You may not be purchasing a property, but, a bad credit score can still ruin your dreams of renting a fabulous property.
Landlords look at your credit history before shortlisting you as a prospective tenant.
They are interested in your credit history because they want to know if you are at any financial risk and if you pose a risk to them.
A bad credit history, obviously, will not put you in the good books of a landlord.
Still, you can increase your chances of renting a chosen property.
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Here is some practical advice you can consider using to increase your chances of rental success despite a below-average credit score:
Start by Being Prepared
Be ready with all information and documents that a prospective landlord would want to browse through to consider you as a potential tenant.
Procure a copy of your credit score from any credit reporting company as the first step.
You are entitled to one free copy every year.
Check before you proceed to pay for your copy.
Include an identification document that includes your photo, preferably a driving license or a passport.
Give proof of your recent income by attaching your latest salary receipts.
Add a couple of references to the package from people that can vouch for your credibility.
By being prepared, you are showing your landlord that you are honest and transparent in your dealings, and practical enough to expect that your landlord would want to go through your credit history.
Potential landlords would want their rent on time, yes, but they also want a tenant they can rely on.
With all necessary documents in place, you are showing that you are being honest and do not want any issues in the future.
This is likely to go well with prospective landlords as they are interested in finding tenants that pose little problem to them in the long run.
Be Honest about Details
Do not hide any information that your landlord may need.
If your bad credit score has been a result of an ill-informed decision, a medical emergency, or a personal loss, then be frank about it.
Do not hesitate to talk about the steps you are currently taking to revive your credit score.
A bad credit is not always a reflection of bad money management or a lack of financial commitment.
By being honest about your financial history, you are giving the landlord an insight into your character.
You made a mistake, but you are bouncing from it, which in itself shows your resilience and commitment.
These characteristics often work in your favor.
Bring in a Co-Signor or Guarantor
A guarantor or co-signor becomes responsible to make your missed rental payments, if any.
Since the landlord will still be getting his or her rent in case you default, he or she will be more interested in making you a tenant even if you have a bad credit score.
A rental application in such cases will bear your signature as well as that of your guarantor or co-signor.
You could ask trusted people such as your parents, or other family members or friends, to act as your guarantor or co-signor.
Since the guarantor is liable for making your payments on your behalf, you need to be well-prepared.
Make your monthly payments so that the guarantor does not end up bearing the burden for you continuously.
Another way to increase your chances of success with a rental property is to find a willing roommate with a good credit score.
As with a guarantor, your roommate will be responsible for making the payments that you miss.
It is important that your roommate knows what he or she is getting into, before making a commitment.
If you are involving a guarantor or roommate, choose a property that you can afford.
Go for older properties preferably.
These properties are not likely to be sold off any time soon.
In addition, they have been owned by the landlord for a long time.
So, chances are they will be owned for a long time into the future.
You will have a stable home as well as a rent that you can afford.
Make a Good Impression
You need not go overboard to make an impression.
Be yourself and be willing to ensure the landlord that his or her property is in good hands.
Landlords usually favor tenants that pay their rent on time, keep their space clean, and do not engage in quarrels.
Arrive on time for your appointment.
Ensure that you are clean and well-dressed.
Share required details and keep your space.
Be polite in your speech and behavior as you would with any stranger.
This behavior should be enough to send a positive vibe to your landlord.
Include References from Previous Landlords
As part of making a good impression, consider including a reference from your ex-landlords.
A positive reference from previous landlords can give the assurance that the prospective landlord needs regarding your character and your commitment to regular rent payments.
If getting references from previous property owners is not possible, include a reference from an ex-roommate.
Also, include reference letters from your current and past employers for more weightage.
Try Renting after your Credit Score Gets a Better Rating
If you do not want to bring in a guarantor and can adjust to your current living conditions, then do so for some more time.
Meanwhile, take steps to improve your credit score.
You can do this by hiring a reliable credit repair company.
You can also improve your credit by saving more money, maintaining a reliable credit history by making payments without fail, and reviewing your credit history regularly.
A good credit score will make it easier for you to rent your desired property.
A bad credit score can make it difficult for you to rent a good and stable place.
But a bad credit score does not mean an end to your dreams of finding a good place.
You can still increase your chances of renting a good property with the above strategies.
A wise landlord wants a good tenant in the long run.
So, he or she may still take a chance with you even though you may not be financially independent at the moment.
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