Expert: Alicia Magee - 5/27/2004
My husband and I got married in March, and we are looking for an apartment or house to rent.
Something we are running into is that some landlords want to check my credit as well as his.
His credit is excellent, and he has 1) lived in the same apartment for 7 years; 2) worked for the same company for 7 years.
However, my credit is not good, and I have a spotty work history.
I have an unpaid student loan which I can basically do nothing about until September (due to a lot of family obligations and such right now, I can neither maintain the necessary number of units to get a deferment, nor can I work to pay it off, nor do I qualify for the unemployment deferment - I'm not on unemployment) when I will be in a position to look for a job.
I have been out of work since moving in with my husband (I left a rather bad job about 600 mi. away) and have been going to school part-time, but under the required limit to get the student deferment for my student loan.
I have been a re-entry student for the past couple of years, and had moved back in with my mom. My work history prior to that, is all freelance and contract.
I do not have any bankruptcies, evictions or unlawful detainers, but I have some unpaid medical bills, an old phone bill from about 7 years ago, and this student loan which I took out about four-five years ago.
Right now we are a one-income household. He makes enough money to support me and still pay the rent, but I am wondering if this will be an issue to landlords.
I am worried that my credit issues may hurt our chances of finding a
It depends on the landlord. Each landlord is allowed to set standards as to what is good and bad credit. They then have to treat everyone the same according to that standard. If they decide a credit score of 600 and no bankruptcy is OK then anyone with 600 and no bankruptcy would be able to rent. If the landlord sets the standard he or she goes by as 700 then no one under 700 would be allowed to rent. Some would want to do a credit report on both of you on the chance that only one of you might become responsible for the rent. Find the apartment you want and let them do the credit check or checks. That's the only way to find out what will happen. At the point where you are filling out the application for the apartment you may say or admit to the rental agent that your credit is not as good as your husbands and see what the agent says. There is no way to know without trying whether your lesser credit will be an issue with a particular landlord. The fact that you don't have a bankruptcy is good. It's possible that some landlords overlook student loans. The seven year old phone bill will be way down the list. I hope it's not too big. Good luck. I hope things work out and you are able to repair your credit eventually by paying off the medical bills etc. It would not be a good idea to just let your husband rent the apartment and then have you move in later, although I'm sure people do that. There might be a clause in the lease that would penalize you for that in some way, and it might be grounds for the landlord to issue a new lease and then you are back where you started. Alicia