Not As Easy As It Sounds
Finding a great place to rent isn’t as easy as opening an app and discovering a place that fits your needs. With the cost of renting going up and more people moving to the San Antonio metro area, finding a rental that’s a perfect match has become more challenging.
First things first,–so lets talk about credit before we talk about where to find your rental pad. If you have excellent credit, you can skip this section and head down to the next section on where to look for rentals.
Do I Have To Have Good Credit In Order to Rent?
In general, the answer to this question is “yes.” While you may not have to have a credit score in the 800’s, most landlords DO look at your credit score(s) prior to approving you. If they don’t care or ask about your credit score, run background checks or ask about employment, while you might feel relieved at how “easy” it was to qualify, you may be dealing with a scammer. According to Redfin, the average credit score for all renters was 638. (Source1). Also, keep in mind, in a competitive market, an applicant with a higher credit score may get accepted over an applicant with a low score.
Renting with bad credit is never easy, but it’s much easier for people with a high income. You’ll want to show proof of your salary and a recommendation from your employer. Plus, you’ll want to have a clear rental history of paying your monthly rent on time. You should also have the extra money in your savings to show you have reserve funds and be able to offer a larger deposit if needed. And you may also want to find a cosigner with good credit.Mekaila Oaks; Redfin
Improving Your Chances With a Low Credit Score
- If this isn’t your first rental, show your prospective landlord receipts of on-time payments to your current landlord and ask for a recommendation.
- Ask for a letter of recommendation from your current employer. (Here are some great templates/examples: https://www.purshology.com/2020/07/rental-reference-letter-from-employer-template-samples)
- Save up at least 3 months living expenses in a savings account and be able to show proof to the landlord that you have money in reserve.
- Find a co-signer or someone who will guarantee your lease if the landlord allows this.
- Find out if the landlord will permit you to offer additional money upfront in the form of a refundable security deposit.
- Don’t apply for anything that exceeds 30% of your take home income.
WHERE TO LOOK
You can always start out by telling friends, family and co-workers that you are looking for a place to rent. Sometimes this can work out great if a place hasn’t been put on the market yet! There are also many places to specifically search for apartments online:
- https://www.apartmentguide.com/ Apple | Android
- https://www.apartmentlist.com (Has app)
- Hotpads Apple | Android
- Padmapper Apple | Android
- Rent. Apple | Android
- Zumper Apple | Android
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Last but not least, it’s certainly a good idea to know your rights as a tenant. Do you truly understand your rental agreement? Do you know how to protect your privacy? Get repairs made when something goes wrong? How to check out potential landlords? Yes, there are some really BAD landlords/property management companies around! This particular incident2 happened on the Northeast side of San Antonio, where Helen Klonek, owner of Bexar County Eviction Services, collaborated with the management of a mobile home park, used “bogus eviction notices and other threatening tactics” to intimidate residents into leaving.
“This is just business” and, “People gotta make money,” referring to the mobile home residents as “peons” before driving away.Helen Klonek; Bexar County Eviction Services
Thankfully, this is not the “norm” when it comes to property management companies, however, it definitely is a good idea to do your homework prior to renting a place. A bad or unethical property manager or company can prevent you from enjoying a peaceful place at the end of the day.
While nothing in this article is intended as legal advice, I highly recommend seeking the advice of a qualified real estate attorney if you find yourself up against an unethical landlord or property management company. Nolo.com not only offers excellent “common sense” advice, they can also help you find a real estate attorney in your local area.
1Oaks, M., 2022. What’s the Minimum Credit Score to Rent an Apartment?. [online] Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More. Available at: <https://www.redfin.com/blog/minimum-credit-score-needed-to-rent-apartment/> [Accessed 6 September 2022].
2Martinez, D., 2022. San Antonio: Mobile Home Residents Protest Landlord and Private Eviction Company Terror. [online] Tribune of the People. Available at: <https://tribuneofthepeoplenews.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/san-antonio-mobile-home-residents-protest-landlord-and-private-eviction-company-terror/> [Accessed 6 September 2022].