When you’re looking for an apartment to rent there are a few things you need to consider. The landlord will check your credit score even if you have rented an apartment for the past 5, 10 or even 15-years.

Landlords want to make sure the person who wants to rent out their apartment is financially responsible. Management companies and landlords look for consistency in rent payments and to check if they owe prior landlords or apartment managers. However, if you’ve had prior evictions, unpaid loans, and or credit cards this will be a red flag for them and you might not get the apartment.

When the management company or landlord checks your credit score it will be considered a soft inquiry and not a hard inquiry, which might affect your credit score, consider it more like a background check. The check will have other things like employment history, criminal history, and even education.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s your first, fourth, or even seventh time renting an apartment, landlords will still check your credit score.” Says, Tom Smith from Management Waytown in San Francisco, CA.

What Credit Score is Needed When Renting an Apartment?

FICO scores are broken down into these 5 categories as of 2019:

  • Poor: 300 to 579
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Very good: 740 to 799
  • Excellent: 800 to 850

With a ‘poor’ credit score you might not be able to get approved for any loans and definitely not an apartment.

A ‘fair’ to ‘good’ credit score will give you a bit more leverage. You’ll get approved for small credit cards like GAP, Kohls and even maybe Walmart. With this credit line, a lot more management companies and landlords will give you the ok to move in.

With a ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ credit score you can walk into almost any parking lot and get a brand new car with little or no down payment. The same thing goes for an apartment.

Excellent credit scores are like gold, you won’t have an application denied. Another perk of having very good and excellent credit is that interest rates will be low (if any) and may have the most options when it comes to choosing repayment periods.

What credit score is needed when renting an apartment? The credit score needed is 580 (fair) and up. If you have a credit score of 579 and below you should work on that first and then try to rent an apartment.

Websites like Credit Karma offer free credit checks anytime any day; another good is Annual Credit Report. With Annual Credit Report you get one free credit check a year. If you see anything that doesn’t seem correct on your report you can file a dispute.

And finally, if you’re in a rush to get approved for an apartment you might want to show the management or landlord how you’re working on your credit by having proof of paying old bills.  If that doesn’t work you might want to seek credit counseling.