Credit scores. You can not watch TV for an hour with out seeing at least two commercials about checking your credit score, protecting your credit score, or improving your credit score. Why is this? It wasn’t always this way. Just a few years ago, the only time that credit score even came up was when you were buying a house, car, or getting a loan (many times for one of those two things). Now it seems like your credit score is as important as your social security number.
While there may not be a solid, concrete, black and white answer to why the all mighty credit score has come to rule our lives the way that it has, there are some good indications as to the reason. As Americans (I can’t speak for citizens of other countries, only my own), we have come to think that the only way that you can live is to “keep up with the neighbors”. If they have a nice car, we have to have a nicer one. This has led many, many people to live completely beyond their means. Since they don’t actually have the money to buy the things that they want, they will put it on a credit card. In this way, for a fee, they get the instant gratification of getting the new toy immediately. What many people don’t realize is that by the time they have actually paid for the item, it has cost them 3 times as much as it should have in the first place.
How does this effect you getting an apartment? Landlords look at credit scores just as much as everybody else does. It is almost impossible to fill out a rental application without having a credit check done along with it. While the person getting the apartment may think that this is just more hassle, if you look at it through the eyes of the possible landlord, it makes a lot of sense.
While credit scores can be notoriously inaccurate, they do tell a good portion of your financial history. It will tell things like what you have bought, how you paid, were you late, or have you written bad checks. Have you ever had a debt sent to a collection agency? While the average person may not be aware of this, business owners do not like to take this route. They actually lose money if your debt is sent to collections. Overall, your credit score, those 3 numbers (from the three major reporting agencies) will give a snapshot to your (possible) future landlord.
If you have good, or great credit, this is not a problem. If you have blips on your record that lower your number, it can very well mean you will not be living in the dream apartment that you can, in reality, actually easily afford. It is a way for landlords to protect their interests. If they have a choice between renting to a person who has never been late on a bill and a person that has been late time and time again, which would you choose if you were the landlord?
Yes, your credit score and credit report can totally effect your rental application. It can be positive or negative. All you can do is remain vigilant. Check on your scores. If there is a problem, fix it. Make sure when that credit check is ran, it comes back with gold stars. It will make your life easier in many more ways than just renting an apartment. You will save money on everything from buying a car to getting a credit card.
Your finances are your responsibility.