Dealing with bad credit or no credit can put you at the bottom of a list of applicants if you're looking to rent an apartment. There are many reasons why someone's credit score tanks – from failing to pay bills due to job loss to getting one's identity stolen.
If you have a steady income and need to rent an apartment, you can write a letter of credit to your landlord, explaining why your score is so low. Make sure your letter describes the steps you're taking to clean up your finances and why you're an otherwise, stellar tenant.
Be transparent about your credit and try speaking to your landlord in person or over the phone. Admit that you made mistakes but that you've also made strides to be more responsible. The key is to help your landlord understand you can handle a rental and pay rent on time.
Here's a sample letter for when you need a letter of credit. Fill in the information for sections in parentheses ( ), while the section in brackets [ ] is for your information, not to be included in the letter.
(Current Address of Your Apartment, unit ###)
(City, State, Zip Code)
(Landlord Or Apartment Company's Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)
Re: Letter detailing my credit history
Dear (Name of landlord or manager),
As you know, I'm interested in renting apartment # (fill in the blank with the apartment number). This letter explains my credit history and why it is currently at (include your current or estimated credit score).[Give specific explanation here.]
As you can see from my credit report, I made late payments on my (list where you have made late payments, such as student loans and credit cards). It was during this time I experienced financial hardship, as (explain your reasoning, such as a lay off).[Provide more details around your steady income.]
Since then, I have found a full-time, steady job and have been employed for (length of employment) almost a year. I would like to move closer to (reason you want to move here, such as job, family, school, etc.), therefore, I'm interested in renting the unit.[Explain how you're fixing your credit.]
I am working diligently to fix my credit and raise my score. I have (explain what you have done, such as paid off all outstanding bills). I've contacted the creditor as well as the credit bureaus so they can mark these to “paid" status. [Only include this last statement if true.]
Despite these issues, I believe I am an ideal tenant. I can provide the following for you:
I am actively working on building my credit score by paying my bills on time and checking my score each month.
If you have any questions or concerns, I can be reached at (phone number) or (email).
Thank you and have a great day.
(Your Name)[If you have letters from creditors or proof that you have made strides to fix your credit, attach them at the end of this letter.]