Best Ways to Rent an Apartment With No Credit

Picture of Apartment for Rent No Credit Check
Weekend Images INC/E+/Getty Images

Finding an apartment to rent can be a challenge for any tenant. For prospective tenants with no credit, renting an apartment is even more challenging. Many landlords are hesitant to rent to a tenant with no credit history. Here are ten tips for renting an apartment with no credit.       

Get a Co-Signer

The easiest way to rent an apartment with no credit history is to have someone with good credit co-sign the lease with you. A co-signer could be a parent, other relative or friend. Both you and the co-signer must physically sign the lease agreement.

A co-signer will make you a more attractive tenant to the landlord because it minimizes the landlord’s risk. There are now two people responsible for paying any money owed to the landlord and one of them has an established credit history.

While having a co-signer is a huge benefit for a prospective tenant with no credit, it is a huge risk for the co-signer. They will be responsible for any monetary debts you owe to the landlord. For example, if you do not make your rent payment, the co-signer will be responsible for any rent owed. It can be difficult to find someone who is willing to take on this responsibility.

Rent Directly From Landlord

Another option for renting with no credit is to rent from individual landlords rather than large apartment complexes or property managers. Property managers and large complexes will almost certainly run a credit check and have very specific qualifications that their tenants must meet. They will be far less flexible and less likely to take a chance on a tenant with no credit.

Individual landlords are more likely to evaluate each prospective tenant on a case by case basis. They may not run a credit check at all or may place more importance on your monthly income. They may be more willing to give you a chance.

Offer to Pay More Up Front

Another option to make a landlord feel more comfortable is to pay a greater amount upon move in. This could be putting down a larger security deposit, as long as it does not exceed the statewide maximum, or paying the first few months’ rent up front. This will help lessen the landlord’s risk.

Show Proof of Income

Another way to prove that you will be a good tenant is to show the landlord proof of your income. Include your pay stubs, W2’s and/or copies of bank statements with your rental application. Most landlords like to see their tenants making at least two and a half times the monthly rent.

Show Your Transcript

For prospective tenants straight out of college, providing a landlord with a copy of your college transcript can help validate you when you have no credit. Seeing that you are a responsible student who got good grades will help a landlord feel more confident that you will be a good tenant and pay your rent.

Sign a Short Term Lease

If a landlord is hesitant about renting to a tenant with no credit, you can ask if they will sign a month to month lease with you at first. This will give the landlord a chance to test you out as a tenant without too much commitment. If the landlord feels comfortable after a few months, they can decide to sign a longer, yearly lease, with you.

Quick Move In

Another option to try to motivate a landlord to rent to you is to offer a quick move in. Most apartments change hands on the first of the month. If you are able to move in sooner, the landlord could collect additional money instead of holding the unit vacant for that time.

Get a Roommate

If you are concerned about finding an apartment with no credit, you may decide that having a roommate will be your best option until you can build up your credit. You obviously want to find a roommate with good credit, as one with bad credit will further hurt your chances. Even though you have no credit, a landlord might be more comfortable knowing at least one of the tenants has good credit.

If you do decide to get a roommate, it is always a good idea to sign a separate roommate agreement in addition to the lease agreement. This agreement will outline your expectations of each other and general rules for cleaning, noise, shared spaces, and guests.

Include Personal Letter With Application

Without a personal letter, any landlord will just look at your application and use their qualifying standards to pick the best applicant. Since your lack of credit is a large negative, a personal letter might make your application more appealing. In this letter, you can explain why you have no credit, such as you are just starting out on your own. You should also give examples of why you will be a responsible and trustworthy tenant.

Include References

You can also include references from people who know you and your character to help bulk up your application. You can ask a boss, a college professor or even a neighbor to write a little something about your integrity and work ethic.