Properly screening tenants helps ensure you choose tenants who pay rent on time and take care of your property. Tenant credit reports are one of the main 3 reports you should request from prospective tenants, in addition to background and eviction checks.
In this article, you'll learn the ins and outs of credit reports, including how to:
- Request a tenant credit report
- Understand a tenant's financial responsibility, including credit score
- Accept or decline tenants based on their credit reports
How Can I Check a Tenant's Credit?
There are several ways to obtain a tenant credit report, but the easiest solution is using an online service. As soon you enter their email, they'll receive an invite asking them to authorize the reports by entering their SSN. Within minutes, you'll be email notified that the report is ready to be viewed.
Is the Tenant Financially Responsible?
Credit scores range from 350 to 800. Typically, the higher someone's score is, the more financially responsible they are. Beyond the credit score, credit reports reveal even more information: red flags, account summaries, and tradelines.
Red flags are typically indications of potential fraud, and this information is gathered based on a tenant's residence history and employer info.
You'll be able to view a tenant's current monthly balances organized by account type and their current debt load.
And last, you'll view a tradeline of each open account complete with payment status, so you know whether they have a history of making payments on time.
What Can be Considered in a Decision?
As a landlord, you're allowed to decline a tenant for not having enough income, not being financially responsible, or having too many financial obligations to afford your rent price.
However, you're required to tell a tenant if you're rejecting them due to information on their credit report, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This provides tenants the opportunity to dispute any information on the report with the credit bureau.
Before making your final decision, we also recommend requesting 2 more important reports: background and eviction reports.
With all 3 reports, you'll get a complete view of who your applicant is:
- Credit reports tell you how your applicant treats creditors and their finances
- Tenant background checks tell you how they treat society and neighbors
- Eviction reports tells you how they've treated prior landlords