Time is on renters’ side when it comes to repairing damaged credit

Credit score damage is something many fear when preparing to rent a home, because flaws in their credit history or a poor credit score may lead lenders, landlords or property management firms to refuse them.

Damage to one's credit score is not permanent, however, and there are ways to raise a low credit score, although they do take time. The first step, according to the Federal Trade Commission, is to examine one's credit report and make sure it contains no mistakes.

If negative information from two different individuals' credit reports is confused, then a prospective renter may have better credit than he or she believes as soon as the mistake is corrected.

According to the FTC, it is best to avoid having many credit cards, loans, and other lines of credit when one's score is low, but using one or two credit cards responsibly over time by making regular, complete payments on schedule will raise a credit score.

Negative credit information, such as missed payments, eventually expires and is removed from a credit report, but good information – such as responsible credit card use and loans paid back – does not.