Bad Credit When Finding An Apartment In NYC? Here’s Help!

girl finding an apartment overlooking new york

Is your bad credit getting in the way of your dream of finding an apartment in NYC? Moving to New York City is a fantasy for many, but this dream can come crashing down when faced with our credit scores. Looking for a place for rent in New York is a daunting task. Adding bad credit to the mix makes things even more challenging. Fear not, Roomi has tips that can still help you in finding an apartment in the city.

Getting started: finding an apartment for rent in NYC when you have poor credit

So you know you have bad credit, perhaps too many student loans, or a variety of financial difficulties have put you in this difficult spot. Maybe you just hit the minimum payment option too much when paying off your credit card.

Before you start looking for help finding an apartment, it may be best to come to terms entirely with your credit situation.

If you still have time before you start looking for a place to rent in New York, you may be able to salvage the situation to fix your credit.

To do this, get a copy of your credit score, sit down and identify exact problem areas where you may have fallen through. You can use free credit monitoring services like Mint or Credit Karma to receive a breakdown of your credit history. Here you may notice some erroneous payments or simply a high number of credit cards that need to be paid off.

Credit monitoring services are easily able to point out where your credit score went off the rails. Potential problems include high balances, multiple late payments, or overdue debt collections.

Important things to note that may disqualify you from getting an apartment for rent in New York right way:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Open debt collections like medical bills, student loans, or even utility bills
  • Previous eviction history
  • Criminal record (while illegal to discriminate based on this according to HUD federal law, this may still factor in your application)

Finding an apartment with bad credit 101: Choose a landlord who can make it easier

Most landlords who have apartments for rent in New York will most likely ask for a credit check, background check, a security deposit, and first month’s rent.

While the larger rental corporations and housing societies may not accept your bad credit, you may try your luck with mom and pop-type landlord situations. You can have a conversation with them, let them know about your limitations, and hope for the best response.

If you’re in luck, they may empathize with you (especially given the COVID-19 financial crisis) and let you get away with giving a higher security deposit and just the first month’s rent. Although rare, it may just help in finding an apartment in NYC.

Get help in finding an apartment by using a personal guarantor

This is one of the most common solutions on the internet for the bad credit problem. A guarantor, by definition, is someone who is legally bound to pay your rent in case of a payment failure from your end. Any adult can qualify to be a personal guarantor— family, friends, and even corporations.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that using a co-signer or guarantor makes you a more desirable renter.

However, to have someone be a guarantor to help you rent in New York, there are a few caveats. They need to have an airtight credit history of their own and make at least 80 times the monthly rent in income.

Maybe you do not have the option to use a friend or family member as a cosigner. Perhaps you do not wish to put this burden on your family or friends. In this case, a rental cosigning company is a possible solution.

Popular choices in NYC include  Insurent Lease Guaranty and the Guarantors. International students often use this option when they do not know anyone locally to be their co-signer. Although the rental cosigning option comes with a fee, it will make your application stronger for rent in New York.

Sublet an apartment/ with roommates

Subletting an apartment with bad credit is a tricky option. However, you can try this if you have friends who may be comfortable subletting to you. In this case, they are the ones who remain on the main lease.

That way, you won’t directly have to deal with the landlord or provide your credit score. But your trust quotient with roommates would need to be very high.

Get a letter of recommendation from your previous landlord

Just like when you apply for a new job, a letter of recommendation speaks to your abilities and character. What better way to let your new rental landlord know he’ll be just fine in your hands?

In addition to a signed testament from your previous landlord, you can also get references from your current employer. Especially if you have a good employment history, it can help massively in finding an apartment quickly.

Related: Do late rent payments affect my credit score?

Pay a large security deposit

Before 2019, finding an apartment for rent in New York was possible through a large upfront payment of up to six months’ rent. However, in 2019, New York state passed rental laws that stopped this practice. This was because landlords would abuse this power when a renter really wanted the apartment.

Some renters today who are unaware of this practice still pay this large amount upfront. It is now illegal to do so in the State of New York.

Good luck apartment hunting from Roomi!

D’you know what else Roomi does outside of helping its readers with a professional development plan? With our ever-increasing lists of rooms and roommates across the world, we help you find your perfect match! Download the app here and hop on the easiest ride home, ever!