Jackie is writing this article from the USA the principles are mostly the same wherever you live.
If you’re a sobering addict looking for a new home to rent, but don’t have much money and a bad credit history to back you up on what you fear will be a fruitless search, be aware that you do have options to beef up your credentials. Here are a few to explore:
Know Your Credit Report Inside-Out
You should always revisit your credit history from time to time to know all the necessary information, such as credit rating and years of registry, while watching out for errors. The latter you’ll have to remove via dispute. How to Repair Your Credit.
Doing small things like paying credit card bills on time, responding to collection agency telephone calls promptly, and not closing an account in good standing, can go a long way to improving your credit score.
You may also explain the negative points on your credit report by adding a 100-word statement to the document for potential landlords to read. You can go the full nine yards and submit an explanation letter to the negative items of your report in your rental application.
Where possible, submit proof of the errors of your report and highlight any progress you’ve recently made to repair your score.
Ask for a Recommendation
Have a previous landlord write a letter of recommendation for you, underscoring how you’ve been current on your rent. Include a cover letter and personal references in your application to your prospective landlord.
Incentives to Pitch
You can do the following to persuade your landlord to take you on, even with your not-so-good credit history:
Moving In Immediately: Because landlords want to start generating income immediately, they may want to accept you as a tenant when other candidates prefer moving in much later.
Ask for a Shorter-Term Lease: The idea here is to pitch a trial period of, say, three to six months, in order to prove to your landlord that you can pay. If you stick to rental payments and stay on your landlord’s good side, he or she may consider renewing when the trial period is over.
Pitch a Larger Security Deposit: If your pocketbook can cover it, offer to pay a larger security deposit to your prospective landlord. However, keep in mind that rental deposits may have an imposed ceiling by the laws of your state.
Pay Promptly: Bring your checkbook or cash with you when you’re out hunting for an apartment. Paying on the spot increases your chances of booking the apartment.
Stick to your Budget
Landlords are well-informed of the importance of the “rent-to-income” ratio. Tenants who only spend 25-35% percent of their annual income on rent is someone a landlord would like to do business with. Sometimes your rent-to-income ratio qualifies you for a different property that suits your budget more. Staying within budget is vital to keeping you in the safe zone of your credit.
Look for Independent Owners
Look for independent property owners who are renting rather than apartment management companies. The latter usually have to follow a rule book regarding application approvals whereas independent landlords have considerably more flexibility.
Find a Co-Signer
You can turn to a friend or loved one to back you up on the lease as a co-signer. Co-signers agree to be responsible for payment of rent in the event you trip up on paying. A major decision, the co-signer legally becomes citable in court, along with your name, should the landlord sue you over any missed rental payments.
Think Outside Your Box
Don’t limit your search to only the areas you already know. In fact, RedFin (The Guide to Finding the Right Place for Recovery) suggests relocating to an area or neighborhood far from your old stomping grounds. There’s something to be said for a fresh start, plus you don’t want to see constant reminders (and possibly temptations) from your old life. That might mean increasing your budget or committing to pinching pennies for a while, but it will be well-worth it in the end to be away from shadows of the past.
Many sobering addicts find it hard to get back on their feet while battling their addiction demons. However, you do have options when it comes to finding good housing with bad credit. We hope the above tips will help you in your quest to find a decent home at a price you can afford.