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Did you attend an expensive university and had to take out a student loans to pay a tuition? And today, because of the rocky economy, you have not been able to find a job, to pay back your debt? Or maybe you’ve suffered an unexpected illness and raked up thousands of dollars in hospital and medical bills? There are many situations that can negatively impact a person’s credit score, but there’s no question that you require some kind of credit history, whether good or bad, for almost everything from getting a cell phone to a job.

Many people do not realize this, but bad credit can also affect you ability to get an apartment.  Landlords usually check candidates credit scores to gauge your ability to pay your rent on time.  Credit requirements vary by landlord. So, even with a steady job, with a six figure salary, or if you have a perfect rental history, some landlords may still reject your rental application if you have bad credit.

Here are some tips on how to rent an apartment with if you have a bad credit history.

Get recommendations:

Getting referrals from people or businesses, with which you have had previous positive financial dealings, can go a long way to counter your bad credit. A flattering recommendation from your previous landlord that clearly demonstrates all your rental payments were paid is a great way to show a new landlord that despite your poor credit rating you have an excellent history of paying your rent.

You can also provide letters from current or previous employers, stating your annual salary and length of employment.  Letters and statements from you bank can be used to indicate your savings and spending patterns.

If there are extenuating circumstancesthat contributed to your poor credit score, like medical bills, job loss due to downsizing or layoffs or divorce,write a letter that explains yourreasons for missing payments, outlines your plans to improveyour credit score, and most importantly, substantiates you ability to manage monthly rent payments.

Pay past due balances

You are more likely to get you rental application denied if you have unpaid past due balances to previous landlords or utility companies.  So if possible, try to pay those off, before you start submitting apartment applications.  This goes for any other short-term debts like cell phones or cable bills. Once you have paid off these bills, gets a settlement letter,stating the account has been paid in full. Keep in mind, if it’s a credit card account without annual fees, you may want to keep the paid-off card open, as it will play a positive role in bringing up your credit score.

Another good idea is to collectpayment records of all your billsfor the past 90 days, and provide this to the new landlord.

Get a cosigner

Another option,to improve your chances of getting an apartment with bad credit, is to get a cosigner.  Having the financial backing of an outside party increases your chances of approval and can even influence the terms of your agreement.  Remember that the point of having a co-signor is to compensate for you deficient credit worthiness.Make sure your consignor is someone with good to excellent credit history.  Keep in mind,if you become late or delinquent in your futurerent payments, both parties will see missed payment in their individual credit reports.  Even worse, the landlord can legally hold the co-signor responsible for the value of the lease, if you are evicted.  So be sure to ask someone you have a longstanding historyand positive rapport with, like a family member or a close friend.