At a Glance

Renting an apartment often requires a credit check, and landlords typically consider your credit score an important factor in decision-making. While there is no set minimum credit score to rent an apartment, a higher score increases your chances of approval and may help you secure more favorable terms. However, individuals with bad credit can still find ways to secure a rental unit. This article will explore the minimum credit score needed to rent an apartment, what landlords look for in credit reports, and strategies to get an apartment with bad credit.

In this article, you’ll learn:



The average credit score of rejected applicants to rent an apartment.

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Minimum credit score to rent an apartment

There is no universally defined minimum credit score required to rent an apartment since the criteria can vary depending on the landlord or property management company. However, a credit score above 620 is generally considered fair, while a score above 700 is considered good. Landlords often prefer tenants with higher credit scores as it indicates financial responsibility and decreases the risk of potential defaults.

What do landlords look for in your credit report?

Apart from the credit score, landlords examine various aspects of your credit report to assess your suitability as a tenant. Some key factors they consider include:

Payment History: Landlords want to see a history of on-time payments, particularly for rent and other recurring bills.

Debt-to-Income Ratio: A lower debt-to-income ratio signifies financial stability, indicating that you have enough income to cover your rent and other expenses.

Evictions and Collections: Past evictions or outstanding collections may raise concerns for landlords, as it suggests a history of rental payment issues.

Credit Utilization: Your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you use compared to your credit limit, can impact your creditworthiness.

How to get an apartment with bad credit

Having bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to rent an apartment. Here are some strategies you can employ to increase your chances:

1. Pay a higher security deposit

Offering a larger security deposit can help alleviate landlords’ concerns about your creditworthiness. This demonstrates your commitment to meeting your financial obligations.

2. Get a cosigner

If you have a trusted friend or family member with good credit, they can act as a cosigner on the lease. Their strong credit profile gives landlords more confidence in their ability to pay rent.

3. Use your income

Providing proof of a stable income and showing that your monthly income is sufficient to cover the rent can help mitigate concerns about your credit score.

4. Consider a roommate

Sharing the rental unit with a roommate who has a better credit history can increase your chances of getting approved. Landlords may consider the combined income and creditworthiness of both applicants.

5. Letter of recommendation and proof of past rental payments

Obtaining a letter of recommendation from a previous landlord and evidence of consistent and timely rental payments can help offset the impact of a poor credit score.


Yes, evictions can appear on your credit report if they result in a court judgment against you. This negative information can significantly impact your credit score and make it more challenging to secure a rental in the future.

Paying rent alone typically does not directly impact your credit score. However, some credit bureaus consider rent payment history when calculating certain credit scoring models. Enrolling in rent-reporting services or using alternative credit reporting agencies can help you build credit by reporting your on-time rental payments.

When a landlord or property management company pulls your credit report for rental purposes, it usually results in a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score. However, multiple hard inquiries from different landlords within a short period may negatively impact your credit score. It’s important to inquire with the landlord or management company about the type of credit check they will perform.