Your Credit Report & Renting

Credit checks for tenants: Tips for shaping up your credit if you’re in the rental market

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If you’re looking for rental housing in a tight market, you need every edge you can get as you search for the apartment you covet. In addition to being proactive in your search for housing, there are a few things you can do to make yourself a more attractive renter.

More and more landlords are now conducting tenant background checks, as online tenant screening programs have made it easy and affordable for them to do so. Most of these services include a credit check on tenants. Therefore, getting your credit in order is one way to make a good impression on landlords.

Here are some quick and easy ways to improve your credit:

* Pay down your credit cards. If you have an account that’s near its limit, pay it down as much as you are capable. Paying off your balance regularly also looks good to reporting agencies.

* Dispute damaging claims. This is especially important if a claim is just not accurate. Consult this FTC guide for reporting errors if you find yourself in this camp.

* Work with creditors. If you have a late payment on an account where you have a history of on-time payments, it might be worth contacting the company to see if you can get it erased from your credit history.

If you haven’t seen a credit report in a while, it’s worth noting that it’s one of the things you receive when you order a report from My Rental History Report. Here you can also see your rental payment history, eviction records and criminal history, allowing you access to the same type of information landlords will see. It never hurts to make sure everything that could appear on a rental background check is accurate.