I just helped a client with serious credit problems. We negotiated a 6 month lease, paid in advance with an option to extend for 2 additional 6 month terms.
There are places that don't require credit check BUT you probably wouldn't want to live there! I met a guy who rents rooms in North Philly with no credit check. Of course, he doesn't actually own the building...
That is like asking a bank to lend you money when you are unemployed. Especially in this economy, Landlords are even more careful about performing credit checks on their applicants. Landlords need to be certain that tenants have the ability to get all utilities put in their name. Chances are if there are collection accounts from utility companies on an applicants credit profile, then those balances must usually be paid off prior to activating a new account. Depending on an applicants financial situation, he/she may not be prepared to do all that.
I would suggest that you be honest and upfront with any potential landlord about any negative lines on your credit history. With good references from present and previous landlords, stable work history with sufficient income, and a reasonable Debt-Income ratio, you may sometimes be able to offset the bad credit. You can always offer to pay another month or two rent as additional security deposit. Good luck with your search.
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I agee with Larry, most of the landlords check not only credit report, but also eviction, criminal record, current sufficient income, etc. You may pull out your own credit report on line and go over with credit repair/counseling agent to set up a repair plan. It depends on how much balance, how old and how many negative factors in your report. If you could show strong and stable current income or cancelled checks/record of last 6-12 months rent , substantial improvement in your current finance/situation, some of the landlord might consider your application if you would like to take the chances. I just helped a couple sign a lease when both of their credit scores are close to 550, substantial income increase in the last 6 months and just enrolled with credit repair program. It's a very competative market now and each landlord has different standard requirement for credit score. Some of them even require 650 above!
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