How to Find an Apartment With No Credit Check

If you have a low credit score, you might find an apartment through other qualifiers, like proof of income or good references, instead of a credit check.
Written by Melanie Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
If your credit score has room for improvement, it can make other aspects of your life incredibly difficult, from applying for a loan to finding a place to live, but other qualifiers like good references and proof of income might help you find a new apartment.
Even if your financial situation and payment history have improved, past missed payments might still be weighing down your score, which can add to the frustration.
Having a lower credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck when looking for a new apartment, though. That’s why
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Can you find an apartment with a low credit score?

Generally, a
credit score
of 650 or higher will be considered adequate when it comes to a rental application. 
If your score is lower, or you have yet to establish credit, however, your hopes of finding a rental might not be completely dashed. Landlords typically evaluate other criteria in addition to your credit score, like references and proof of income.

How to find an apartment with a low credit score

The following are just a few options that could help boost your odds of getting your rental application approved, even if you have a low credit score.

Provide proof of income

Providing proof of income will most likely be required in addition to the credit check. It’s important to be able to prove you have reliable employment and make enough to cover for rent since this is the main thing your landlord wants to know.
A common minimum monthly
requirement set by landlords is three times the cost of rent before taxes.

Provide references

If you’ve rented before and had good experiences, previous landlords might be willing to make a case for you to your new potential landlord as references on your rental application.

Get a cosigner

If you were unable to pay your rent, a cosigner would then be responsible for the payment, which could quell your landlord’s fears about getting on-time payments. Becoming a cosigner is a big responsibility with significant financial risk to the cosigner, so keep that in mind as you make your own monthly rent payments.
If you have a close loved one with a higher credit score and a higher income than you, it might be worth having a conversation about whether they’d be comfortable doing this for you.

Get a roommate with good credit

Having another roommate or two with a higher credit score might give your landlord more confidence that you as tenants will make on-time payments. That added income probably won’t hurt, either.

Find a private landlord

Apartment complexes run by management companies can tend to have stricter guidelines than a rental managed by a private landlord, who may be willing to be more lenient with requirements. 
A private landlord might also feel more urgency to quickly fill a rental vacancy to continue paying mortgage and upkeep costs.
Again, though, just be wary of scams when it comes to rental listings.

Why do landlords check credit?

Since landlords want to feel confident a prospective tenant will make reliable rent payments, it’s not exactly surprising that so many will require a credit check before approving an application. Generally, it can also suggest a landlord cares about their property and wants a trustworthy tenant who will respect the rental space.

“No credit check” landlords 

However, there are landlords with rental properties who don’t require credit checks. For some landlords, this may simply be because they understand the struggle of looking for a home with low credit, or they’re more interested in other factors, like employment status. 
Not all apartments that don’t require credit checks are the same, though, so be cautious of red flags while you’re looking for a place to live. The apartment might be in rough shape, or the landlord might not be as invested in their property, which could be a problem if you ended up needing repairs during your lease.
A “no credit check required” apartment listing may also be a scam meant to entice potential renters. While not every no-credit-check apartment is a scam, if you find a listing for an apartment that states it doesn’t require a credit check, your first question should be, “Why?”
Key Takeaway Landords do a credit check to make sure they will get reliable payments. Some landlords approve applicants with no credit checks, but be careful—these “no credit check” buildings could be scams. 

How to avoid rental scams

Rental scams usually work because their offerings seem like the real deal—it can be difficult to know what’s true versus what’s too good to be true.
Some scam apartment listings may be actual apartments for rent, but with slightly altered details. You may also want to check your city’s property records to see who owns that property and whether that aligns with who the landlord says they are. If you find similar listings, compare their contact information.
A scam listing might also offer perks that are too good to be true, like unusually low rent prices or extremely lenient terms, including no credit score or background checks.
If you can’t visit a property yourself, try to have a friend or family member check out an apartment for you. 
Make sure you can feel confident a rental offering is legitimate before giving up confidential information or making a deposit. And when it comes to payments, use traceable methods, like a credit card or check—not cash or wire transfers.
Key Takeaway Misleading listings, offers that seem too good to be true, or altered details can all be signs of rental scams. Make sure you know a rental is legitimate before putting down money—and even then only pay through traceable means. 

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Not all apartments require credit checks. However, potential renters should watch out for scams and red flags when it comes to no credit check apartments.
It’s also possible that you can still get an apartment with a low credit score through other means, like providing good references and proof of income.
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