How to get a rental with no rental history


Most people moving out of their homes live in a rental unit before buying a house. This could be because many people like to save up a down payment for a house purchase and rentals typically require monthly payments. 

Moving to a rental can position you closer to a job or near favorable attractions. That said, landlords will often ask about your rental history before letting you occupy the property. 

But if you have no rental history, it is still possible to get approved for a rental unit. We’ll share how to help get a rental without any history.

What is rental history?

Rental history shows your past results with paying rent. It is fair to say that landlords enjoy working with tenants who have a history of paying rent on time. This history could help reduces a landlord’s risk and help make them more comfortable approving your application. 

Prospective tenants with a history of missed payments could have a more difficult time securing a rental, but it can still be possible. Landlords may look at other variables to help them approve your application if you have no rental history.

Why is rental history important?

Some landlords have had bad experiences with tenants or they just do not want to risk having a bad experience. While some tenants may damaged the property others could stop paying the rent. Getting tenants off your property can be exhausting and could cost more money than you would have expected.

While a landlord works on the eviction, that landlord will miss out on rental income. Rental history helps landlords determine the quality of prospective tenants so they can try to prevent bad experiences. Strong rental history could make you more appealing and possibly get more favorable rental term offers

Landing your first rental with no rental history

It is possible to land a rental unit even if you have no rental history. Once you secure a rental unit, your history begins. Making on-time rent payments and treating the property well will help if you decide to move out and pay rent in another unit. You can follow several strategies to help land your first rental with no rental history.

Build your credit

If you have no rental history, landlords may put all their focus on your credit history. Raising your credit score may help make your application look more appealing to landlords. You can build up your payment history with on-time payments. 

Applicants with low credit scores can help raise it with a Credit Builder Loan. MoneyLion offers a Credit Builder Plus membership for only $19.99 a month that will give you access to up to a $1000 Credit Builder loan designed to help increase your credit score. MoneyLion reports your payment history to the three major credit bureaus. You can pay back the loan in monthly installments for 12 months. 

MoneyLion doesn’t run a hard credit check before giving you a loan*. Making on-time payments could strengthen your payment history.

Resolve credit history issues

Getting into debt doesn’t have to be a problem as long as you pay it off on time. Debt could hurt your credit score if you fall behind on payments. These scenarios can result in credit history issues and concerns from potential landlords. 

Correcting any negative marks before applying may put you in a better position to get accepted for a rental. You should think about paying off any outstanding credit card debt and establish a budget to avoid future debt.

Find a flexible landlord

Some landlords have more relaxed requirements than others. Larger apartment complexes often have stricter requirements, but you may find more flexibility in a duplex or triplex. 

A real estate agent may be able to help you navigate available choices and find a landlord that is right for your situation. Flexibility with square footage and amenities could also expand your pool of potential landlords. 

You should also check in with some of your friends. They may be happy to rent a spare room in their place to you.

Get reputable sources as your references

Landlords may ask for references before giving you the keys. While some landlords like to hear from other landlords, that’s not possible if you have no rental history. It is a good idea to get reputable sources as your references to strengthen your case. 

Applicants with no rental history could ask their boss or manager for a personal reference letter. You can include this letter in your rental application to help increase your chances of getting a unit.

Provide supporting documentation 

Landlords may ask for supporting documents to assess your ability to handle rent payments.. The following documentation could be submitted with your application:

  • Proof of income
  • References
  • Credit reports
  • Bank statements
  • Employer verification

Each of these documents highlights what landlords typically look for like your ability to make payments and your payment history. 

Find a cosigner

Cosigners could help you get a rental unit. The cosigner doesn’t have to live with you either. 

You can leverage the cosigner’s credit and rental history to help get approved for a rental unit. Landlords may feel more comfortable with a high-credit cosigner. That’s because the cosigner is also responsible for rent payments if you can’t keep up. 

Naturally, the cosigner doesn’t typically benefit from this deal. The cosigner incurs the risk of you fail to make payments.  

Get a roommate

You can join forces with a friend and become roommates. Submitting applications together may improve your chances if you and your roommate each provide a source of income. Two incomes could help reduce the risk of falling behind. 

You can ask friends if they want to live with you for a few months or years in your desired location. Aspiring tenants can also browse roommate-finding sites such as or Roomster to get help. It’s a nice bonus if your roommate has a good rental history.

Pay more upfront

Landlords typically want to lower their risk with every tenant. Paying several months of rent upfront could show them you’re serious about paying rent on time. You could even save enough money to cover 3 to 6 months of rent. Paying for 3 to 6 months of rent upfront gives you time to reaccumulate funds before the next payment.

Land your rental unit

Getting your first rental unit can show independence. Landlords may look at your finances, but remember, it is possible to get a rental with no rental history.

A strong credit score could help you get approved for a rental. Payment history makes up 35% of your score, and MoneyLion can help you improve this metric. MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus members can take out a Credit Builder Loan to help build up credit. MoneyLion reports payment history to the credit bureaus. You can borrow up to $1,000 and pay it back in installments over 12 months. You can use a MoneyLion Credit Builder loan to help improve your credit.

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