep your credit to income ratio below 30%.
  • Avoid Applying for More Credit: Every time you apply for credit a record is sent to the credit bureaus. This is considered credit-seeking which can reduce your score. Avoid applying for more credit unless it is necessary as these inquiries remain on your credit report for two years.
  • Keep At Least One Credit Card Account Open: This might seem like the opposite of what you should do, but having open credit cards even if they are unused, helps keep your credit utilization ratio healthy. If you must pay a fee for the credit card, then it may be better to close the account.

Understanding the apartment rental required credit score and how to improve your credit history will make it easier for you to find the best apartment for your needs.

Are you current on the hunt for your perfect apartment home rental? Discover why thousands of residents choose Redwood here.

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