Recent Eviction? Here’s How You Can Still Get an Apartment

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Renting After an Eviction

With the typical American renter spending 30% of their income on rent, the United States is facing an affordable housing crisis. Of course, the government isn’t doing much. According to the Eviction Lab, only one in four families that qualifies for affordable housing programs receives help. Americans who don’t receive support and can’t pay are evicted, receiving a black mark on their record that makes it difficult to rent for at least seven years. 

It’s a cruel system that demands a political solution. That said, we have a few short-term fixes that will make it easier for evicted tenants to sign a lease.

Related: Putting the Brakes on High Rent: A Beginner's Guide to Rent Control

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Rent With a Cosigner

When a cosigner signs a lease with you, they’re entering a legal agreement to pay your rent if you fall short. From the landlord’s perspective, this adds a layer of security, making you a more appealing candidate. Just be sure to pick a trustworthy cosigner — a close friend or family member — who understands what they’re getting into.

Related: Budgeting for Rent: Here's How Much You Can Really Afford

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Rent From Small, Independent Landlords

Compared to corporate property management companies, mom and pop landlords are less likely to require a formal background check. And if they do find out about your eviction, they’re more likely to work with you. Ask your friends and family if they have any leads in the area and target independent listings online.

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Prepare Solid References

If you have an eviction on your record, then you can try to make up for it with stellar references. The best references will come from previous landlords, though you can also ask managers, coworkers, housemates, mentors, and professors. Avoid people who know you personally, such as close friends and family.

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Maintain a Good Credit Score

While an eviction won’t show up directly on a credit check — they appear on tenant screening reports — related court judgments can appear on credit reports. To compensate for your record, it’s best to try and improve your credit score.

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Be Honest

On Reddit, multiple landlords said that they were more willing to accept tenants who were honest about previous evictions. That doesn’t mean you have to tell them upfront. But if they ask, give them your full rental history.

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Make a Good First Impression

Since you’ll likely be going up against potential tenants without prior evictions, you’ll have to win over the landlord using other means. If there’s an apartment viewing, dress well and come prepared with your application. Be friendly and professional. And if you’re able to afford it, offer to pay more rent than what the landlord is asking.