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How good is your credit?

Step 3: Know Your Credit Report

Most landlords require a credit history on you and your guarantor, if you’re using one. Your credit history does not have to be perfect for you to be successful, however, serious negative information on your report could affect your application and you might not get the apartment you want. Know what your credit history looks like before you complete an application.

Your FICO score (a complicated measurement of your outstanding credit history, weighted towards the more important indicators of your credit) is a reflection of your credit history.

If you are not sure what your credit history shows, has a link to Experian (one of the national credit reporting agencies) where you can purchase a copy of your credit report. Just go to

You should definitely know if you have some negative credit history, as the landlord is going to see that. Knowing what your credit report shows will allow you to proactively anticipate the questions the landlord will have, and being able to head them off at the pass.

You have good credit, yet sometimes you still need a guarantor.

You might be a student or a very recent grad who is just starting out. Or you might be a free-lancer who hasn’t established a track record of running a profitable business yet, or you might be a foreign national who has recently come to New York. No matter the reason, you should know about a company called

For a fee, which is often less than a month’s rent, they will guarantee your lease. No every landlord will accept Insurent’s guarantee and Insurent won’t work with very small landlords. But there are still plenty of landlords that are happy to accept Insurent’s corporate guarantee for the lease.

Another situation in which you might consider using is if you are planning to share an apartment with a roommate. In order to qualify for the apartment, a renter in Manhattan has to typically earn at least 40 x (times) the monthly rent. On a $2,000 per month apartment, you need to earn $80,000! That’s a lot of money. Now, suppose you are your roommate each earn $50,000 per year. What will happen? Well, most landlords would not accept your application, because roommates are notoriously “flighty” and if one leaves suddenly, the remaining roommate cannot afford the rent. Again, your solution will be a guarantor - probably a parent, but it can also be a corporate guarantor such as

TIP: Parents of roommates should talk to each other and come to a private agreement about their financial obligations to each other in the event of their child’s default. The roommates should also have an agreement between them about paying the rent and finding a replacement roommate in the event of a default.

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