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How to rent when you have bad credit

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

When you fill out applications for rental properties, most include wording that gives them permission to check your credit report. So, the property manager uses the personal information to pull your credit report and can deny your application based on what was found. A reader of my column recently asked how he could overcome this challenge. Here’s how:

Improving your credit can take time – perhaps two years or more – so, if you are unable to maintain your current housing arrangement until you are able to re-establish your credit history, you do have some options that may help you qualify to rent now.

First, be up front with the property management team and let them know that you have bad credit before they find out from your credit report. Explain your situation and the steps you’ve taken to improve it.

Next, if possible, get a reference from a former landlord that states the dates that you rented from him or her and your payment status – if you paid on time and as agreed.

Finally, if you have someone that would be willing to co-sign a lease agreement with you, let the property management know. Keep in mind that you are putting someone else’s credit in jeopardy when you request that they co-sign for you, so you should only make the request if you plan to uphold your end of the bargain.

If you still find that you can’t qualify for a lease, you can try to rent from an individual who may not have the same pre-screening policies in place as larger apartment or condominium complexes. Or even if they do, an individual may be more willing to take a chance that you will indeed meet your obligations as a tenant, regardless of your past credit history.

Money Management International (MMI) is celebrating National Homeownership Month throughout June by providing potential and existing homeowners with valuable tips and tools. Visit the updated Homeownership and Home Loans section of to learn more.

You might also enjoy reading:

What to look for when renting apartment 
When renting makes sense
Things to consider when your lease is up

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Do you know what to look for when purchasing a home? Unforeseen problems can lead to huge financial burdens!

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Guide to energy efficient summer savings for your home


Although summer is still a few weeks away, the mercury is on the rise, causing utility customers around the nation to sweat. With American families spending an average of $2,200 a year on energy bills, and air conditioning alone accounting for up to 50 percent during the summer months, many consumers are frantically searching for ways to cut cooling cost.


During the hot, summer months having an energy efficient home can offer big savings. Consider the following green saving tips to help you beat the heat while combating the high cost of energy:

Check light bulbs. Consider switching to energy smart light bulbs and energy saving power strips. They use less electricity and will help you save on your electric bill.

Consider energy efficient appliances. Check your appliances to make sure they are not wasting energy and your money. Test the rubber-like seal around the door of your refrigerator by closing the door on a dollar bill. If the dollar slides out easily, your refrigerator may be leaking cold air into the house. Energy Star appliances, which are approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, can save you up to $700 per year according to

Perform a home energy audit. Many utility companies offer free energy check-ups to their customers. The utility company will send an expert to your home and alert you to areas where you may be wasting energy. You will also receive other helpful tips on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Turn up the thermostat. Letting your AC run when you are not at home can rack up your bill. A good rule of thumb for when you are not at home is to turn your AC five degrees higher than you normally have it set. If you are willing to make the initial investment, a programmable thermostat can save you money in the long run. To help keep cool around the house wear lightweight, loose clothing made from natural fibers.

Maintain your system. Replace the filters in your air conditioner every month. Dirty, clogged filters are a major waste of money because the air conditioning unit has to use some of its energy just to force the air through the obstructed filter. And, that’s in addition to the energy needed to cool your home.

Turn your yard green. Landscaping is a fun summer project that can provide shade and wind barriers for your home while you give back to the earth. Worried about your water bill? Try watering at night to cut back on evaporation.

During the summer months every little change can make a big difference. Keep in-and-out traffic through the doors to a minimum when possible. And, consider grilling outside instead of using the oven.


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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit

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