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Ask Savvy: How Do I Get My Bad Credit Under Control? Part II

Dear Savvy,

I have bad credit and am trying to get it under control. Can you give me any tips on how to control it quickly? Can I get an apartment with bad credit? And is me having bad credit stopping me from getting a better paying job?

I answered the first part of this question earlier. See my answer regarding getting an apartment and a better paying job when you


Savvy says: Let's start with the question about getting an apartment with bad credit. A low credit score indicates that you haven't been paying your bills on time and puts up a red flag to landlords reviewing you as a possible tenant. Landlords want tenants who pay rent on time and all they know of your financial habits is what shows on your credit report.

I've heard that some landlords don't require credit checks, though in all of my rental experience I've never come across this scenario myself. Landlords will likely ask for a larger security deposit up front if your credit is bad, so if you're thinking of renting it's a good idea to start saving up for moving costs. Asking someone close to you to cosign your lease may be an option, but realize it's a big favor: If you don't pay your rent, your cosigner is on the hook for the payments.

As for bad credit preventing you from getting a better paying job, my answer is that if you're interviewing for a position that involves finances, confidentiality, and handling money, then your credit probably contributes to your rejection. Some companies check applicants' credit regardless of the specific position under consideration, but not all companies utilize credit checks as part of the hiring process. So, your score may be a factor in your ability to get a better paying job, but there's no way for me to say for sure.


Join The Conversation
melizzle melizzle 8 years
Find a co-signer. Pay down debt. Don't miss bills. And be patient. That's really the only way to improve your credit.
brielleblonde brielleblonde 8 years
i've never had a credit check when renting apartments. i rented one in school, but had to get my mom to co-sign (as did all my roommates) because I didn't make enough money per year. I am now renting in Ohio and they checked if I ever rented before, but didn't do a credit check
cvandoorn cvandoorn 8 years
All the apartments i've rented in California have required credit checks. You know what's unfair though, with this current economy, and all the bailouts to the banks, credit card companies are lowering credit limits or increasing interest rates to people who do pay their bills on time. It happened to me. My credit line was cut by $20,000 on a card that I pay off every month. If this reflects negatively on my credit report (which it probably will), I basically get penalized for nothing.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
Perhaps location could play a role, starangel82! I've rented 5 apartments, all in California, and every time the rental agency or landlord checked my credit.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Thank God my landlord didn't run mine...I think it's because I look and sound (and well am) pretty together he didn't see it as a worry... Back when I was 19 however when I did the credit damage is another story...
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Savvy, I think it depends on where you live and who you rent from. In college when I rented from an actual company, then yes, I had a credit check. Since college, I've never had to do a credit check for an apartment. Some of that may just be Old South mentality that you don't need a credit check.
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