Will Your Credit Score Make or Break Your Chance at That Dream NYC Apartment?

Your credit score is one of the most important pieces of information that a landlord will look at when you put in an application for an apartment. If your score is less than ideal, there are still things you can do to help land that dream apartment.

That darned credit score. You’ve finally got the great gig that allows you to live like an adult. For the past two (very, very long) years, you’ve been living with a roommate who loves running but hates showering, just so you could save up the money to finally move out on your own. And now the only thing standing between you and your very own New York apartment is your less-than-ideal credit score.

Every day, people discover that they don’t qualify for the apartment of their dreams solely because the all-important three-digit FICO score falls below the minimum level required by many NYC landlords. Before you end up spending another two years with the rancid runner, check out these tips for getting the apartment you want without the FICO that you need.

Start Prepping at Least Six Months Ahead of Time

Your credit score can go up or down with a single change in your credit status, so if you’re planning on moving and you know that your credit needs emergency care, start repairing it at least six months prior to your move.

  • If you think there are errors on your report, or if there is old negative information on there that should have been removed, dispute it. The deletion of a single negative entry can raise your credit score substantially, depending on how old and damaging the info.
  • Don’t open any new credit cards, as that will negatively impact your score.
  • Pay off overdue balances on existing cards.

Paint a Prettier Picture

Even though it’s been drummed into your head that your credit score is everything, there are other things that a landlord can look at when considering you for an apartment.

  • Bring in pay stubs from that well-paying job, reinforcing the fact that you’ve got more than enough money to pay the rent on your own.
  • Get reference letters from everyone who can put in a good word for you, from your boss to your hair stylist. You want to establish the fact that you’re an extremely reliable person who can be depended on to pay bills regularly.

Get a Guarantor

If your credit is in “it is what it is” territory, you may have to break your bootstrap code and ask someone to be your guarantor.

  • New York landlords usually look for tenants who make 40 times the monthly rent on an apartment; a guarantor will have to make 80 times the monthly amount.
  • Reach out to family friends or close friends who’ll be willing to vouch for you and who trust that you are a good risk. They don’t have to put any money down. They’re just using their good credit and incomes as backup insurance for the landlord — the agreement being that if you default on your monthly rent payments, your guarantor will cover them for you.
  • If you don’t have anyone to vouch for you, you can reach out to insurance/guarantor companies like Insurent. They’ve acted as guarantors for many qualified applicants in NYC.

Even if your credit score isn’t stellar, that New York apartment you’ve been dreaming of may still be in reach.

Image Source: Flickr/Simon Cunningham

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10 Comments

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    July 10, 2014

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