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Landlord Credit Check: What Can They See?

By Grace Kilander
landlord credit check

Nervous about what a potential landlord might see on your application? There are many ways a landlord can run your credit and criteria can vary. When a landlord runs a credit check, they are trying to stack you up against other applicants to find out how is the most suitable tenant. 

Even if you have terrible credit right now, you can get your finances back on track and climb your way to credit and financial greatness.

Different ways a landlord can check your credit and rental eligibility

Curious about your landlord credit check and what can they see? Explore how they will rank you amongst other applicants and what to do if your credit score could use some work.

Credit bureaus 

The landlord or property management company usually always required at least a basic credit score check. Using the three major credit bureaus, your rating is one way they’ll determine the likelihood of you paying your rent on time. 

Tenant screening services

This is an applicant screening process typically used by residential landlords and property management companies. These services help your prospective landlord get permission from you to pull your credit score, criminal and eviction history, collections accounts, and more to determine eligibility. 

Landlords Associations

Most landlord associations offer their members goods and service at a members-only discount. This can include lower prices on credit and criminal background checks, rental forms, evictions, clean-out and legal services.

Background checks

Most of the time when you think of background checks, they don’t include employment, Although checking for education, criminal records, credit history, motor vehicle, drivers history, and license record employment verification, driver’s history, confirmation, and more

Social media 

As much as we’d like to say people shouldn’t judge… it’s inevitable. When it comes to social media, some people put their whole lives out here for everyone to see, including your potential landlord. A good rule of thumb is to not share or post anything that could potentially deter your landlord from renting to you. 

County records 

These records can show criminal history, theft, driving record, and more. If you see any discrepancies immediately talk to your county’s recording office and get the error removed. 

Bank statements 

The proof is in the pudding – or pocket. Validating that you have a steady stream of income will give the landlord peace of mind that you’re good to pay it.

Employment verification

Whether over the phone or in written proof, an employment verification could be required to verify your employment and ask a few questions. 

Rental history 

You knew this one was going to show up at some point. Pay your rent on time and be a good tenant, seems simple enough right? Not so much. This report gives a landlord an evaluation of a prospective tenant’s past behavior. 

What if I’ve never rented before? This is where the other elements to your application need to shine–as well as your sales skills. Additionally, having a guarantor who can promise to make your payments should you fall behind.  

What shows up on a standard credit check during the application process?

Normally, a standard hard credit inquiry pulls your past and current loans, bankruptcies, foreclosures, minimum debt payments, late payment history, credit history, and credit score.

Who is responsible for the credit check fee?

This depends on your landlord or property management company. But, for the most part, the credit and background check is a part of the application process and is the responsibility of the application. Usually, this comes in the form of an ‘application fee’ that you pay when you submit your application. 

Does renting impact my credit score?

Yes, if you don’t pay your rent delinquent payments could cause you to get evicted from your rental. On the other hand, if you’ve been making on-time payments, some companies allow renters to report positive rental and utility payment history. 

Rent Track is a prime example of this. First, you provide them with your personal information, as well as your bank information used to make your monthly eligible payments. Then, Rent Track will detect your history of payments and report it them the credit bureau. You can opt-in to buy $50 and report up to 24 months of back reporting.  

Is a landlord check a hard or soft inquiry?

This depends on the landlord, you can ask them which kind they are going to pull. If they’re only requiring a soft credit pull, ask if you can provide a copy for them using annualcreditreport.com. Through April 2021, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are now offering free weekly online reports.

Keep Up to Date On Your Credit Score

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