Tenant Guide to Dealing With Bad Credit

December 22nd, 2010 · 25 Comments · Rental Property, Tenant Resources

You know what I don’t like? Surprises…

I rent quite a few apartments and houses. Your credit does matter. Credit history is only a part of the picture. Your present income and savings also add to the picture I present to the landlord. I also reach some conclusions about how nice you are to deal with. Were you on time? Respectful? Organized?

So right about the time you decide to apply for the apartment, is when you should mention that you have bad credit. I will then ask you how bad… which you should answer honestly. Some owners are more forgiving than others and it depends how strong the rest of your application is, how far in the past the damage occurred and how you are doing now.

When you show up to the showing and you’re well dressed and professional, I’m going to assume that you have decent credit. If for instance you are in an undischarged bankruptcy I need to know. If you have defaulted on every single credit card you have ever owned I need to know.

I Can Possibly Help You Get The Apartment!

If you have bad credit, but a good job or even seem like a good candidate, I can perhaps make a educated guess about your candidacy and talk to the owner about your application. If you leave me to discover your horrible payment history when I actually perform the credit check, it speaks to a lie of omission and deception and I will not approve your application. Some owners have had bruised credit of their own and will be more understanding of difficulties, others just won’t even think of accepting you. I can tell you which is which and save you and me a lot of time.

I need to be the first to know not the last…. so be honest.

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • Supatra

    Hi again

    I saw that you post my question on line. thank you for the info. you’re one of a smart property manager.

    now I have more questions :

    when you screen the candidate :

    do you call the employer of the candidate?
    and what kind of questions do you ask?

    do you call current and previous landlord?
    and what do you ask?

    do you call anyone else ?

    thank you again.

    • Rachelle

      No I don’t generally have to call the employer, I get a few pay stubs. I also don’t care what the current landlord has to say, landlords will all lie to get a tenant out of their building. Previous landlords will get a call…

      My application is designed to not require very much calling, I check the information on the credit check against the information given on the application, by and large they should match. This give me an independent confirmation that the tenant is lying. I also ask a great many questions of the tenant.

      To understand the process, you have to understand what an application is…it’s simply a snapshot in time. Jobs come and go, and people split up and life happens to people. And like every mutual fund…past success it no guarantee of future success. I am very interested in the applicant’s response to adversity and what type of person they are. Their integrity, their morals and how they will integrate with the rest of the residents. These are all things that don’t go on an application.

  • Pete Akeil Frederick

    I need help getting an apartment

  • lipika

    Hi I need to ger an apartment on rent in downtown toronto. I have filed for a consumer proposal recently. Kindly let me know about the options.

    • Jolanta

      Hello Rachelle,
      I move from other province to Ontario , we sold house on last province because we lost jobs and we take decision to move Ontario.
      But more then 1 year ago we have filed for a consumer proposal . I pay regular payment and also I have still 2 cars and also I pay regular payments.
      My scores is low and I think I can’t rent apartment. Now I rent privately and I pay regularly. And also I available pay more then first and last month rent. Are son live with me and my husband ,he work but not long and he is 21 yers old and has v.good credit. Any chance we have rent apartment? Thank you

  • Elizabeth

    Hello, I have a question. I have quite a reasonable credit score-684-but have had a few late payments on credit cards two years ago. It must be noted I have and will continue to diligently pay my cards on time! I was in college then.

    Is it possible to rent or do you think landlords would reject me? I am hoping to rent by next year.

  • Joy

    Hi,I have poor/bad credit from my split with my ex husband.I’m looking for apartment to rent in toronto but i have been turned down twice.i have full time job and i can also provide advance rent.pls help me.thanks!

  • Wesley Rezba

    I have recently applied to several apts in toronto with no luck due to my credit score.I currently have an apt in orillia ont and have been sleeping on my cousins couch to work in toronto. My credit went bad when I could not find work up north like I used to.. I am stuck and stress ed out. Suppose to move thia weekend.. but now can not because of my credit.. where canbi find an apt building that will take me with bad credit

  • Jade

    I have bad credit from phone company’s from when I was 15-18 and I owe welfare money from a miscommunication but they were supposed to be deducting money from me each month to pay it back since the letter I revived that stated this I have no heard from them since that’s all I know about my credit. Other then that I have two dogs and a cat every place I apply to says no because of the dogs or just no and won’t tell me why. Is there any tips u can give me or any way u can help

    • Rachelle

      No one wants to rent to a person with a bad credit history, no job, two dogs and a cat. The tip I can give you is to get a job, work on your credit and people will be glad to rent to you.

  • Nat

    I am with social assistance and I have tried to apply to three different apartments to which I have been turned down without reason. Now I left my previous address in bad terms ( one month owing ) due to terrible living conditions. I have a couple of debts like an old cell phone and one credit card.

    I wanted to know how I could apply and get accepted. And are these debts the reason why I am being turned down?

    • Rachelle

      Yes, you have no landlord reference, poor credit and government source of income. No one will rent to you because you are a very poor risk.

  • ashley

    this lady sounds like a bitch why is anyone even bothering to answer her questions? I Have found a few places that rented to me without credit check and they were nice…just find a good agent

  • Megan

    Hi Rachelle

    I wanted to ask your advice on my current situation. I have a poor credit score (609) based on credit card usage/late cell phone bills while in university. I have been employed for the past few years as social worker and my current income is $58K/year. I also have a casual job I work on the weekends. Despite still living with my parents, I have rented in a rural area for a year when working out there and have a good reference to use. I also have positive professional and personal references. I am scheduled for a viewing of an apartment I would like to rent and was planning to be honest regarding my credit score as well as provide a letter from a family member with a good credit score willing to be my co-signer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,


  • Bilal Akbar

    Hi rachelle I am looking for apartment in Brampton two or one bedroom in high rise building I have daughter and she is 8 I am currently living in basement from past 6 yeArs I have two jobs but due to some mistakes in past my credit is not good and I am being refused several times from rental co is their any way to get apartment thank you


    • Rachelle

      Get a secured credit card, pay any outstanding bills and improve your credit. That is your choice.

    • Kamran

      Hi Bilal I am in the same situation after my bad divorced in pas I have a bad credit. Now i need apartment one bed room for my new wife. I am in a process to getting a apartment, Whenever i called the property manager and make a appointment for showing I already mention my credit issue withe manager who show me the apartment. I ask then upfront i do not have good credit in past please do tell me if that the case i do not want to waste my time and your time.
      Property manager say you have to fill the application and explain all the situation to my boss you might be alright. it is mean there is hope if you can talk with the person who make final decision and explain the situation.
      Let see what will happen once i submitt it will refuse or approve.
      I will keep try , What i know majority in the apartment building poor people live. If that is the case offcourse majority tenant are bad credit how they get the apartment. If they can get I am am the one who make 3 time more then average person make. I am sure they will accept my application.

  • Brooke

    My husband and I need to find a new house to rent.

    My husband makes 100K a year and he can provide pay stubs. We have great references and we’ve never been evicted or paid rent late. We also have tenant insurance. The only problem is we had to file for consumer proposal due to unexpected job loss a couple of years ago so we have bad credit.

    Would anyone be willing to rent to us?

    • Rachelle

      Probably not. You can offer additional security like more rent to the landlord. The best idea is actually work on your credit. Even if you had a consumer proposal, you can get a secured credit card to increase your score.

  • Ell

    I agree with you. Honesty is always appreciated.
    And here’re some more recommendations for renters with bad credit. First one is that landlord referral holds credibility in the eyes of another landlord. Renters could even contact the other people whom they’ve had a financial relationship with – financial institutions, and current previous employers.
    Tenants could also offer to pay more rent or higher security deposit, as this article https://rentberry.com/blog/renting-with-low-credit claims.