For young adults, an apartment of their own is one of the first major symbols of achieving independence. Apartments also represent alternative living arrangements for people who relocate frequently or who just don’t want the responsibility of maintaining a house. Consider these questions before submitting a rental application:
What Affects Your Chances on Renting an Apartment?
Your credit report often plays a major role in whether you get an apartment, but it’s not the only factor landlords consider. Many landlords conduct background checks into your rental history, any criminal records or whether you’ve had disputes with a former landlord. This type of consumer report is covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Can Landlords Refuse to Rent to You Due to Bad Credit?
If you have bad credit, you may have a hard time finding a landlord willing to rent to you. Landlords for larger complexes often use credit checks to screen prospective tenants. As long as landlords apply credit checks equally to screen all potential tenants, it’s perfectly legal. You may also be charged a fee to cover the expense of running a credit report or background check.
Will Missed Mortgage Payment Make It Difficult to Rent an Apartment?
If you’re having trouble keeping up with your mortgage, you may consider getting rid of your house or condo. If you decide to go that route, try to stay current on your mortgage payments until you sign a lease. Especially try to avoid a “strategic foreclosure” or a “deed in lieu of foreclosure” — essentially walking away from your house. This can have a negative effect on your chances of renting an apartment.
Does Past Unpaid Rent Show Up on Your Credit Report?
Unless you were evicted from an apartment, or your former landlord sued you for back rent, it’s unlikely that the fact that you owe back rent will appear in a credit report. Negative rental history is not included in credit reports from any of the major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.
However, a consumer report that includes a background check might turn up the fact that you still owe money on another apartment. Many landlords are hesitant to rent to tenants with that kind of history. Your best hope is to find a landlord that doesn’t do credit checks.
Does Renters’ Insurance Protect You From Natural Disasters?
Renters insurance will cover your belongings in case of a fire, or damaging rain and wind. However, if you rent an apartment in an area that is subject to frequent flooding or has potential for earthquakes, you’ll have to purchase additional plans. Your landlord may have flood or earthquake insurance, but that policy doesn’t apply to your belongings.