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What Credit Score Do You Need to Rent a Luxury Apartment?

The Minimum Credit Score to Rent a Luxury Apartment Can Depend on Several Factors

What city do you want to rent in?

What luxury apartments are you considering?

The answers to these questions matter because minimum required credit scores for luxury apartments can vary based on:

  • The demand for local rentals: If there’s more demand in the area you want to live in, leasing companies and landlords can be pickier and set higher minimums for required credits scores.
  • The policies of the leasing company: Ultimately, the owners of luxury apartments can set their own rules for what they’ll accept in terms of a minimum credit score. Some may even require special terms for renters with lower credit scores, like month-to-month leases, co-signers, or first and last month’s rent upfront.

When high-end rentals set minimum credit scores, they are typically between 600 and 650. In fact:

  • According to Experian, the average credit score of renters in high-end apartments is 669 while the average credit score for mid-range apartment renters is 627.
  • According to Rent Café, the average credit score required to rent an apartment in Houston was 606 (in 2020). 

While those are some good points of reference, it’s also important to know:

  • Lower credit scores may not necessarily be a bar to renting a luxury apartment.
  • Understanding how credit factors into the apartment rental process can help you set realistic expectations — and find the best apartment to fit your needs and budget.

To give you a better idea of how this all works, here are some FAQs about luxury apartment credit checks.

Why Are There Credit Checks to Rent Luxury Apartments?

Credit checks are an easy way for a leasing company to verify someone’s history of paying bills on time. Therefore, the credit check helps apartment owners figure out if an applicant can be trusted to pay rent on time in the future.

That’s why upscale apartments often run credit checks and make approvals contingent on the results of these checks.

Keep in mind that low credit scores don’t always mean “bad” credit. If you don’t have much of a credit history, your score can be on the lower end.

Are Credit Checks for Luxury Apartments Hard or Soft Inquiries?

You’ll need to ask a specific landlord or leasing company this because there is no industry standard.

That said, most apartment credit checks tend to be soft inquiries, meaning the check will not negatively impact your credit score.

Still, it’s important to verify this upfront because too many hard inquiries in a short period of time could knock your credit score down. If that happens, you could have a harder time getting your dream apartment.

What Do Landlords Look for on Credit Reports?

Beyond credit scores, landlords and leasing companies will also usually check the following on credit reports:

  • Late payments
  • Payment gaps
  • Overall debt load
  • Delinquent accounts
  • Delinquencies related to prior evictions

A couple of late payments, especially if they happened a long time ago, likely won’t be a problem for many leasing companies. It’s the more serious delinquencies, higher debt loads, and former evictions, coupled with low credit scores, that are typically concerning for landlords.

What Else Do Landlords Look at When I Apply for a Luxury Apartment?

Along with credit and debt, other factors landlords tend to consider when they’re deciding whether or not to rent to you can include (and are not limited to):

  • Your income, both the amount and its consistency
  • Your employment, verifying that you have a job
  • Your rental history, including where you’ve rented in the past, how long you stayed in those rentals, and your reasons for leaving
  • Your criminal background, running a basic criminal background check as part of the application screening process

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