Renting an apartment is a ritual a lot of young adults go through. You fill out an application and hand over a fee. The leaser, or landlord, checks you out or passes your information on to a tenant screening service. One thing you can count on: the landlord will pull your credit. It’s a smart move to know what she’s going to see on your credit report.
Some things a leaser sees on your credit report are pretty routine. There is your Social Security number, current address and your date of birth. One or more previous addresses might be listed, depending on how often you’ve moved in the last few years. A landlord also sees the last place you worked that was reported to the credit reporting agency. If you’ve changed jobs recently, this might be out of date. Let the landlord know about recent changes of employment. Your credit score is also printed on the credit report a leaser sees.
Trade lines on credit reports are concise descriptions of credit accounts. Three is one trade line for each credit account that has been reported to the credit reporting agency. The leaser sees how much you owe on each account and if the creditor has reported late payments. He can total up the balances of all your debts to see if you owe too much debt for your income and might be unable to make the rent payments on the apartment.
When a leaser pulls your credit, she sees public legal information about your financial behavior, including any bankruptcy or foreclosures. Other legal actions that are listed include wage garnishments, court judgments and lawsuits for nonpayment of debts. If you default on a student loan, it is included as well.
What Is Not There
Your credit report does not include all of the information an apartment leaser wants to know. For instance, it does not include your rental history. Instead, the leaser or tenant screening service contacts your current or prior landlord. He’ll ask if you paid your rent on time and adhered to the terms of the lease. He might ask if you have created problems for other tenants or damaged the rental property. Apartment leasers may also check state and local public records to see if you are a registered sex offender or have any recent criminal convictions.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.