Credit Score in Philadelphia>Question Details

Monica Johns…, Renter in Philadelphia, PA

how do you rent a home with poor credit.also would-rent to own be a better option for people with poor credit.

Asked by Monica Johnson, Philadelphia, PA Thu Sep 29, 2011

is it possible to rent with poor credit

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Monica, I would stay away from rent to own. They can be very risky. Also not all landlords even pull credit. I would work on building up your credit. Clarifi is a great resource for us Philadelphians to build up our credit scores. Best of luck!
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2012
Hey Monica,

To answer your question, it is possible to rent if you have poor credit. As Tim Garrity stated below, you just need to work a little bit harder to find a willing landlord. I notice that you currently live in Philadelphia, so I would assume that you know the city to some degree. However, from a professional standpoint, I would suggest that you meet with a real estate agent whom you trust to help guide you through the process of renting an apartment. Here is an article that I think you may find helpful:…

Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions, I would be more than happy to help.

Tyler J. Morrison
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 30, 2011
Hi Monica,

It really varies from landlord to landlord with just what type of credit they will accept. We work with property owners all around philadelphia who have very different qualities for what they're looking for in a tenant..

Just how bad is your credit?
Also keep in mind that what most landlords want to know most of all is that you have the ability to pay rent each month. Sometimes the past is the past and they just want verification for how much income you make right now and verification of employment from your boss and that's enough for them.. you just have to keep looking and asking up front what their requirements are before applying for the place. might make your credit worse to have multiple inquiries on your history only to ultimately not be approved for the apartment..

feel free to email me if you want to chat more about it.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 29, 2011
Rent-to-own is not a better option for people with poor credit.
Make sure you understand just what "rent to own" entails.

People with poor credit should be working on improving their credit before anything else.
One major reason it isn't a good option is ...if you don't qualify for a mortage NOW, due to bad credit, you very well may not qualify later on. If you don't quaify, you won't be able to buy the home.
A rent to own option generally involves some non-refundable money in the event you don't exercise your option to buy!!!
Don't put yourself in a no-win situation.

So...what do you do to rent a home with poor credit?

You're not alone - a lot of people are in this position.
You can explain your credit problems to the potential landlord - if there is a reasonable explanation (job loss, health issue, etc,) he or she may overlook the credit problems and work with you long as you can show an ability to pay rent (have a secure job).
It would also be helpful if you can show that you paid rent on time in the past.

If not, you might look for someone, who has good credit, to co-sign the lease.

As far as pre-paid rent - check with the landlord/tenant laws in your state.
Prepaid rent is not allowed/legal in NJ.

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 29, 2011
when you have poor credit, be up front. sometimes you can pre-pay six months rent. open dialogue and doing what you say when you said you will do it will build trust.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 3, 2011
As a point of information.... below it was suggested the landlord might want to "collect more as a security deposit". However...just so you know, as in many states, there are limits on what can be collected is an excerpt from an article on PA rental laws.

"Pennsylvania law places a limit on the amount of a security deposit that a landlord may charge. During the first year of a lease the landlord may not require a security deposit of more than two months' rent.

At the beginning of the second year of a lease the landlord may not keep a security deposit equal to more than one month's rent and must return any money over one month's rent which the landlord still has on deposit....."

It's always best to check for yourself on the landlord-tenant laws in your state, and make sure no landlord tries to take advantage of your situation.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 30, 2011
Hi, Monica.

If you are looking to rent and have poor credit, you should still be able to find a suitable home; it just takes more effort and terms are usually different than the norm.

If your credit is low, the landlord/landlady may want to collect more on the security deposit (in case you miss your rent payment); that way, they have added security to mitigate the risk. Also, he/she may even raise the rent to compensate for a low credit score. And then there are some landlords/landladies that will not entertain a low credit score no matter what.

So to answer your question, you will have to look a little harder than someone who has good credit. I hope that helps.


Timothy Garrity | Realtor & Consultant
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - #RS314897
215-829-8850 Office
267-879-2716 Mobile
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 30, 2011
Hi Monica,

You may be able to overcome the poor credit objection by providing excellent references, consistent work history and offer to pay an additional security deposit. Maybe a couple months rent in advance. Present yourself well to the decision maker and make the case why you will be a good tenant. Good luck.

All the best,
Larry Lichtman
REALTOR, Property Manager
(267) 254-7994
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 29, 2011
Hi Monica,

When evaluating a rental application there are three main things a landlord will look for:

1) credit history
2) income ( ability to pay rent
3) prior landlord references

As long as 2 out of 3 are good, many landlords will rent to you. Granted, many will say no right off the bat because of the credit history issue, but, you'll just need to find the right landlord.

You'll run into the same issues in a rent to own situation. Rent to own is certainly more feasible then a straight purchase.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 29, 2011
Offer to pay rent in advance.

Who rent to own benefits depends on how the agreement is structured and has no correlation to someone with poor credit.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 29, 2011
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