Is consolidating your credit a good idea
After a certain number of on-time payments, your landlord or property manager may agree to take your co-signer off the lease.Or, if you have a lot of savings, you could offer to pay several months of rent upfront to lock down a deal.
“For things like repossessions of cars or credit cards being charged off, unless there’s a very good explanation, a landlord probably won’t approve that person,” says Dennis Johnson, credit and housing counselor at Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions in the St. Small mistakes, such as one late payment on an account that’s now current, tend to matter less, though.
To landlords, the histories of accounts generally aren’t as important as their current statuses, Johnson says. Factors such as income, criminal convictions and past evictions can also play a big part in the approval process.
She asks for a higher credit score when renting out upscale homes or condos.
She also looks at social media, county records and bank statements, among other things, to check for consistency.
If you’re wondering what landlords scrutinize when they check your credit, here’s an insider’s look, along with strategies for landing a place to live. It ranges from finding out whether a tenant meets a certain standard to poring over pages of account histories.
Janet Akin, a property manager in San Jose, Calif., uses a tenant screening service called to screen rental applicants for her clients who want to rent their properties.Once you find a place, start building credit by applying for a secured credit card or getting your rent payments reported to the credit bureaus.Renting with blemished credit can be more challenging, but it’s not impossible. “If it’s because of unpaid student loans or medical bills, or a job loss during the recession, I may not be fazed, as long as the rest of their narrative is good, and their recent history is good,” says Mary Harris, who rents out a three-unit mixed-use building in the West Mount Airy neighborhood in Philadelphia.Sometimes, looking for an apartment in a lower price range can make it easier to find an offer with more flexibility.If your score is low because you consistently lean on credit too much or you’re bad with due dates, consider trimming your expenses and working toward on-time payments.Your credit could make a big difference in your next apartment search.