Q: A friend told me that I need a good credit score to be approved for a lease on an apartment. What credit score do I need?
A: Just like with credit cards, there are drastic differences in requirements from one apartment complex to the next. Some landlords may require a credit score of 700, some may require a credit score of 600, and some may not go by credit score at all. If all apartment complexes required a credit score, recent graduates with no credit wouldn’t be able to find a place to live.
Landlords look at other things as well. Just as important as a credit score is income. Many apartment complexes have a rule that the rent cannot be more than a certain percentage of the tenant’s income. This percentage may be around 25-40%. Credit history and rental history are important as well. If you have a recent eviction or unpaid bills, it will be much harder to find an apartment.
If you are seen as a risk, you may still be able to get an apartment if you have someone willing to cosign for you. Furthermore, if you have the money, you may be able to negotiate with a reluctant landlord. Some are willing to do month-to-month plans, and others will work with you if you are able to pay a few months rent ahead of time.