Over the years, it’s possible to pick up a few dings on your rental history. Unfortunately, even just a ding or two can make landlords look at a rental application with a little more scrutiny. It is possible, however, to overcome a shaky rental application and get the apartment of your dreams.
Just how you go about your rental application can depend on what problems appear in your history, but a general willingness to discuss any issues on your rental history will go a long way with most landlords.
1. A Short Rental History
If you’ve been renting less than a year, or you’re a first-time renter, you may be penalized on your rental application even though your rental history is technically clean. A landlord may ask you to find someone (a parent, for instance) willing to co-sign with you on the lease. Effectively, that co-signer is taking responsibility for you in the case that something goes wrong.
2. An Eviction
If you have an eviction on your record, make a point of explaining it. Even if you have to write a letter to accompany your application, it’s important to explain just why you were evicted.
According to Sandco Corporation’s rental criteria, the company will accept “a reasonable and provable reason for an eviction in their past (e.g., divorce, medical emergency, safety)”. Explain your eviction and a landlord will be more willing to rent to you. Having a willing co-signer can also speed up the process.
3. Excess Damage
It’s common practice for a landlord to call your references and check how you treated previous rentals. If a landlord hears that you did some serious damage to a property — no matter the situation — he’ll be reluctant to rent to you. However, if you offer an increased deposit (enough to cover unusual damage), you can often convince a landlord to give you a second chance.
4. Poor Credit History
Many landlords will run a credit check before signing off on a lease. If your credit is poor, you may face an additional hurdle in getting an apartment. However, if you can prove that your bad credit has nothing to do with your rental history (no bounced rent checks, skipping out on a lease or any other rental problems), you may be able to convince a landlord that it isn’t a relevant issue. You’ll have a better chance if you can prove that you’re in the process of repairing your credit.