How to Check Tenant Credit

The tenant screening process is something many landlords take for granted. Failure to properly screen a tenant will often lead to the expense of eviction, which many landlords can't easily afford. To avoid problems with tenants, landlords should check a tenant's credit record in addition to employment and references.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Adverse Action Notice

Step 1

Get the prospective tenant's permission to run a credit check. Either have the prospective tenant sign an agreement giving you permission to obtain a credit report or include permission in the rental application that the tenant will sign. For the latter, be sure to use clear language so it's clear to anyone reading the application that a credit check will be performed.

Step 2

Contact Experian by calling 1-800-583-4080, or go to its website, to get a credit report. Experian can also provide credit reports from the two other major credit bureaus: Equifax and TransUnion. If you don't get all three credit reports, you could overlook or miss important information about a prospective tenant's credit history. When contacting Experian or any other credit bureau, you will need the following information: Tenant's full legal name Tenant's date of birth Tenant's Social Security number Tenant's most recent or current mailing address Without this information you'll be unable to obtain a credit report.

Step 3

Notify the prospective tenant of your decision. Include an Adverse Action Notice if the rental application is being denied based on credit. This must be done even if credit is only part of the reason for denying the application. The Adverse Action Notice must include the names, addresses and phone numbers of all credit reporting agencies contacted. The notice must also state that the credit reporting agencies were not involved in the decision to reject the application.

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