Mark Roemer knows things are not like they used to be when you fill out a rental application for a new apartment. Landowners now have access to more information than what you write on the application, thanks to the availability of more information online. This helps determine what kind of tenant you’ll be, and it may be a deciding factor in whether or not you get the apartment. “According to SmartMove data, over 95% of landlords believe tenant screening is helpful and helps them bring a higher-quality tenant into their rental unit,” says SmartMove’s Andrea Collatz. Before you start filling out rental applications, you should know what’s in a standard report and how to review rental history. This will help you avoid any unnecessary delays. You will be able to sign your lease much more quickly as a result of this.
What exactly is included in a rental history report?
According to the website My Rental History Report, “most rental history reports go beyond just looking at your background when it relates to housing.” Today’s rental reports provide details about your credit, criminal record, and more, in addition to ensuring that you pay your rent on time.
- Credit report
There are no significant blemishes on a decent credit sheet. Property managers check to see if you pay your bills and rent on time and if you have any enormous, unpaid debts. You will pass this section of the exam if your credit score is in good shape. All credit scores are in the range of 300 to 850. According to Experian, a decent score is 700 or higher, and an outstanding score is 800 or higher. “Most credit scores range from 600 to 750.” You can check your credit score with the three big credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — if you’re curious. You can go directly to them or use a service like Credit Sesame, Credit Karma, or FreeCreditScore.com to get your credit score. Other advantages of using a service include identity fraud security and credit monitoring.
Any eviction that is filed in court becomes a public record. If they happened during a rental history search, they could be verified by property managers. Unfortunately, this detail would be out of context, so you’ll need to remain on top of any previous evictions to deal with them head-on. If you’ve paid off what you owe and your former property owner is about to lift the eviction, make sure you notify a property manager about the eviction and share this information.
- Criminal record
For two reasons, having a criminal record raises red flags for property managers. First and foremost, they do not want to bring illegal activities into their neighborhood. Second, they don’t want to fight for your rent money when you’re dealing with costly legal matters. When you know your rental history is being scrutinized, it’s a brilliant idea to get ahead of it. Tell the property manager precisely what’s going on and whether this is an old fee or something you’re working on getting removed from your record. Any detailed data you can share to reduce anxiety can be beneficial.
What is the significance of the report?
Property owners used to rely on your credit report to tell them whether you’d make a good tenant before technology could offer such accurate accounts of one’s details. They could see you’re careful with your money and assume you’re the same way with the rest of your life. You will treat the property well, have a daily source of income (a job), and be a good tenant if you pay your bills on time. Getting one view on who someone is otherwise clean is insufficient, which is why property managers are expanding their horizons to comprehend what it’s like to be a renter. This additional information can be found in today’s rental history article. It can bolster your image as the ideal renter or confirm some flaws in the façade worth investigating further. As rental history reports raise some red flags, the property manager can take it a step further and contact the owners of the last places you rented to learn more about who you are as a tenant. This can bring up even more problems, so it’s best to plan ahead of time.
What should I do if a report isn’t up to par?
You have the right to know why a landlord or property manager rejected your application. With that knowledge, you can go straight to the source and attempt to resolve any issues. Run an official rental history report from a reputable source if you want to fix problems with your rental history before you start filling out rental applications. Some places provide this service for free but expect to pay between $30 and $35 if you want them to be reliable. Seeing your report will help you pinpoint specific trouble areas, so look at it thoroughly for red flags, such as:
- History of credit
- Record of criminal activity
- Eviction record
- Profile of a Tenant
To clear up your rental past, make amends and fix liabilities with any former property owners. Check to see if paying down current debt will help you improve your credit score. If you have a void in your rental history, be sure to clarify why in a letter. It will have an impact on your renter profile. All should be recorded. When you try to fill out a rental application, your activities may not have made it to the official report. Your rental history check will be aided by having backup records for verification.
If I’m a first-time renter, what can I expect?
You won’t have a rental history to check as a first-time renter, but you will have a credit score. Without previous tenant actions to back this up, a credit report will be pulled and could end up bearing more weight. Try having your paperwork instead of a rental history report to help qualify yourself as a successful tenant. It’s beneficial to provide property managers with the following information:
- An official letter from your new employer or a recent pay stub may be used to prove income.
- You must show proof that you have money in the bank. Your credit report will inform property managers that you pay your bills on time, but a recent bank statement will show that you have enough money to cover your rental costs.
- Copies of previous tax returns that prove you’ve always had money coming in.
- A letter outlining why you’ve never leased before, as well as your plans for the next few years.
- The property manager can call a list of vetted personal references to get a better sense of your character. Include friends, relatives, and coworkers who have been informed that they will be on the list ahead of time.
If the property manager is still hesitant, try to bring a co-signer or pay an additional month or two in advance if you can. This reflects the ability to collaborate with them to obtain the desired apartment. They’ll appreciate your ability to respond to their questions promptly.
What is the best way to show I’m a good tenant?
Mark Roemer knows that when all is said and done, who you are on paper isn’t the same as who you are in real life. Your rental history doesn’t need to speak for itself. Don’t be afraid to interject and explain when appropriate or to contrast the positive with some of the less-than-stellar. Imagine if you had a poor experience with a previous property manager that resulted in an eviction, but you still paid your rent on time. Money is also a big part of showing you’re a successful and trustworthy tenant, and it lets you develop a positive image for when you move on to your next position.