Bad credit is a major drawback that can stop you from renting a property in California. As you may already know, the competition on the Californian real estate market is fierce. Thousands of buyers and tenants may be looking for a new roof over their heads in Cali as we speak. So how could you possibly get one step ahead of those who have already started their house hunt? Moreover, would it be possible to get the keys to a nice rental when you have bad credit?
In all honesty, while trying to rent a new house or an apartment, blotchy credit can become an important obstacle, even if you have a sizable salary and a faultless renting history. Can you blame Californian landlords for being picky? Taking into consideration the large pool of individuals who would do just about anything to find a decent, affordable rental in some of the trendiest and prosperous Californian cities, it goes without saying that most landlords implement strict tenant screening policies and tend to favor candidates with a spotless credit history. Nonetheless, if you get rejected by a bunch of lessors, it certainly won’t be the end of the world. Here’s what you can do in this situation.
Evaluate Your Situation in an Objective Manner. Do you know how bad your credit actually is? If the answer is no, then there’s only one way to find out: start by checking your credit report before giving the green light to your house or apartment search. Get data from all three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) because you can never know which of these sources your landlord will rely on to check your credit history. While taking a closer look at your reports, you may spot inaccurate information. In this case, feel free to start a credit report error dispute to have the erroneous data removed as soon as possible.
Find a Landlord That Doesn’t Do Credit Checks. Let’s face it: most landlords do extensive background checks when it comes to renting their properties. This is perfectly understandable, considering the risks associated with an unscreened tenant, including late or no payments or property damage. Owners and property managers of large apartment complexes usually do credit checks. On the other hand, some individual owners may be inclined to skip this step, for one reason or another. You can increase your odds of meeting such lessors by reading the newspaper and circling ads. You could also tour the neighborhood where you would like to live and keep an eye out for properties with a “for rent” sign on their premises. Also, you should know that there is a much simpler method to reach landlords in real time without actually landing on their doorstep. With the iConnect feature brought to you by Apartment Hunterz, California’s most loved apartment finding service, you can connect with thousands of landlords and property managers with just a few clicks, submit applications online, schedule face-to-face meetings and discuss the particularities of a potential rental agreement.
You can determine whether or not a landlord performs credit checks by simply asking him the right questions. Find out what kind of criteria he sets in place when it comes to screening and approving tenants. If credit checks are not a part of the equation, you can rest assured knowing that you have high odds of being accepted, especially if you count on a stable source of income and have great references from your previous landlords. If you have your heart set on a certain property, but your landlord sees your bad credit history as a potential deal-breaker, note that there are a few things that you could do to clean up your image and build credibility and trust.
Prove That You Count on a Steady, Considerable Source of Income. A well-known rule of thumb says that you have to spend less than 30% of your monthly income (after tax) on rent. This means that your salary should be three or four times bigger than your rental rate to allow you to maintain a satisfying quality of life. Multiple recent paystubs indicating that you make a sufficient amount of money and have a secure job could help you convince landlords that you a reliable person and a low-risk tenant.
Rely on Solid References. Landlords get very skeptical when dealing with individuals with a bad credit history. You can try to eliminate this disadvantage by contacting people who have influenced your financial background one way or another (employers, your bank or past landlords) and ask them for reference letters. If this strategy doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to bring out the heavy artillery. Talk to your landlord and try to make him understand your delicate situation by explaining the causes of the financial hardship that impacted your credit history at some point (such as unemployment, medical bills or divorce). To provide extra guarantees, it may be a good idea to rely on a co-signer who would basically vouch for you by co-signing your lease. Of course, finding that special someone who meets certain credit qualifications and is also willing to stick his neck out for you can be difficult, but it’s always worth a try. Last but not least, remember that most landlords are open to negotiations, especially if you know how to sweeten the deal. For instance, you could agree to pay more money upfront; in some cases, certain landlords could require a bigger deposit or up to three months of rent paid in advance to keep risks at bay.
All in all, renting in California can be an extraordinary experience, even when you have bad credit. The key is to reach the most dependable landlords and spot fantastic properties that won’t drain all your resources. You can do all this and more by counting on the apartment finding services brought to you by Apartment Hunterz. Check out thousands of verified listings online, find the Californian rental that appeals to you the most and move in your new home in less than a week.