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What Credit Score Do Apartments Look For

Who Can See And Use Your Credit Report

Should you use your rent to increase your credit score?

Those allowed to see your credit report include:

  • banks, credit unions and other financial institutions
  • offer you a promotion
  • offer you a credit increase

A lender or other organization may ask to check your credit or pull your report”. When they do so, they are asking to access your credit report at the credit bureau. This results in an inquiry in your credit report.

Lenders may be concerned if there are too many credit checks, or inquiries in your credit report.

It can seem like you’re:

  • urgently seeking credit
  • trying to live beyond your means

Poor Credit Scores Need Not Apply

The average FICO credit score was 689 out of 850 as of 2012, according to the “” website. Though there are no formal minimum credit score requirements for apartment rentals, the NJMSC Credit Monitoring Services website says 620 is usually a minimum acceptable figure. However, credit score requirements for apartments vary widely across the country. For example, in 2012 at least one San Francisco landlord was requiring minimum credit scores of 720 from rental applicants.

Propping Up Your Poor Score

Many private landlords don’t require applicant credit scores, though rental companies typically do. You could overcome your poor credit and rent an apartment by working with a private landlord. Rental companies, however, are stricter about credit scores. If your credit score is below 620, you may not have success renting an apartment from a rental company. If you have poor credit and are applying for an apartment through a rental company, consider using a cosigner and offering other evidence of reliability.

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Steer Clear Of New Credit Inquiries

If you can avoid it, don’t apply for new credit cards, auto loans or other kinds of credit products right before you apply for an apartment.

When any lender performs a credit check, it leads to what’s called a hard inquiry into your credit history. Hard inquiries appear on the credit report pulled by the lender and may result in a temporary decrease in your credit score.

While the decrease is usually insignificant, roughly five points or so, it can send up red flags to potential landlords. Its negative impact decreases over time, despite inquiries remaining on your credit report for two years.

Baby Boomers Lead With The Highest Average Credit Score

Helix Apartments, Las Vegas

By generation, Baby Boomer renters led all other generations in 2020 with an average score of 683. Since theyve had more time to build up their scores, theyre in better shape than Gen Xers , Millennials and the youngest renters, just starting to live on their own, Gen Zers .

And, while all generations increased their average scores in the last three years, Gen Z renters made the most impressive leap. This generation increased their average scores by 30 points between 2018 and 2019, and then by 25 points between 2019 and 2020.

By building type, Baby Boomers lead the way again with some of the highest average credit scores for all three types of buildings, followed by Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers. The only discrepancy is in low-end buildings. In this case and just behind Baby Boomers Millennial applicants have a higher credit score than both Gen Z and Gen X .

Notably, all generations that desire to live in high-end buildings would need higher scores than their generations average. In particular, Gen Z would need 38 additional credit points Millennials would have to have 30 more Gen X would need to go up by 22 points and Baby Boomers would need to add 32 points to their credit score.

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Why Credit Matters When Renting

Your because it provides landlords with a glimpse of your financial standing to help them determine whether youd be a trustworthy tenant and be able to pay rent on time. If youre renting in a competitive market, your credit can help you stand out among other prospective tenants looking to rent the same property.

As stated above, a credit score of at least 620 is usually needed to rent an apartment, but this number can vary based on the landlord and the market. Those with credit scores lower than 620 may seem risky to prospective landlords. If youre unsure whether your current credit score meets the criteria needed to rent an apartment, heres what is considered healthy and unhealthy credit scores according to the FICO credit score range:

FICO® Score
Exceptional Renters with scores above 800 appear to be exceptional tenants to prospective landlords.

In addition to your credit score, landlords will also take a look at your credit report. Even if you have a fair credit score, sometimes certain marks on your credit report can sway a landlords decision to accept you as a tenant.

Are Rent Payments On Your Credit Report

More recently, some apartment complexes have begun using a variety of services to report rent payments. All three major credit bureaus offer landlords some rent reporting capabilities. Experian and TransUnion both offer services to landlords and Equifax has partnered with third-party rent reporting platforms to report rental information.

There are a few third-party companies that work with consumers directly to collect and report information on rent payments: ClearNow, PayYourRent, Cozy, and RentTrack are a few examples.

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What Is A Credit Score

A credit score is a number between 300 to 850 that credit bureaus provide borrowers to let them better understand a persons creditworthiness and credit reliability. Your credit score is influenced by various factors, such as your payment history, credit utilization, account age and type, new accounts, and credit mix.

There are different types of credit scoring models like FICO 9 and VantageScore that weigh these factors differently, but they all work to rate your creditworthiness. Landlords look at an applicants credit report to better understand the way they handle their finances, view their payment history, and see how much debt they currently owe.

How Do Landlords Check My Credit

I Need to Build Up My Credit Score So I Can Get An Apartment

There are several ways landlords can check your credit. The National Association of Independent Landlords offers credit checks for a fee, and there are independent screening services that work to pull data from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Usually, a completed written application is considered permission for landlords to run a credit check, and your application fee includes the cost of this service.

Many people dont realize that a tenant credit check isnt your standard report. Tenant credit reports contain a variety of information that can include:

  • Identifying information like social security number, marital status, and date of birth
  • Rental history and evictions
  • Bankruptcies, tax liens and lawsuits like personal injury claims
  • Criminal convictions, sex offender status, OFAC terrorist status
  • Late or delinquent payment of rent or bills, including student or car loans
  • Debt load, including debt still owed to previous landlords

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Use Your Utility Accounts To Boost Your Credit Score

Utility and phone payments historically haven’t been included in your credit score, but with Experian Boost, you can get credit for on-time payments with those accounts, which can raise your FICO® Score.

Simply connect the bank accounts you use to pay your utility and telecom bills, and verify the positive payment history that you want to have included in your Experian credit file. Once you’ve completed the process, you’ll see your new credit score instantly.

A higher credit score can make it more likely you’ll be approved for the apartment you want, so continue to practice good credit habits and check out Experian Boost to improve your chances.

Why Do Landlords Check Your Credit

Landlords utilize tenant background checks to collect information on prior rental history and payment records. They want to know how responsible your are to decide whether you qualify to rent their property. This is why they typically require references and a credit check.

Your credit report includes such information as debts that you have, as well as your payment history. Background checks are meant to weed out irresponsible tenants. For instance, if you have a history of late rent payments or eviction records, most landlords would rather not take the chance on renting their property to you.

On the other hand, if you have a history of managing your debts responsibly and making on-time payments, landlords will feel more comfortable allowing you to rent their property.

Information that potential landlords wont find on your credit report include income, employment status, and other personal information.

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Preparing Your Credit Report

You can take steps to improve your credit score to increase your chances of being approved. Pay your bills on time and keep your debt balances low. If you missed payments in the past, get into the habit of staying current now. Note that closing or opening multiple lines of credit will cause your score to drop slightly due to having too many credit inquiries on your account. Furthermore, paying off balances rather than transferring them will have a stronger positive effect on your overall score. Take advantage of your right to check your credit report for any inconsistencies.


What Credit Score Is Needed To Rent An Apartment

Eco Square Apartments, Evansville

Searching for an apartment is an exciting experience, especially if youre moving to a new city or on your own. However, the process to get approved for an apartment can be tricky if you have no credit or a credit score below 629.

To increase your chances of getting your application approved for your dream apartment, its important to know what landlords are looking for and how to practice good credit borrowing habits. Heres everything you need to know about what credit score is needed to rent an apartment.

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Are Landlords Looking At Credit Scores Or The Whole Report

Your credit score is impacted by payment history, the type of accounts you have, recent activity, and the length of time you’ve had your accounts opened.

Simple things such as opening a new credit account or missing a single payment can have a significant impact on your credit score. Your score may dramatically over the course of a month.

That said, a low credit score will rarely be enough to completely remove you from consideration as a prospective tenant. However, the additional information on your credit report must indicate your financial stability and ability to pay your rent on-time.

A Good Overall Credit Score

Landlords will focus on your actual credit information, beginning with your FICO Score: A score above 670 usually shows a potential landlord that you have a good credit record, but this number can vary depending on where you live, your income, the monthly rent, and how competitive the local rental market is.

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How To Get An Apartment With Bad Credit In 2020

Your credit score isnt who you are, and we know that. There are many reasons you might have a bad credit score at the moment, but your credit score shouldnt mean that you dont have the same opportunities as other renters in this great country. That being said, one of the essential questions to ask when looking at an apartment is “What credit score is required to rent the place?”.

Fortunately, as you work to rebuild your credit score, there are rental options out there. It might feel like your only options are moving in with a friend or relative, but this guide is designed to help you find an apartment, even with bad credit.

With your own apartment, you have more independence and can take the next steps to move forward from the circumstances that lowered your credit score in the first place.

Lets start by looking at credit more generally.

The Difference Between Credit Bureaus


The three main bureaus pull together credit history information to give a credit score to lenders and financial institutions. Why are these numbers different?

As mentioned, each credit bureau has their own information to draw from. Even if they use the same formula for calculating credit score, the information accessible to each may be different.

Before highlighting the differences in how each of the bureaus calculates credit score, it is important to understand how scores are calculated.

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Find Multiple Apartment Options

You may have to look a little farther away from your desired areas, but applying for a variety of apartments across multiple neighborhoods gives you better odds of finding something.

No two apartment owners are the same, and their cut-off for credit score requirements may be different, along with the other factors taken into account. Finding multiple potential properties in the area where you want to live will make it possible to take advantage of the variability in landlord preferences. In the process of shopping around and finding multiple potential apartments, pay attention to online reviews of the properties. Previous tenants might mention stringent credit score requirements, or loose requirements, which will help you narrow your search.

What Is An Apartment Credit Check

An apartment credit check shows your credit history. It lists your bank and credit card account balances, as well as any outstanding loans or payments you owe.

Landlords do apartment credit checks to find out if potential renters will pay their rent on time. To make sure you are responsible, landlords use screening tools such as credit reports, which provide your bill-paying history. Landlords need your written permission before running a credit check and will ask you to sign a credit screening document or a rental agreement.

To request a credit report, landlords can go through tenant screening companies, landlord associations or directly to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

These bureaus may report different information, giving a landlord a good overall idea of your creditworthiness and financial position.

You will likely be asked to provide the following information:

  • Full legal name
  • Current and former addresses from the last two years
  • Current and past employment

Landlords may also ask you directly about your credit history. Some charge an application fee that includes the price of running a credit check. The process can take minutes or several days, depending on how the landlord decides to do the apartment credit check.

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What Credit Score Do You Need To Rent An Apartment

Through April 20, 2022, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax will offer all U.S. consumers free weekly credit reports through to help you protect your financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.

In this article:

There is no standard credit score to rent an apartment. The score you’ll need will vary depending on your city and neighborhood and the policy of the apartment’s landlord or property manager.

According to an analysis of more than 5 million rental applications by apartment industry blog RENTCafé, the average U.S. renter’s credit score was 638 in 2020an average score that has ticked up by one point in each of the past three years.

Having a good credit score can play an important role in getting your rental application approved. Read on to learn more about getting your credit apartment-ready.

How Can I Best Position Myself To Be Accepted

Eco Square Apartments, Evansville

If you dont have good credit , reporting your rent payments to a credit bureau can help build it. Experian was the first credit bureau to start including rental history in credit checks. You can also work on paying down your debt-to-income ratio and having any mistakes in your credit history corrected.

You can still get an apartment with bad credit by using a co-signer or possibly offering several months rent up front. Of course, there are also other factors besides credit that landlords look at when considering a rental application such as past criminal convictions, leasing history, and income status, so make sure to do your research before you start your apartment search.

Your credit isnt something you want to stand in the way of your apartment search. Get tips for improving your credit and find your next apartment on ApartmentSearch.comthe only apartment finder site that pays you for using it!

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What Are No Credit Check Apartments

No credit check apartments are apartment units that don’t require a credit check as part of the rental process.

This is a shift from the traditional rental process, where landlords perform a credit check during the tenant screening process.

In theory, any apartment could be a no credit check apartment. However, finding an upscale or luxury no credit check apartment unit is almost impossible. These apartments are usually rented out by landlords in search of eager renters.

For prospective renters, there are several risks involved.

Its important to be critical and wary of no credit check apartments. Usually, landlords choose to forego a credit check because they are desperately looking for tenants to fill the space.

In some cases, no credit check apartments may be undesirable, your landlord may be unprofessional, or you may be the

So what is the point of

The tenant screening process’s primary goal is to vet prospective tenants to ensure they will fulfill the duties of a good tenant.

A huge part of this screening process is determining whether a tenant is likely to pay on time and in full. Landlords rely on credit checks as a determining factor.

Rather, they provide information about whether you have a history of paying your debts on time and managing your finances responsibly. They will show any outstanding debts, your credit scores from major bureaus, and any loans you may have taken out.


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