Rental    FAQs

Q.  How do  I pull Equifax reports?

A.  Click here for instructions.

Q.   I own rental property.  Am I allowed to get a credit report on a prospective tenant?

A.   Yes.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act says you can get a report "In accordance with the written instructions for the consumer to whom it relates."  or if you:  "indend[s] to to use the information in connection with a credit transaction..or to review or collection of an account of, the consumer;"

So, yes, getting a report on a prospective tenant is a valid business reason for getting a report.  The consumer must authorize you to get the report.  We recommend that you to have the consumer sign an application with the authorization to get a credit report.

Q.   Can I get a criminal back ground check on a prospective tenant? 

A.   Yes, but the consumer must sign an authorization.

Q.  I only have two or three rental properties.  Is it possible for me to join and get credit reports?

A.  It is possible, but since you will not be pulling very many reports, your will account will be inactivated after 6 months without any usage.  We recommend that you go to our web page and click on "FREE Your Credit Report"  and have the consumer get their own free report and give you a copy. 

This saves you a lot of paper work and the report is free.

To pull reports, you must sign an application and a service agreement with one of the credit bureaus or an approved reseller (such as KCB Information Services.)

All the credit bureaus require a site inspection to verify you are an approved business with a valid purpose to pull reports. If you run your business out of your home, some bureaus require yearly site inspections.

Q.  Can I report my current tenants to the credit bureau? 

A.  Yes.  The first way is:  The credit bureaus take data monthly via disk or over the internet.  There is a special format called Metro2.  There are companies that will take your data via an Excel spread sheet and convert the data to the Metro2  format and submit it to the credit bureaus.  You must report all accounts monthly.

If you file a judgment against a tenant for over $100. 00, the credit bureaus will pick up the judgments and add the judgment to their files.  If you file a judgment for possession only, the credit bureaus will not pick up the court order.  However, there are services that claim to pick up all rental related judgments.

One other way to record you delinquent accounts, is to turn them over to a collection agency that reports their accounts to all the credit bureaus.  Since not all collection agencies do not report to all, (some do not report to any) you must ask if they do report and you must ask if they report to all three!

Q.  If I pull a credit report how long do I need to keep the credit report and application?

A.  You do not need to keep a copy of the credit report.  If you pull an Experian report, the report is stored for you to review for 6 months.  However you are required to keep the application for 25 months.  Your inquiry will be on the consumer's credit report for 24 months.  If the consumer were to dispute your authority to pull his/her report, you could be required to prove you had the consumer's permission to pull a report.  The easiest way to do that is to keep the signed application for 25 months.  Then you are covered.

Q.  If I turn some one down, do I need to tell them why?

A.  Yes.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act says you must give an "Adverse Action Notice" if you have "an action taken or determination that is adverse to the interests of the consumer."  Another way to state it would be:  a denial or cancellation of, an increase in any charges for a or a reduction or other adverse or unfavorable change in the terms of the contract."

You must tell them why and were you received the information.  If the reason is because of information on the credit report, you must tell them the name, the address and phone number of the credit bureau.  And you must tell them the credit bureau does not know why the action was taken, but they can receive a copy of the report from the credit bureau.