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The housing market may still be difficult for many consumers to reenter following an economic downturn that may have played havoc on their finances and credit standing. As a result, many people may be on the lookout for rental properties that are both comfortable and affordable.

However, those with bad credit have likely run into a problem: because competition for rental properties is so fierce, landlords currently have a significant incentive to only rent to those whose credit is top-notch. As a consequence, consumers who are looking to move out of their current rental property and into a new one might want to consider the value of checking their credit report and identifying either erroneous entries that might be unfairly reducing their credit standing (estimates show as many as 80 percent of credit reports contain such an error) or otherwise target areas where they could stand to make some improvements.

A credit report will list all the lines of credit currently ascribed to your name, and might help you to figure out the ones that are causing the most problems for you. By working hard to reduce those problems, you might be able to improve your credit standing over the course of a few months and put yourself in a better position to qualify for the type of rental properties you want.

Furthermore, home prices – excluding those for distressed properties – rose slightly on a month-over-month basis in February, according to the latest data from the home price analytics and tracking firm CoreLogic. If that trend continues it could put additional pressure on those with diminished credit scores. In all, prices rose 0.7 percent between January and February, but at the same time, those prices were still 0.8 percent below the levels seen in the same month in 2011. Non-distressed properties accounts for about two-thirds of all home sales in February, have risen more than 1 percent since the beginning of the year.

Errors on a consumer’s credit report can be cleared up by contacting the credit bureau that issued the document, but if any are noticed, it’s usually wise to also order copies of the document from the other agencies to make sure the same mistakes aren’t also on those.

Monitor and learn about your credit with Credit.com’s Free Credit Report Card and remember, we are each entitled to a free copy of our credit reports from the three major credit bureaus once a year.

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