How Much Credit Do You Need to Rent an Apartment?

Private Owners

Some apartments are rented by their individual owners instead of a real estate management company. With these types of landlords, you do not have to focus on your credit score as much as you would with an actual rental company. However, having a stable job and decent income -- at least a monthly income of three times the rent -- is a must. With these types of landlords, you must watch out for a couple of things. One is the type of apartment you will be living in. Will it be decent and safe? Also, will the landlord be reliable, or will he charge you high rent, knowing you may be fearful that your credit score will get your rental application denied?

Credit Score

The credit score you need to rent an apartment is at the discretion of the landlord. The majority want a score of 620, but some landlords will go as low as 540 -- again, it all depends on the landlord. If a landlord does make an exception, she may charge a higher deposit for allowing your application to pass through.

Credit History

When a landlord pulls your credit report, he not only checks your credit score but he also looks to see what is on your credit. Sometimes people have low credit scores because they have overextended themselves. This means they have received the maximum amount of credit that they can pay back based on their reported income. In these cases, the landlord will check to see whether you have negative or positive balances on your credit report. If you have your accounts in good standing, then the landlord will make an exception if your monthly income is up to his or her standards.

Prior Leases and Evictions

Another important issue regarding your credit when renting an apartment is prior leases. It is never good to break a lease, because this will be reflected on your credit report. No landlord likes to see this, because he will feel you could skip out on him as well. It is good to stay on with your current lease. In the case that you do need to break a lease, you will need a valid and excusable reason to do so. Being evicted is not excusable, and it will come back to haunt you when you go to apply for an apartment.

Limited or No Credit History

If you do not have any credit, this can be an issue when renting an apartment. You may want to get a credit card, or open an account of some kind, just so you may start up a credit file for yourself. Be very cautious when doing this because you do not want to damage your credit. When people begin applying for credit, those who have limited or no credit history will be pre-approved for many lines of credit. Do not overextend yourself, or get too far in depth. If so, it could hurt your chances at getting the apartment lease you may want or need in the future.