Apartment complexes use a variety of methods to determine if perspective renters are suitable. Common methods are references, background checks, and credit reports. The criteria an apartment complex uses will vary by the complex. Some may have a minimum credit score that will be accepted while others focus more on references.
The Credit Report
The credit report will show the apartment managers how you have handled your previous credit. There are many pieces of information a credit report will provide and can be used to help you or hurt you. Not only is your overall credit score taken into consideration, but also your payment history, eviction records and judgments.
Your payment history has a great impact on how an apartment complex views you. You may have a bad credit score from a difficult financial time in the past, but your past year may show on-time payments for all creditors. A creditor will see this and you can explain your financial difficulties and explain how you are now on the right track. Your credit report will back that fact up. On the other hand, if you have recent late payments on your accounts, he may look at this as a sign that you can't pay your bills, so how does he know you will be able to pay him?
An eviction record is terrible to have on your credit report. This tells the apartment that not only did you fail to pay your rent, but you were evicted by a previous landlord. You will have a very difficult time proving to a new landlord that your times have changed. Be prepared to provide a good explanation, explain how things will be different now and possibly be willing to pay a higher security deposit.
Judgments are shown in the public record section of your credit report and will let the apartment complex know that you have been sued. The apartment complex will know that a judgment will allow the creditor to garnish wages and even take funds from your bank accounts. This can leave you without enough money to pay your rent.
Landlords want to rent available units, but also do not want to get caught in a situation that may end with unpaid rent or an eviction situation. Be prepared to provide your landlords with explanations to any difficulties on your credit report. If your credit report is terrible but you have an excellent past rental history, be prepared to tell the complex this and provide references.