Is it Possible to Get an Apartment with Bad Credit in NYC?

Is it Possible to Get an Apartment with Bad Credit in NYC?

Published: 23 Sep, 2019

Last Updated: 31 Jan, 2023

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Anyone who has ever hunted an apartment in New York will admit it’s not as easy as walking your dog in Central Park. It’s a very competitive market and the steep costs don’t help either. If you’re looking to get an apartment with bad credit in NYC, the odds are stacked even more against you.

Bad credit is a lot like life in general. At some point along the way, you could hit a speed bump which throws a monkey wrench into what was otherwise an event-free journey. Good thing is, you always get a second chance to steady the ship. And so it is with low credit scores. Whatever happened, you always have the opportunity to get things back on track. But it will take a while.

Question is, how do you snag a place to live in the meantime if your credit score is anywhere south of 700, the magic number for most landlords in New York?

To get an apartment with bad credit in NYC will be harder, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible. Here are a few ways to circumvent around it!


1. Find Ways You Can Boost Your Score in Advance

If you know you will be searching for a place in the not-too-distant future, consider requesting your score report to see what is dragging it down. Don’t worry, this won’t have an adverse effect on your score.

Once you do, if you are not sure what items to tackle first, consider investing some cash into a credit repair service to help get your score up. Then give yourself about 3 months to improve.


2. Be Upfront About Your Bad Credit

Be honest with potential landlords. Write a letter detailing that you’re aware of your credit score and give reasons why it is not very good.

As much as it is tempting to look for no-credit-check apartments where credit history is not a priority, having this information surfacing up after the fact never looks good.

This approach works best in apartments managed by individual landlords as opposed to property management companies. Whichever the case, though, you’ll gain a reputation for honesty, an often understated quality in a renter-landlord relationship.


3. Pay More Upfront

Typically, when renting an apartment, you are required to fork out a security deposit in addition to the first month’s rent.

If you want to get an apartment with bad credit in NYC, you may have to go the extra mile for your application to stand out. This could entail coughing up not just the security and first month’s rent, but also paying two or even three months’ rent in advance, on top of the deposit.


4. Consider Renting During Slow Season

The pace of New York’s real estate slows down in the winter months, making it an ideal time for renters with bad credit to find a new home. There aren’t too many applications flying through the owner’s or property manager’s desk at this time, so they tend to be a little more giving.

Another option that can boost your chances of getting those keys is signing a longer lease to show your commitment, which absolves the landlord of the hassle of looking for a new tenant in a few months’ time.


5. Use a Co-Signer

When all else fails when you want to get an apartment with bad credit in NYC, use a co-signer with good credit to help you secure the lease. This could be a close friend or family member. In the event you fail to pay up, the co-signer will be asked to.

Just make sure not to break their trust when they agree to bail you out.

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