Los Angeles Rentals. How Do You Handle Bad or No Credit?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Home Jane Realty BRE# 01439865

Los Angeles Rentals with no credit or bad credit?

A few of my rental clients are looking for Los Angeles rentals will less than stellar credit or no credit.Handling Bad or No Credit When Renting a Los Angeles Home

The sad part is they often don’t know that their credit will not meet the standards of a prospective landlord and are shocked when they are refused.  One hit on your report, a late payment, something about which you may not be aware, can drive your score down, so you need to check your credit report at least once a year.

What is considered good credit?

In my experience landlords are looking for mid 700s and up.  If you are in the 600s then you need to pull out all the stops.

How can you get around a bad credit report or no credit?

Prospective tenants from another country generally have no credit.  Together with those who don’t have great credit the landlord may be satisfied with a combination of the following options:

  • Pay several months rent up front.
  • Find a strong guarantor who will sign the lease and be responsible over the entire tenancy.
  • Offer a little more in rent.
  • Find excellent references, especially previous landlords.
  • If you are from out of the country and working for a local company, get that company to vouch for you.  Maybe they will be willing to act as the guarantor.
  • Proof of enough funds to show that you can afford to pay the rent for a year with money to spare.

And last but not least, don’t even think of negotiating on the price.  You do not have a strong position from which to bargain.

Money can make a difference, so don’t give up, and be prepared to be creative.

Los Angeles Rentals


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Pat Champion
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post this goes to show your credit is important rather you are trying to buy or rent. Thanks for sharing.

Sep 11, 2012 03:04 AM #1
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Carlson returns home today with the goal of moving back down to LA in a few months.  This post couldn't have come in a more timely fashion.  I will need to have that talk with him about his credit . . . which I have no idea about. 

Sep 11, 2012 03:15 AM #2
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

No credit isn't necessarily a risk, but great suggestions for someone with bad credit.

Sep 11, 2012 04:25 AM #3
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good afternoon Jane,

I would be leery with a tenant that has a bad credit score but as you point out there are ways around it! Your tips are worth reviewing!

Sep 11, 2012 04:30 AM #4
Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker
RVA Home Team - Richmond, VA
RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity.

Excellent tips on how to handle bad or no credit. I was recently speaking with a woman who went through a bankruptcy years ago and she ONLY uses cash! I referred her to a mortgage lender for tips on how to responsibly build up her credit.

Sep 11, 2012 05:51 AM #5
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale www.TahoeLauraLuxuryHomes.com
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Jane - Great tips on how to get a place if you have no credit, or poor credit.  Your experience as a real estate professional really shines here.  Knowing what options a poor credit, or no credit person has can make the difference in getting a place, or being rejected!

Sep 11, 2012 07:19 AM #6
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


These are excellent suggestions for those would-be renters who are having issues becuase of credit, not an uncommon issue these days especially with so many who have gone through the foreclosure and short sale process.

I have run into a few landlords who don't seem as concerned as they proabbly should be, while others have very high expectations, and probably should based on past experience.


Sep 11, 2012 10:02 AM #7
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Jane, I love your tips for renting with little, bad or no credit ...these are so worthwhile sharing & printing out...thanks!

Sep 11, 2012 10:28 AM #8
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Jane:  LOVE this post on so many levels.  Having NO credit is just as worrisome and problematic as having bad credit in so many instances.  And the fact that you present this info with a bit of a twist ... from that of an international citizen ... makes it extremely helpful.  I hope many bookmark it and keep it for those instances it speaks best to ...


Sep 11, 2012 11:24 AM #9
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Jane - So many people think because they can obtain financing with a credit score in the 600's that it's considered good credit, BUT as you mentioned most landlords want it in the mid 700's.  One of my rental clients had a credit score just over 700, but due to a bankruptcy over 6 years ago the landlord wanted 5 months up front.

Sep 11, 2012 12:21 PM #10
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

Jane - I've helped more than a few tenants navigate their way through bad credit over the years.  There are so many reasons good people have bad credit--divorce, the recent housing crisis are but two reasons.  Your tips are on target and valuable for tenants and agents.  Yes, money does talk!

Sep 11, 2012 11:59 PM #11
Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc
Benchmark Realty LLc - Nashville, TN

It seems like every renter here has questionable credit, and they don't understand why landlords don't want to take a risk. I don't know why they would.

Sep 12, 2012 04:47 AM #12
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

Pat,  thank you.

Carla, better get cracking or you will be the guarantor.

Roger,  here credit is king.  So many have lost out because of iffy credit even though they are solid.

Dorie,  credit can change at a moment's notice, so it would be nice if the overall picture was looked at.

Shannon,  that is great advice.  A lender can certainly help.

Laura,  you are absolutely right.  And thank you.

Jeff,  I generally find the ones who ARE concerned and it is difficult to get around.

Ginny,  thank you.

Gene,  I think no credit is sometimes easier.  Thanks for the kind words.

Michelle, that is sometimes the only way to get around it.  Pay several months up front.

Norma,  but then we have those great tenants that waltz in with good scores and it goes so easily :)

Larry, you need to ask them what would happen if the tables were turned.


Sep 12, 2012 10:37 AM #13
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I find a lot of people don't even know their credit score.  When I recently got ready to purchase a new car I pulled my own credit so I could see where I stood at getting that zero % interest (love some free money) and was well prepared when I got to the dealership.

Sep 13, 2012 06:23 AM #14
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

Tammy,  that is the way to do it.  Don't wait for a nasty surprise.

Sep 13, 2012 06:25 AM #15
Coral Gundlach
Compass - Arlington, VA
Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.

This is great advice!  I had not thought of all these ways around a bad credit score.   It is true that people just don't know, they don't check and they don't realize there are dings on their credit.

Sep 13, 2012 10:10 AM #16
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

Coral,  people need to plan ahead to avoid losing out on difficult to find rentals.

Sep 13, 2012 10:14 AM #17
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