Depending on the nature of past discrepancies in paying rent, ApartmentGuide.com suggests that new applicants with a bad rental history try negotiating with landlords by paying higher deposits, offering a co-signer, presenting letters of recommendation and agreeing to automatic electronic payments from a bank account. Renting an apartment with a credit blemishes presents some problems, but it is not an insurmountable difficulty.
Providing a co-signer with good credit is the most convincing way to get an apartment that otherwise would be denied due to past behavior. A co-signer is essentially take responsibility for the rent being paid each month, according to ApartmentGuide.com. This gives the landlord a second source from which to enforce a rental contract. Most rental deposits are required and are non-negotiable, but flexible landlords may be willing to accept higher deposits in exchange for taking on a renter with a sketchy rental history. Refundable damage deposits are less flexible, but a renter can try negotiating an additional non-refundable deposit in exchange for leniency. About.com notes that some landlords may be more willing to rent to someone who is willing to pay up to three months of rent in advance.
Having a steady source of income is important to any landlord, and About.com points out that a potential renter needs to show a monthly income from three to four times the monthly rental rate. Up to three months of paystubs or other proof of income are typically requested.