Hunting for a rental can be stressful and expensive, especially if your credit is not up to snuff and you are getting rejected by landlords because of it.
The costs can add up because many landlords insist on running credit reports as part of the application process and they typically pass on the costs of ordering them to you.
So, you may be wondering whether you can provide your own credit report to a prospective landlord instead of having them pull one each time you apply.
In this article, I am going to answer that question. I will also provide some of the key factors you will want to consider when using this approach, including the pros and cons associated with supplying your own credit report.
If you don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:
You can provide your own credit report to a landlord, but they are not obligated to accept it and may insist on running an independent check on your credit history to determine your creditworthiness.
Ok, let’s get into it.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
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Are Landlords Legally Required to Accept My Credit Report?
As mentioned above, you can provide your credit report to a landlord, but they are not legally obligated to accept your credit report.
Due to the ease in which credit reports can be faked, many landlords will want to run a separate check to confirm the authenticity of a potential tenant’s credit history.
All you have to do is Google “fake credit reports” and you will see what I am talking about. There are many options to create really convincing looking credit reports.
This reality should be top of mind when you are considering whether it is worth it to provide your own credit report to a landlord. But there are good sides to asking a landlord to use your credit report and it could pay off for you.
Let’s get into the pros and cons of using your own credit report in connection with a rental application.
Pros and Cons of Giving Your Own Credit Report to a Landlord
Your credit history can have a huge impact on whether your application for a rental gets approved. Therefore, it’s crucial to explore the advantages and drawbacks of acquiring your credit report and presenting it to your landlord.
Here are the benefits and disadvantages that you might want to consider:
You Can Place Your Application In the Best Light
Providing your own credit report allows you to gain a bit more control over the rental application process. You can freely choose which credit bureau report to utilize and ensure the information accurately reflects your financial situation.
Obviously, you will want to order one from each credit bureau to find out which one is best for you and take a careful look through each one to confirm accuracy.
Because different reporting bureaus may have different line items, you have the option of directing your landlord to the one that puts you in the most favorable light.
Of course, you don’t want to take this too far. You should not create a fake credit report or change an existing one to eliminate bad line items – that’s fraud and obviously not allowed.
Avoiding Multiple Credit Checks
Every time a property manager looks at your credit report, it could hurt your score. Although there are services that allow a landlord to access a tenant’s credit report without hurting the tenant’s credit, like Transunion’s My Smartmove, not all landlords use this type of service.
Giving your own credit report can help you avoid lowering your credit score due to many inquiries.
On top of that, you can save on money that the landlord may charge you if they accept your credit report instead of pulling one separately.
Adding More Context
Your credit report may only tell part of the story of your financial standing.
By providing your credit report, you can put sticky notes on it or provide more context that may be helpful to the landlord. This could include explaining negative marks on your report and the like.
If a landlord simply pulls the credit report on their own, no such explanation will be available.
While sharing your credit record has many benefits, it also has potential drawbacks. Below are some of them:
Obtaining your credit report can save you money, but you may still need to pay for the report yourself, although some free options are available. Once a year, you can ask for one free report from each of the three major reporting agencies.
But if you have already pulled the free ones earlier in the year, you may need to pay for additional ones (on top of what the landlord may charge your for pulling one on their end if they decide not to use yours).
As I already mentioned, some landlords may still prefer to run their own credit check even if you already provide one. It’s because they want to ensure that you’re not giving them fake or incomplete information.
In addition, many landlords use a service that provides a credit report, credit score, background check, eviction check and criminal background check in one package. Just because you provide a credit report doesn’t mean they won’t want pull the other stuff, so they may simply choose not to accept your credit report in the first place.
What to Check in Your Credit Report
When obtaining your credit report, reviewing it for accuracy and completeness is vital. You must check your credit report for any mistakes that could drag down your score. This item includes an old address or accounts that aren’t yours.
Pay special attention to any unfavorable information, such as late payments or collections that may be included in your credit report. These things show a lack of stability or an inability to handle debt.
In the event that you find errors on your credit report, you must take corrective action. In most cases, you can contact the credit bureau directly to correct any errors.
Providing your own credit report to the landlord is an excellent way to gain control over the process, but it does have risks, the most notable being that landlords are not required to accept it, so you might be wasting your time and money.
Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!