What You Can Do Before You Apply for an Apartment
Before you fill out a rental application, check your credit report to ensure accuracy. If you spot errors, be sure to dispute them before applying, as they can negatively affect your chances of approval.
In addition, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends asking potential landlords a few questions about their rental screening process.6 For example: What information will be included on their report? Will I have the opportunity to explain any red flags, or will certain adverse marks guarantee application denial? How much will the report cost, and who covers the fee?
Since many landlords require prospective tenants pay for such reports, it may be wise to avoid applying to more apartments than necessary, as it can save you money. Furthermore, some tenant credit checks may be hard credit inquiries, which can temporarily lower your credit score.
To help boost your chances of approval, now may be a good time to do some financial housekeeping. For example, try to minimize credit card debt or overdue payments before applying. If your credit score is lacking, there may be additional options worth discussing with a potential landlord. For example, getting a co-signer, offering a larger deposit, or, if you have no reported credit history, showing a paper trail of financial responsibility could all help boost your chances of approval.