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Credit Check Landlord

Timely rent payment is one of a landlord's biggest concerns. So, to better evaluate which applicants are most likely to pay on time, landlords may use credit information to screen tenants. If you're wondering about the credit information you'll need for your next rental, here's what you need to know.

credit check landlord


A credit score below 670 doesn't automatically mean your application will be denied, but a landlord may take a closer look at your credit details if your score is in the mid-600s and below. In a competitive rental market, the higher your credit score, the better.

Some landlords use tenant screening services or rental-specific credit scores to approve applicants. Landlords may even opt for a service that automatically screens tenants based on certain risk factors like debt-to-income ratio, number of bankruptcies or delinquent accounts, and criminal history.

If you don't meet the credit qualifications, all's not lost. There may be a few ways to get your foot in the door, depending on the landlord. For starters, you may be able to pay a higher security deposit or cover a few months of rent in advance. Paying more money upfront may eliminate some of the risks associated with your previous credit mistakes.

Getting a credit check on a potential tenant is a common practice in California. A credit report can reveal past failures of an individual to honor financial contracts. Considering the work it takes to rent a property, it only makes sense to verify the financial responsibility of the person promising to pay rent. Getting a credit report usually requires only a small fee, financial information and permission from the prospective tenant.

Collect financial information from the potential tenant. To obtain a report, you will need your tenant's name, Social Security number, address and date of birth. You may also wish to ask for bank and employment information, both to see that your tenant has a source of income and to verify that he has funds available for payment. You can either create your own form or use a common landlord template.

The "big three" credit bureaus -- Transunion, Experian, and Equifax -- sell credit data to landlords that looks like a FICO score but is not. It has the same range of possible values, 350 to 850. Arguably this reduces confusion: everyone knows that a 350 is "bad". But if you don't know where your data are coming from, having the same number doesn't help you know whether it applies to rentals. A 350 FICO means you are a risk for loans but may not be relevant to rentals.

In October 2015, MassLandlords asked Transunion to confirm what they were basing their data off of. They said they were not reselling FICO data. In fact, they showed us that a person who scores 742 on FICO scores 801 on TransUnion. They told us at that time that their landlord product was scored on a range from 0 to 1000. Since then, they reduce the range of possible scores from 1000 back down to 850. But it's still not FICO data.

Section 607(e)2A requires that resellers of consumer information, like screening companies, take reasonable measures to ensure that only legitimate landlords see tenant reports, and only for legitimate screening.

We wanted to find a screening company that would work for small-time landlords who want to avoid an on-site inspection. This means, non-FICO. The best reports are therefore the ones that give real details, so that you can draw your own conclusion without getting stuck on a single questionable number.

We have read the websites of, spoken with, or tested screening service companies in the table below. Please note that this data is updated as frequently as the date shown above, but individual pieces of data may become out of date. If you see an error, please email us at

Some landlords still talk about services they used to use, or they may still use because they are grandfathered in. Please note that the following services have been removed from the table above because they are no longer taking new landlord customers. They may offer other background screening services (e.g., employment, private investigation).

Background Examine is a Massachusetts-based company that accesses county, state, national and even international criminal records. They offer a variety of pricepoints and custom solutions especially for screening renters coming in from abroad (international credit cannot be checked, but international criminal can). Also works for employment screens.

The Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information system, or CORI, places access restrictions. Until recently landlords weren't even allowed to get a report. Now you can, and you can get more access than a background check agency. Don't take our word for it, it's the law. Access to iCORI costs $25 and requires special authorization.

If you qualify, you want to be looking at ClearScreening or CBAN. ClearScreening is good if you like computers. CBAN is good if you don't*. ClearScreening charges only one $75 fee to start (not shown in the table above) but then you have to take a computer-based Fair Credit Reporting Act quiz once per year. It takes about half an hour, so most landlords will play less at ClearScreening than at CBAN. CBAN charges the most per year but doesn't require the quiz, and offers better phone support.

Andrew,Thank you for the suggestion. I just looked at it online, and found it to be much better than the service I use now. I was using a service as a landlord that said it was best, but I am much more satisfied with TenantMagic. I spoke right away with the owner, who was very helpful, more than anyone at my other service.This service is much cheaper to my applicant, much more effective, and provided me with a great and easy way to screen my applicant. For anyone using e-rental, my rental, rent prep, smart move, I recommend switching to Andrew thank you for the suggestion I saved much time and money with this program.

We are using MyScreeningReport and it works just fine for us, but right here is a lot of great information and definitely many options to check out. I appreciate the work you put in to put this list together.

Credit scores and credit reports are just part of the rental equation. Not all landlords and property managers look at credit scores. And factors other than your credit reports and scores could still help you qualify for an apartment.

Landlords want to make sure potential tenants have enough income to handle rent payments, so they might verify employment. And according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, landlords and property managers might do a background check using a tenant-screening agency. Both employment verification and background checks can be important factors in whether an applicant is approved.

According to a TransUnion study, checking your credit score can potentially lead to more positive credit behavior. About one-third of consumers in the study who monitored their credit were able to increase their credit score over the course of a year.

Running a credit report for renters is one of the crucial steps in searching for the ideal tenant (you can check out the others in our article on how to find good tenants). A credit report will tell you crucial information about applicants, including their credit scores, whether they have a history of making late payments, and what their debt situation is like. All these details are key indicators as to whether an applicant is likely to make timely rent payments, whether they can afford your property, and if they are at higher risk than average for being evicted.

You can easily manage your rental applications and run a full tenant screening report through the Landlord Studio software. This report includes a full tenant credit check, a rental and eviction history check, as well as background and criminal checks.

Alternatively, you may find a positive rental payments history for a renter. Tenants can ask their landlord to submit a history to strengthen their applications, especially if they have no missed payments for the last 25 months. Renters can also enroll in rent-paying services for free to ensure credit bureaus receive this information in the case a landlord is unwilling to submit it.

One thing to look out for in an account history check is bankruptcy status. A bankruptcy record provides you with details including the accounts and companies involved. You may like to consider an applicant who has a discharged bankruptcy, provided all other aspects of the credit check are acceptable. However, someone who has a pending bankruptcy is a high risk, as the applicant could be relieved of all financial obligations, which includes any rental payments still due.

For landlords, it is free to add unlimited listings to your Rentler account and you can activate up to one listing at a time. There are also additional paid services landlords may opt to add to their listing including: Featured Days, feature ribbons, and other promotional opportunities supplied by Rentler. These vary in price by promotion, and are paid for within the listings tool.

The tenant screening report expires after 30 days after which we no longer have access to it. This is a regulation from TransUnion to protect the applicant's data. For this reason, we allow you to print or save tenant screening reports as a PDF within those 30 days. Learn more about successful tenant screening for real estate agents and landlords on RentSpree's blog.

The tenant screening report expires after 30 days after which we no longer have access to it. This is a regulation from TransUnion to protect the applicant's data. For this reason, we allow you to print or save tenant screening reports as a PDF within those 30 days. Learn more about successful tenant screening for real estate agents and landlords on our site blog: RentSpree Post.

Q How can I pass a rental credit check with bad credit? A Find a cosigner, offer to pay rent early with a higher security deposit, and show detailed employment histories and bank statements to show you are responsible with money. 041b061a72


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