I've been apartment hunting, but every apartment manager I've talked to wants to run a credit check before letting me sign a lease. This is making me nervous. I know that your credit score drops when someone checks your credit report and I want a new place but I don't want to hurt my credit. What do I do? Is this normal or some new thing because of the recession?
This is perfectly normal. Apartment complexes want to make sure that they're choosing tenants who can be trusted to pay their rent. If you have a credit history that reflects numerous unpaid bills and defaulted accounts, you're probably too high a risk for most apartments. Some smaller apartment complexes only pull your scores while others could care less about your scores or your history with your creditors as long as no previous evictions show up on your credit report.
The good news is that not all landlords conduct a hard pull when reviewing your credit. As long as your landlord conducts a soft pull, the inquiry will show up on your credit history but won't hurt your credit score. Before you allow an apartment complex to pull your credit report, ask if the inquiry will be a hard pull or soft pull. If the apartment complex only performs hard pulls, ask your landlord if you can provide the report. You can pull your credit report free once each year. So pull your report, print it out and bring it with you. This prevents your landlord from conducting a hard pull and helps you get the apartment you want.
If your landlord doesn't go for this idea and you really want the apartment, you may have to just bite the bullet and allow a hard pull. In the end, you'll only lose about five points and your credit score will recover completely in a few short months. Congrats on your new digs.