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Old 05-07-2007, 01:31 PM
Location: Portland, OR
414 posts, read 2,330,788 times
Reputation: 295


What kind of score do you need to get an apartment without a co-signer?

I will have somewhere between a 640-670 when I go to apply this summer, will this get me in an apartment?

Are there apartments for people with lower credit that don't need co-signers? No one will co-sign for me period so in the worse case I will have to live out of my car and at the YMCA. The average credit score in Alabama I believe is 660. Surely those people are able to get apartments.

If you are able to get an apartment in the 640-670 range are they going to do something outrageous like charge me 2 months rent up front, would they increase the monthly rent or require large deposits on utilities?

Anyone with experience in the apartment/housing industry feel free to post. I think this would be a valuable resource for anyone trying to get an apartment with more limited/mediocre credit.
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Old 05-07-2007, 02:31 PM
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,072 posts, read 10,514,046 times
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I don't bother with credit scores. I look for credit, employment history, rental history, over all stability. I do not accept co-signers for any reason. I'm not renting to THEM, I'm renting to the person who will be living in my property.
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Old 05-07-2007, 02:33 PM
Location: Grafton, Ohio
286 posts, read 1,416,597 times
Reputation: 159
Default Credit ...

Well, first and foremost, you need to keep in mind that all property management companies have different application requirements. And, to boot, that can vary greatly between commercial managment and privately owned rentals. The best thing you can do is some research on what is *legal* in your state.

Chances are pretty good you'll land an apartment with your credit score, but some places may require a larger deposit. I personally cannot say. What I can tell you is about my state, Michigan... here, a person cannot be charged more than 1 and 1/2 months rent for a deposit. For instance, if the rent is $600, they cannot charge $1200 for deposit - they max out at $900. Now, to get around this, they can ask for first and last months rent. What they can also get you on is your income requirements. For instance, Aimco is the nation's largest management company. They require proof of income of 4x the monthly rent - but the amount is based on their market rent, not the price they quote you as a "special." They have gotten me in the past because I did qualify for the apartment I was applying for at the special but was about $50/mth shy on my income for what they determine as "market value." The MV is a fancy term for their investors / clients / etc. It basically is a number that they pitch to whomever with "we can get X many dollars monthly for this apartment in a perfect economy," and this is how they can get money invested and such. Unfortunately, the MV hurts the small guy (you and me) because it either makes or breaks us. On the yearly renewal, you'll see rent go up - they are trying to get the entirety of the complex paying their determined MV on each unit to make it as profitable as possible.

Another tip is to shop around. Look at as many complexes in your area and apply for the ones you like. You will find that some companies have softer requirements than others. If you are accepted to several, then you can use that to negotiate the best deal overall. You might also find a better situation with a privately owned rental; good people can be sympathetic and understanding of your situation.

One company that may or may not be worth looking into is epmapartments.com; in years past they were a little softer on credit scores than other companies, but I am not sure where they are at now. Once upon a time I was a property manager before the complexes were sold to the current owner.
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Old 05-07-2007, 02:37 PM
1,005 posts, read 1,215,764 times
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I am a landlord in MA. Different states have different laws, so take that into consideration. I can tell you what goes on in my small circle of landlord friends who get together once/mo to help each other out by suggestions, smoothing out problems, etc.

I personally don't look at FICA scores. Depending upon where you live, certain criterion may come into play. Most landlords want a certain income to expenses ratio to ensure you can safely afford the rent. It used to be common that rent was 30% of income. In a huge city like Boston, where rents are astronomical, 50% of income is a common rent (again, amongst those in my landlord group, some who have upscale apts beginning at $2K). All my tenants' rent has been 50% of their income.

I just want to ensure the applicant isn't headed into bankruptcy, as if they're a problem, I cannot collect rent if they refuse to pay, nor evict them during the bankruptcy process in the state of MA (no matter what behaviour they exhibit), or, ensure they don't have tons of debt which often accompanies tons of stories & tons of drama. I discount student loans, as anyone 30-ish & under, in my experience, has them.

Without knowing much about you, if you have a job with verifiable income (permission given to call your employer's HR Dept), your credit report is "clean" with no garnishments, liens, unpaid/defaulted accounts, I would take you on a month to month lease with upfront 1st/last months' rents & a security deposit of 1-mo's rent. I collect this from everyone. If you just moved here, didn't have a job, but could pay all the above (1st/last/sec), I would also take you if you could provide a co-signer. My experience is that only recent college grads come into play with that. Without the latter, I've learned thru experience, to forgo offering an apt. Whenever I've gone against my better judgement, I've regretted it.

I've known folks with either no credit or bad credit who secured apts by offering 6-mos rent upfront. Perhaps some would accept 3-mos, instead, but you could offer if you can afford it. Or, month to month (tenancy at will) might be something else to suggest, so that a landlord only needs to give you 30-days notice, should they wish you to leave. Many landlords prefer to have a yearly lease, but I find this is mainly with landlords who don't live on the property or own multiple buildings. It's less hassle for them to know they don't need to find another tenant for 1-yr should they choose to leave. I, on the otherhand, now only do tenancy at will's, due to past challenges. Also, don't forget that in the interium, you could be someone else's roommate until you get on your feet. Check out roommates.com.

I've also lived all over the country & generally apt complexes with a rental office have less flexible rules. So, perhaps renting at an owner-occupied bldg would be best. Most of my tenants mentioned they were looking for O/O as if anything were a problem, I'm available, rather than a rental office which is closed on weekends, save for drastic emergencies. I was surprised, for example, that while living in Atlanta, a broken a/c was not considered an emergency at the rental complex in which I lived.

So, you can try a roommate first, if you're moving out of state without a job, until you're up & running. You can do the same if you're just moving out of your parents' home. No bills will be in your name & should you find it a tough situation, you can easily leave. One last thing to know is that, in Boston, utility companies secure a deposit if you have no utilities in your name from a previous residence. It's reasonablely low (I forget the exact amounts), but before you launch out on your own paying rent upfront, perhaps extra rent & security deposits, you may want to call local suppliers to see what security deposit you'll need to give them.

Think of your own apt as your longer-term goal & I think you'll be less stressed. It's not an all or nothing situation & you don't need to live in your car. There are options. Just don't live beyond your means, or you create a new set of problems & more stress. Think smaller at first & just making it work.

Best of luck to you in your new venture... VV

Last edited by Baltic_Celt; 05-07-2007 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 05-07-2007, 03:48 PM
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 6,735,179 times
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wall street - I live in the northwest suburbs -- your credit score is fine to get you an apartment without a co-signer

They are looking at collections, or unpaid bills like utilities, or past evictions and bankruptcy (sp?) you should have no problem. They will check your credit but are more interested in those things I just listed (more than your score).

I was worried too but I passed with flying colors. they might call to check your employment or a past landlord, just to make sure your income is enough.

if you dont have the income, they might want you to have a cosigner -- or something to prove you are getting a refund from student loans or something like that.
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Old 05-07-2007, 03:51 PM
279 posts, read 300,708 times
Reputation: 79
i know in atlanta there were many weekly hotels that housed people for long term. I stayed at a days inn for 175 a week and it included all utilites, phone, cable, housekeeping, pool, free newspaper/coffee etc..There are a lot of places like that but watch out, some of the people can be seedy depending on where you live.
I had an apartment landlord who said "bad credit does not matter as long as you don't owe another previous landlord", however, this was a 15 story highrise with over 600 apts so they probably were desperate to rent.
Maybe just visiting the places in person and talking with the manager would help.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:34 AM
Location: Portland, OR
414 posts, read 2,330,788 times
Reputation: 295
Thank you very much everyone for your help. You've certainly helped assuage some of my fears about the process or at least tell me more about how it works. I may look at getting a roommate also for the first year keep some of my costs down.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:08 PM
1 posts, read 195,923 times
Reputation: 13
I have a credit score of 699 and im looking to rent an apartment with a friend but there is a credit card on my credit report that is my mothers and i was a user on the card however it is now delinquent and affecting my credit; why i don't know. but will this stop me from getting an apartment with my roomate?
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:39 PM
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 2,902,972 times
Reputation: 563
I just signed a lease last week to rent a home, and my LL is one of the private owners, so the only thing he checked out with me was my employment and income. Didn't check the credit. He also interviewed me for a bit asking me questions here and there and I answered them honestly and to the best of my knowledge. I knew what he was doing though, he was checking me out to see if I would be the right person to rent to. After I paid my security deposit and 1st months rent, he remarked on how a really nice guy I am and that I presented myself very well. And add to the fact that the house I looked into had alot of lookers because it was a nice home.

As for utilities, I didn't have to pay any deposits on any of mine since I had utility service before (in Texas) and had excellent payment history.

I personally would never do a roomate thing....its usually a trust issue when you have to make sure that person doesn't go off and steal stuff from you. Plus, unless I was married (which im not), I like my own space.

Trust me, if credit was the sole reason whether someone gets an apartment (or home) or not, then many apartment complexes would go out of business because no one would be able to qualify, with exception to those with stellar reports.

Having an excellent rental history helps too; when I rented my duplex, when my credit was ran it wasn't great but the excellent previous landlord reference got me approved with no problem. In many cases most management companies tend to weigh more on the rental history than the credit report.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:27 PM
5,323 posts, read 7,519,364 times
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Necro thread but for the last 2 posts... but for people reading this now...

I have no credit, None, Zip, don't even register as a blip.

Never had trouble renting.

Just show em money in the bank, tell em I'll be keeping one month ahead (so pay 2 months up front)
-I travel, so I don't want to miss the due date and get a late fee.

And never had an issue.

One place wern't very polite.... no refusal or anything, but not polite.
I was in my Ratty old Jeep.

Next time I happened to be on one of my motorcycles... the BMW.
They were EVER SO NICE that time! LOL!

Credit is unnecessary.
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