If you are planning to rent a house, your credit report will most likely be pulled by your landlord or property manager to determine whether you pay your bills on time. If your credit report is spotty, containing problems such as bad debt, personal bankruptcy, or a history of late payments, then your application for tenancy could be turned down.
Qualifying to rent a home means employing certain techniques before you fill out an application for rental, steps which if followed can increase the chances that your application will be approved.
Check your credit – How is your credit? That step is easy to find out and an important one too: creditors as well as employers and landlords want to know if you have established good borrowing and repayment practices, positive traits which give people reason to lend you money, offer you a job, or allow you to rent a home.
Your credit reports can be obtained for free by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com and requesting one copy each of your credit reports from the three credit reporting bureaus. Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax are required by law to give you on demand one free copy of your credit report annually.
Fix your credit – Obtain your credit reports and examine each one to make sure that the information about you is correct. If there are mistakes, follow the credit reporting bureau’s instructions for making corrections. Wait at least thirty days to obtain a follow up free copy of your amended credit report.
Find a home to rent – With your credit report cleaned up, now is the time for you to look for rental property. Once you have found a home that meets your requirements, speak with the property manager or landlord about the home. Discuss monthly payments, deposit money, and other requirements.
Negotiate a better deal if possible, especially if there are a significant number of available rental properties near you. Search Realtor.com to find out how many homes are for rent in your area, checking Craigslist.org for the same. You are in a much better position to obtain favorable lease terms if your credit is good and the number of vacancies is high.
Read your mortgage application carefully and ask questions if you do not understand one or more terms. Find out if garbage collection, water, and heat is included as part of your rent. If not, ask the landlord to provide examples of recent bills so that you will know what these costs will run. Finally, if you have bad credit, but are approved as a tenant, your utility companies may only offer to you service with a large deposit down.
The landlord or property management agent should disclose to you on your rental application that they will be performing a credit check. You may be charged for this service.
If you are a low income renter, you may qualify for rental assistance through a government program such as HUD’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
If your credit needs improvement, there are people who can help you with credit repair. However, some of these services are scams; follow FTC guidelines on how you can repair your credit yourself.
Adv. — Have you checked your credit report lately? How about your FICO score? Employers, landlords, banks, mortgage companies and other lenders base your creditworthiness on a three digit score. Take control — check your credit report today!
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