Apartment searching is a lot like dating. You’re looking for the perfect place to help you feel comfortable and safe. You may find a few with potential, but without that spark, it’s just not going to work out.
Just like dating, it takes two willing partners to create a strong partnership. Just as you’re looking for the perfect apartment, the landlord is also searching for the perfect tenant. It’s hard to know if a tenant will be reliable and trustworthy during an apartment walkthrough. That’s why many landlords turn to credit reports for all of the background information they need to know.
A landlord can learn a lot about a potential tenant just by reading the credit report. A glance at your credit report can tell a landlord if you’ve made any late payments on accounts, been evicted, have any criminal convictions, lawsuits, and if you’re financially stable to be a good tenant.
1. Late payments.
Your credit report contains data about how well you’ve managed your bills over the last 7 to 10 years, including how often you’ve made late payments or had bills go to a collection agency. Too many late payments on your credit report will likely have a big effect on the landlord’s decision to rent an apartment to you or not. A landlord doesn’t want to worry about asking his or her tenants about paying the rent on time each month.
A credit report will reveal any lawsuits filed against you within the past 10 years. Some landlords may think twice about renting an apartment to someone with a pending lawsuit that might leave you on the hook for paying hefty legal fees. Financial legal obligations may hurt your finances and negatively impact your ability to pay rent. Landlords may see lawsuits as a ticking time bomb and they’re not always willing to take the risk of a possible explosion.
3. Criminal Convictions.
Unlike late payments and lawsuits, criminal activity doesn’t fall of your record after a period of time. Information about criminal activity will likely show up in the public records section of your credit report. Landlords have the right to refuse to rent to applications with a criminal record. If you have any kind of criminal conviction, it’s best to up front about it before the landlord checks your credit report. The landlord will appreciate your honesty and you can explain the situation better.
4. Bankruptcies and foreclosures.
If you’ve run into financial problems recently and had to file bankruptcy or lost your house to foreclosure, it will definitely show up on your credit report. Landlords tend to be wary of bankruptcies and foreclosures because it could mean you’re not financially stable. If you’ve ever had to deal with a foreclosure or bankruptcy, you should show your potential landlord your recent pay checks to show that you’re financially prepared to make the payments each month.
5. Credit Score.
Of course, a credit report will show a landlord your credit score. That’s what most people see when they first glance at a credit report. But what does your credit score mean to a potential landlord? Your credit score provides a quick glance into your financial stability. This number can give a potential landlord a glimpse into how well you are with your finances. It will tell him if you’ll be more likely to pay your rent on time and be a reliable tenant.
Credit reports are a lot like Facebook or Instagram of the dating world. There’s a lot of information and data you may wish to forget about on there, but it’s hard to erase. Be smart about your finances as well as your social media presence. And you will enjoy a happy renting as well as dating life.
When we talk to people about how RentPlus can improve their credit score, most people don’t know what their credit score is or understand what goes into calculating a credit score. FinStrong will walk you through the details of credit scores and how to improve your score.