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What should my credit score be in order to receive housing?

Answer

Your credit score will not have an affect on your eligibility to receive Section 8 or Public Housing assistance. However, once you receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher, prospective landlords will likely require a credit score as part of your background check. Also, other affordable housing programs, such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties, will likely have a credit score as a part of the approval process.

To obtain a credit report, you are able to get a credit report by multiple credit report agencies, but there are three agencies that are the largest and most widely-used. These agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Your credit score will likely differ between agencies, but your score should be similar between these three.

Some factors of what determines your credit score include bill payment history and amount of money owed. For further information about what determines your credit score, visit this FTC page.

Everyone is eligible for a free credit report once a year by each of the three agencies noted above. Do not fall for scams and other unethical companies that make you pay for your credit score if you have not requested one that year.

Credit scores are generally between a scale of 350-850. According to sources online, including myFico.com, the national average credit score is 690, and any score in the range of mid-600s and higher is considered "good credit."

Important note: "Good credit" does not determine eligibility to live in a unit. It is up to the landlord's or property manager's discretion to reject or accept your credit score. There is no set qualifier.

There are ways to build your credit score if your reported number is low. Information on how to improve your credit score can be found on this FTC page.

More FAQs from Low Income Households

  • What has to be included in my household income?
  • Since Section 8 vouchers are so difficult to get, is there a place to find other housing programs that set rent based on your income?
  • The housing office I applied through told me I didn't qualify to receive assistance, and I don't know why. What could have made me ineligible?
  • Who qualifies for affordable housing assistance?
  • Can I apply to multiple waiting lists?