How to prepare for a rental credit check
Before a landlord pulls your credit report, review it for potential errors or reported debts that can be paid to better your score.
Before your soon-to-be landlord requests your credit report, it could be beneficial to check it yourself. This way, you can be more prepared to explain a less than ideal history or fix mistakes on your report in advance, which could help you be better prepared for anything that comes up in your rental credit check.
Why and how do landlords check credit?
Landlords and leasing agents often run your credit to see if you’re likely to pay your rent on time and that you have a history of paying other bills on time. Through your credit report, they can see:
- If you have consistent payment habits
- Details of your rental history
- If you have a debt load that could affect your ability to pay rent
- Whether you have a pending bankruptcy
How do I check my credit score?
You can request your credit report for free
You can get one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus with no impact to your credit. That means you can pull your credit three times per year at no cost to you. If you choose to pull just one bureau’s report at a time, you can return every 4 months to keep tabs on your credit throughout each year.
Credit mistakes happen. So it’s important to keep your eye on your report regularly. Keep in mind that the different credit bureaus sometimes use slightly different information to determine your score and create your report. That is another reason why it can be beneficial to rotate which credit report you pull each time.
Also, ask if you can bring your credit report to the leasing office, instead of having them request it. It might be a long shot, but it’s worth trying. Running your credit multiple times can impact your overall score. If a landlord — or someone else — runs your credit, it shows that you are inquiring about a financial agreement and could cause your score to temporarily be lower.
Request to see the report pulled by your potential landlord
Pulling a credit report is a standard part of the apartment application process. Landlords want to see how responsible you are with money. Your credit score is one measure of financial responsibility and trustworthiness, so it is generally a good idea to review the report they pulled to see how your application is being evaluated.
By being prepared for a credit-check and taking ownership of your credit information, you will likely feel more prepared for your upcoming changes. Once you’re in your dream apartment, don’t forget to help protect all the things you just worked so hard to move with a renters insurance policy.
What steps can I take to be ready for my apartment credit check?
Ask your landlord about rental deposits and fees. It may be a good idea to get this information before they run your credit so you know if you can afford to move in. Consider the total move in costs of first month’s rent plus a month’s rent for deposit, application fee, administrative fee, pet fee or deposit, etc. Don’t let these fees surprise you after you’ve signed your lease. Get informed before signing your lease with your potential landlord when applying for an apartment.