This is the final installment in my series about how to get your free specialty consumer reports. You can read the entire series beginning here.
If you are trying to rent an apartment or house, your prospective landlord is likely to check your credit. Typically, they will go through a tenant screening company to get your report. That company may, in turn, obtain information from one or more of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion). These firms also usually provide criminal background screening and may offer additional screening to uncover rental issues such as broken leases or evictions. There are literally hundreds of agencies that can provide these reports to landlords.
If your application to rent a place to live is turned down due to information in a credit report, the landlord or property manager must provide you with a notice that describes your rights and gives you instructions for requesting a free copy of the report used in the decision. Make sure you take advantage of that opportunity to review a free copy or your report.
Surprisingly, information about rent payments hasn’t traditionally been reported to the major credit reporting agencies. Evictions may or may not appear on standard credit reports, usually depending on whether the eviction resulted in a court judgment. And accounts turned over to collections are usually reported by the collection agency to the CRAs. But on-time rent payments have not been reported, though Experian is trying to change that.
In 2010, Experian acquired a specialty agency that collects information about rent payments, and now includes positive rental payment history information in Experian credit reports. In order for your rent payments to be included in your credit report, your property management company must contribute its rental history data to Experian. Currently about 45 property management companies report information on about 8 million renters.
There is no need to get a separate credit report from Experian to see this information. Any rental payment information Experian collects will be included in Experian credit reports obtained directly from Experian.com, a reseller, or at AnnualCreditReport.com.
[Related: How to Order Your Free Annual Credit Report]
In addition to Experian, there are several nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies that collect and report information about tenant history. These firms will only have reports on you if one has been requested by a client.
First Advantage Resident Screening Solutions reports may contain credit checks, identity verification, immigration status, Social Security verification; records of eviction or skipped residents, as well as “tenants who violate leases, pay late, skip out on rents, or falsify information.”
CoreLogic SafeRent explains on its website that it provides information to the multi-family housing industry and employers. Housing providers may obtain your consumer report to assist them in making leasing and employment decisions. Reports can include rental performance history, criminal and/or landlord-tenant records.
Tenant Data Services provides prospective landlords with rental performance information such as damages, evictions, lease violations, noise complaints, rent and deposit verification, and unauthorized pets.
To request your residential or tenant history reports:
- First Advantage: Currently does not provide information on its website about how to order this report.
- CoreLogic SafeRent: Fill out the form you will find on their website at Fadvsarerent.com or call 1-888-333-2413.
- Tenant Data Services: You can request a free annual disclosure of your rental history report by filling out the request form on their website at TenantData.com.
Join me next week for the conclusion to my series on Specialty Consumer Reports. And, if you’ve missed any of the past editions, you can find them all right here:
Editor’s note: Updated October 10, 2013.
Image by hownowdesign, via Flickr