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How to Rent Without A Credit Check

When your credit score is less than stellar, use these five tips to woo a potential landlord.

Submitting your credit history to potential landlords is stressful for anyone who is navigating a competitive rental market—and doubly so for those with less than stellar credit. In fact, for renters who know their credit score is a liability, the best way forward may be to skip the credit check process altogether. As Rick Drew, a residential property manager of Renters Warehouse in Miami notes, credit scores don’t always tell a landlord the renter’s full story. For one thing, he says, “A credit score might not tell you whether or not the tenant will pay their rent on time,” he says. “It’s really a marker as to how you feel about responsibilities.” Here are helpful tips for how to rent without a credit check.

  • Look beyond rental service providers.

    A rental service isn’t the only option for finding the latest listings. Local message boards, classified ads, and websites such as Craigslist are also great places to start. Drew suggests looking for rentals that are listed as “by owner,” rather than through management companies or rental agencies. This puts you in direct contact with your potential landlord, who can evaluate you on your merits as a tenant and look beyond your credit score.

  • Use your current and prior landlords as references.

    Landlords know that even renters with perfect credit can be nightmare tenants. So even if your credit is sub-par, responsible tenants should actively use their current and prior landlords to advocate on their behalf. Drew says this can go a long way to smooth over any concerns prompted by low scores—especially if you can line up two or more prior landlords to prove your history of paying rent on time, treating the rental well, and generally being a great tenant.

  • Offer more up front.

    One untraditional way to show your potential landlord how serious you are is to offer your first month’s rent alongside a double security deposit to make up for a lackluster credit check. This double security deposit shows the landlord that you intend to make good on any potential damages or disputes while you are a tenant, and can put the landlord at ease far more than just the standard upfront payments.

  • Flaunt what you’ve got.

    Believe it or not, inviting potential landlords to see your car and current home could garner you some tenant bonus points. Drew says both demonstrate a direct correlation of how you care for yourself and your surroundings. So, if they’re open to the idea, invite future landlords to come and take a look at how you are a steward of the things you already possess. But be judicious about the invite, however, as the reverse is also true. “If a car or a home is a mess, the landlord will know you’re not the right tenant for [their property,]” says Drew.

  • Have cosigners on speed dial.

    Some landlords will sidestep the credit check if someone is willing to cosign for you. Once again, Drew suggests offering up first month’s rent and a double security deposit as a gesture of faith for landlords who are willing to accept a cosigner. Just make sure your cosigner is aware that he or she will now be on the hook for the financial burden of the rental property and that his or her credit might also be subjected to a credit check before approval.


    Originally published June 29, 2017. Updated November 21, 2017.

Have you ever rented an apartment or house without a credit check? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments.