How to Get an Apartment with Bad Credit or a Poor Rental History

apartment bad credit

How to Get an Apartment with Bad Credit and Rental History

Navigating the rental market can be a daunting task, especially if you have a poor credit history or negative rental records. However, don’t lose hope! There are still ways to secure an apartment, even with less-than-perfect circumstances.

I’m Nick Bryant, a case manager with over 13 years of experience searching for community resources, connecting clients, and thinking of ways to help people with problems like finding an apartment with a poor rental history. 

In this article, we’ll explore various strategies to help you find a place to call home, including offering a larger security deposit, paying higher rent, and using Second Chance apartment locators.

Offer a Larger Security Deposit to Rent An Apartment If You Have A Poor Rental History

One way to convince a landlord to take a risk on you is by making the potential reward worth the risk. After all, if you have evictions or a broken lease this is a risk for the landlord.

Put yourself in the landlord’s shoes and think what would someone in your situation need to do, to convince you that they would pay rent on time?

This is the approach that you will need to take. Here are two methods to consider:

1. Offer a Larger Security Deposit

If it’s not illegal in your state, consider offering two or three months’ worth of security deposit. This provides the landlord with a safety net, knowing that they have enough funds to cover any potential damages or unpaid rent. However, be aware that some states have security deposit caps, limiting this option.

2. Pay a Higher Monthly Rent

Another option is to offer a higher monthly rent than the landlord is asking. Money is a powerful motivator, and a higher rent can help compensate for the added risk of renting to someone with bad credit or a rental history.

Second Chance Apartment Locators Can Help You Find Landlords To Take A Chance On You

If you don’t have the financial means to offer a larger security deposit or higher rent, don’t worry! Second Chance apartment locators can come potentially help you. 

What are Second Chance Apartment Locators?

These agencies specialize in helping individuals with bad credit, poor rental history, evictions, broken leases, and even criminal records find apartments. They connect you with landlords who are willing to take a risk on tenants with less-than-stellar backgrounds.

How Do They Work?

Second Chance apartment locators maintain a database of landlords and properties willing to work with tenants who have bad credit or rental history. They can help you find an apartment that suits your needs, budget, and location preferences.

Continuum of Care Programs: How To Get Public Housing Faster

If you’re struggling to find an apartment due to poor rental history and are facing homelessness, a Continuum of Care Program might be a viable option. These programs screen individuals to determine if they qualify for Supportive Housing, which includes Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs.

To access these resources, you’ll need to connect with the nonprofit organization in your city that manages homeless services. While securing housing through a Continuum of Care Program might not be immediate, it’s essential to know that referrals from homeless shelters are given the highest priority. In other words, obtaining a referral from a shelter can significantly increase your chances of finding housing faster through these programs.

If you have exhausted all other options searching for an apartment that will rent to you with a criminal record, visit the HUD website to find nonprofits that will assess you to see if you qualify for a supportive housing program. Chose your state with the dropdown box and you will see a listing of nonprofits who can screen you for this program. 

Roommate Finder Services SOMETIMES Don’t Check Your Credit

Roommate finder services typically don’t have strict credit requirements like landlords or property management companies. However, individual roommates may still care about your credit history, as they want to ensure you’ll be a responsible and reliable tenant. In most cases, roommates are more concerned about your ability to pay rent on time, compatibility in terms of lifestyle and habits, and overall trustworthiness.

Editor’s Note: I checked and they do not require credit checks.  As aforementioned, the person you are renting the room from may need a credit check though. Roomi, will do a background check to see if you have a history of violence, so as you can see different roommate finder websites have diffrent rules. 

While using a roommate finder service can be a more flexible option for those with bad credit, it’s essential, to be honest about your financial situation and any criminal record you have when discussing potential living arrangements. If you are going to move into another person’s apartment or home, you need to be completely honest. It would be dishonest and disrespectful to deceive someone about your criminal record or poor rental history when they are considering renting a room in their apartment to you.

That being said, if you are willing to be honest here is a list of 10 roommate-finder services that you can look into, if you cannot find a landlord to rent to you. 


Finding an apartment with bad credit and rental history might seem challenging, but it’s not impossible. If you are in this situation you have a few options: 

  1. Offer a bigger security deposit or pay more in monthly rent. 
  2. Find a Second Chance Apartment locator. 
  3. Find a Continuum of Care program to screen you for supportive housing
  4. Use a roommate finder services

Again, having a eviction or broken lease on your record will make it harder to find an apartment, but if you follow the steps above you will eventually find someone to rent to you. 

If you need help finding second chance apartment locators in your area, or the Continuum of Care program that services your city, just comment below with your city and state and I’ll let you know who to contact. 

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