More Landlords Checking Credit

If you’re looking to rent a new apartment, you’ll have to look at not only whether it fits your budget, but also what guidelines your potential landlord will be using to decide if you’re a good candidate. TransUnion recently conducted a survey to analyze what landlords are looking for in an ideal tenant.

According to the TransUnion survey:

  • 43% of landlords surveyed say they perform credit checks as part of the leasing process.
  • 48% of landlords surveyed say the results of a credit check are among the top three factors used when deciding whether or not to accept a tenant’s lease application.
  • 69% of renters surveyed said they will not purchase property in the next four years.

“It is important for current and future renters alike to understand that landlords may review their credit profile to better understand a potential tenant’s ability to make on-time rent payments and determine if their current debt situation may make them a risky tenant. . .  anyone that currently rents or may someday rent property to regularly review their credit and look for areas that may be a warning sign to landlords,” says Mike Doherty, vice president of TransUnion’s Rental Screening Solutions.

TransUnion offers these tips:

Order your credit report before you start apartment hunting. In order to get a clear picture of your credit profile, request a copy of your credit report, credit score, and debt analysis. Look for incorrect mailing addresses, inaccurate Social Security numbers, errors in your credit accounts and inquiries that you don’t recognize.

Dispute inaccurate information. If you notice an error on your credit report, immediately contact your creditors and file a dispute with the credit reporting companies asking them to correct inaccuracies. Generally, creditors have 30 days to investigate your claim and make appropriate corrections.

Identify areas that need improvement. Take time to look for troublesome areas on your credit report and plan how you can better manage those accounts and behaviors. If it’s tough for you to pay your bills on time, sign up for an automated payment service. If you carry balances of more than 35% of your available limit on any credit cards, consider creating a payment plan.

Follow up. Check your credit again 30 to 60 days after you pay off debts. If you feel you need to explain anything, consider adding a consumer statement to your credit report.

Monitor your credit. Take steps to exposure to identity theft and monitor your credit health, enroll in a credit monitoring program that will notify you of critical changes in your report. Save copies of your credit reports and letters of dispute in a safe place. Evaluate your progress.