Home > Credit Score > Why Landlords Look at Your Credit Report

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


Even if you have a steady job and enough money to afford the rent, finding a place to live has plenty of obstacles. Bad credit can be a big one.

You may think that your credit rating has nothing to do with whether or not you’ll be a good tenant, but that doesn’t change the fact that many property managers want to see your credit history before signing a lease. Think about it: If you’ve fallen behind on a loan or credit card payment in the past, a landlord might worry you’ll do the same with your rent. Having a history that shows you reliably pay bills on time unsurprisingly appeals to someone whose livelihood relies on you paying your rent.

If any of the negative items on your credit report relate to paying housing costs, then you could be in serious trouble. Prior evictions or rent-related collection accounts on someone’s credit report are highly predictive that the person will face eviction in the future, according to an analysis by TransUnion.

TransUnion uses collection records and other consumer report information (like evictions and other data on credit reports) to generate its ResidentScore, a credit score of sorts for potential tenants. These scores are designed to predict that person’s risk of “negative resident outcomes or future evictions,” according to a news release from TransUnion.

People with the highest ResidentScores (750 to 850) had the lowest eviction rate (0.2%) and those with the lowest scores (350 to 449) had a much higher eviction rate (12.3%). In an analysis of 200 properties, TransUnion found that 21.7% of tenants with prior evictions and 13.2% who had previous rent-related collection accounts had been evicted from those properties. Residents who hadn’t been evicted had a much lower rate of previous evictions (5.2%) and collection accounts (6.2%).

Because other people with past evictions and rent collection accounts have repeatedly fallen behind on payments, having one of those negative entries on your credit report may hurt your chances of getting a lease.

Before applying for a rental home or apartment, it can be helpful to review your credit reports so you can explain the circumstances behind any derogatory information. You can also make an effort to improve your credit in advance of finding a new place to live. To get a sense of your credit standing, you can get your free annual report through AnnualCreditReport.com and get a free monthly summary of your credit report on Credit.com.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team