If you’ve got plenty of money, and no criminal record, renting an apartment should be easy. Still, finding a nice place to live even with some scuffmarks on your past isn't impossible. Just don’t be surprised if the manager asks you some questions about any hiccups in your history before she approves your application.
What Affects Your Chances on Renting an Apartment?
A credible apartment manager will collect a fee to do a tenant check. This will cover a look into your credit and rental history, and a criminal background check. There are no hard and fast rules about what is and isn’t okay; it’s up to the building’s owner or manager. A felony conviction will keep you out of some places, but the manager can overlook it if he wants. You’ll almost certainly face rejection if you have a rental history showing a trail of broken leases or damaged property. Serious credit problems can also keep you out, though an offer to pay more money up front can smooth that one over.
Can an Apartment Not Rent to You Due to Credit?
An apartment manager can choose to not rent to you if you have bad or no credit. In most states, he has obligations to you once you’ve moved in, and if you don’t pay it can put him in a very difficult position. An apartment manager is protecting himself by screening out the bad candidates early. If you've got lousy credit, you'll be at the mercy of the renter's needs that month. Some may take a risk on you if you drop a big down payment and they need to fill units right now. If that's not the case, you may need to keep looking.
Will Missed Mortgage Payments Affect Renting an Apartment?
The typical rental manager will take a look at how well you’ve handled your finances in the past. If you know something like missed mortgage payments might show up on a credit check, talk to the manager ahead of time. His main concern is to ensure you're going to pay him. If you let him know why you missed payments before, and it's a credible reason, he might be willing to overlook it.
Can You Rent an Apartment if You Owe Another One on Your Credit Report?
It’s entirely up to the apartment manager. The whole point of running a credit check is for the apartment manager to figure out whether or not you’ll pay him. If you still owe somebody else, it stands to reason you won't pay the new guy either. That could lead to him telling you to find lodging elsewhere.
Does Renting an Apartment Need Flood Insurance or Just Property Insurance?
Renter’s insurance protects your stuff against theft, fire and certain other kinds of damage, but not flooding. If you’re living in a flood-vulnerable area, you have to take the extra step and get flood insurance along with your regular property coverage. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, flood insurance applies if you get soaked in a natural event, such as a river that overflowed. It doesn't cover water damage from a broken pipe, or even rain pelting in through a window. Your renter’s property insurance needs to cover losses from those events.
- American Apartment Owner’s Association: Tenant Screening
- California Department of Consumer Affairs: Looking for a Rental Unit
- NYC Affordable Housing Resource Center: FAQ (Can a building owner discriminate against me?)
- Texas Department of Insurance: Renters Insurance
- FloodSmart.gov: Building Versus Contents Coverage