DESKTOP & TABLET VERSION (MOBILE BELOW)

tenant screening credit reports

Credit Reports for Resident Screening

Credit reports help determine if a rental applicant is financially responsible, but understanding the fundamentals of good credit reporting can be tricky. Get to know the basics of credit checks, how to get access credit reports, and what to look for in a rental screening service and you’ll ensure you’ll reap all the benefits of credit reports.

Resident Background Checks: Credit Reports 101

What is a Resident Background Check?

Rental background checks allow you to identify red flags to help avoid problematic residents (or worse, a costly eviction). Property managers and independent rental owners use background checks to get a deeper, objective look into the applicant’s past behavior. Resident checks are often paired with consumer credit reports and can consist of an eviction search, criminal history scan, and/or sex offender registry search.

What is a Credit Report?

A renter credit report (also known technically as consumer reports) provides information on your applicant’s credit characteristics or rental history. This credit information provides multifamily industry professionals like you with the knowledge to objectively make a rental decision and is prepared by a consumer reporting agency (or more commonly known, resident screening company) for you.

The Credit Bureaus and Credit Scores

Not to be confused with your resident screening service, credit bureaus supply your background screener with the credit score and report, while your screening provider can furnish the applicant’s rental, eviction, or criminal history. Although there are many credit bureaus available, the main three credit furnishers are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Just like there are many different credit bureaus and resident screening companies out there, there are also several various credit scoring models. FICO, developed by the Fair Isaac Company in 1989, is one of the oldest and most widely-used credit scoring models available, and CIC is proud to offer this credit model.

Credit Reporting Myths and Facts

Do you know the truth behind these common credit reporting myths?

MYTH

The credit report shows any and all evictions.

FACT

Most evictions won't appear on the credit report. The credit bureaus report on less than 10% of eviction cases, and only if it resulted in a monetary judgement. The National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) has reduced this even further.

MYTH

The rental applicant can't change anything on their credit report.

FACT

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) residents have a right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information on their credit report by contacting the consumer reporting agency. By law they'll have to investigate and correct/remove the record within 30 days.

Credit Check Policies for Multifamily Rental Properties

How to Access Credit Reports for Resident Screening

Whether you’re a property management company, apartment association, public housing authority, or an independent rental owner (IRO), you know that rental properties across the U.S. depend on the credit check on their renter screening reports to approve or deny applicants. Rental housing professionals can access consumer credit reports, so long as it is for resident screening purposes. Using a credit report intended for resident screening for any other purpose is highly illegal and can carry severe legal penalties.  Before accessing a credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) requires that you must verify with your screening service that you have a permissible purpose.

Learn More about Credit Reporting Laws

Credit Report Compliance and Training

All rental properties that use credit reports should take steps to ensure FCRA compliance. These steps can include annual auditing and staff training. CIC offers all users the opportunity to become certified for safe access to credit reports for free through the National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRA).

How Consumer Credit Reports are Processed

While every resident screening company has its own procedure (including report inclusions and report processing times), this is the general credit reporting process for resident screening.

Request

The user (the property manager, owner or landlord) submits a rental screening report request with the consumer’s (the rental applicant’s) consent.

Verify

The consumer’s identity is verified, and the credit report is generated. Credit reports can include a credit score, a full credit summary, fraud search, payment history, and public records, collections, and resources.

Read

The complete credit report (accompanied by the background check report) is sent to the user!

Including Credit Reports in your Leasing Process

The Perks of Reviewing a Resident's Credit Report

Resident screening empowers your rental properties with actual applicant vetting tools, and credit reports are a particularly important part of that leasing process. By analyzing your applicant’s or renter’s tried and true financial history, you’re able to determine whether they’re financially responsible enough for your property.

By using credit reports (and background screening in general) to assess rental candidates and current renters, you reap these benefits:

  • Helps Gauge Financial Responsibility
  • Uses Objective Data and Standardizes your Leasing Process
  • Non-Discriminatory and Fair Housing Compliant

What to Look For when Choosing a Screening Service

Credit reports are an important piece of the vetting puzzle, but they’re not the only thing you’ll want to pay close attention to when looking for the best rental screening company. When considering a screening service, look at these 3 essential points:

Time is money, and all resident screening companies should be trying to get you the report you need to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible.

Having to wait a couple of days? Try CIC. Our average report time is 5 seconds.

Reputable credit sources make for a reliable credit report. The screening business you choose should get their credit reports directly from Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax.

Aside from credit, pay attention to the quality of their eviction and criminal history checks.

A reliable relationship is the cornerstone of any good business interaction – and a company that aims to provide you with additional resources, staff training and education has your best interests at heart.

Find the Perfect Screening Service for your Company.

resident Credit Report FAQ

Right here! Our Consumer Credit Report Package includes the credit report, FICO credit score, a risk score model, fraud search, and Experian’s RentBureau and is just $7.50 per report. CIC’s other popular screening packages include a nationwide eviction search and/or criminal scan.

Our Consumer Credit Report Package costs just $7.50 per report. This includes the credit report, FICO credit score, a risk score model, fraud search, and Experian’s RentBureau*. Thereafter our more premium resident screening reports cost $8.50 (with added eviction search) or $14.50 (with added eviction and criminal search).

*RentBureau is only available on Experian credit reports

Credit freezes enable a consumer (your rental applicant) to restrict outside access to their credit report, and will stop consumer reporting agencies (i.e. renter screening companies) from releasing the credit report without their consent. Most rental applicants place a freeze on their credit to help protect themselves from identity theft.

Watch our video to find out what you can do if your rental applicant or current resident has a freeze on their credit.

Yes! To gain access to your applicant’s or renter’s credit report and credit score, it is required by law that your screening company ensure you have a permissible purpose. This allows us to make sure you are legitimately using these reports for rental housing vetting and that your office has the necessary tools to safely and securely store consumer reports.

For example, you should ensure any computers with sensitive data are password protected, and that any paper documents containing social security numbers (SSN) or personally identifiable information (PII) are stored in a locking filing cabinet.

If your rental applicant wants to dispute any information on their report, they should contact the consumer reporting company that supplied the report. Click here if the report was processed through CIC. If the consumer report was not processed through CIC, this contact information should be on your adverse action notice

To obtain access to credit data, it is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that the consumer reporting agency (the resident screening service) verify that you have a permissible purpose. Without that permissible purpose, you will be unable to access your applicant’s credit report. This law is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

While most credit reports are processed with a social security number (SSN), CIC can also run your applicant’s credit report with a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). If both are unavailable, we can still run the report but cannot guarantee we’ll be able to locate the applicant’s consumer credit profile (if it exists).

CIC’s average report processing time is just 5 seconds. Ask a representative and we’ll show you.

MOBILE VERSION BELOW

Credit Reports for Resident Screening

tenant screening credit reports

Credit reports help determine if a rental applicant is financially responsible, but understanding the fundamentals of good credit reporting can be tricky. Get to know the basics of credit checks, how to get access credit reports, and what to look for in a rental screening service and you’ll ensure you’ll reap all the benefits of credit reports.

Resident Background Checks: Credit Reports 101

What is a Resident Background Check?

Rental background checks allow you to identify red flags to help avoid problematic residents (or worse, a costly eviction). Property managers and independent rental owners use background checks to get a deeper, objective look into the applicant’s past behavior. Resident checks are often paired with consumer credit reports and can consist of an eviction search, criminal history scan, and/or sex offender registry search.

What is a Credit Report?

A renter credit report (also known technically as consumer reports) provides information on your applicant’s credit characteristics or rental history. This credit information provides multifamily industry professionals like you with the knowledge to objectively make a rental decision and is prepared by a consumer reporting agency (or more commonly known, resident screening company) for you.

The Credit Bureaus and Credit Scores

Not to be confused with your resident screening service, credit bureaus supply your background screener with the credit score and report, while your screening provider can furnish the applicant’s rental, eviction, or criminal history. Although there are many credit bureaus available, the main three credit furnishers are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Just like there are many different credit bureaus and resident screening companies out there, there are also several various credit scoring models. FICO, developed by the Fair Isaac Company in 1989, is one of the oldest and most widely-used credit scoring models available, and CIC is proud to offer this credit model.

Credit Reporting Myths and Facts

Do you know the truth behind these common credit reporting myths?

MYTH: The credit report shows any and all evictions.
FACT: Most evictions won't appear on the credit report. The credit bureaus report on less than 10% of eviction cases, and only if it resulted in a monetary judgement. The National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP) has reduced this even further.
MYTH: The rental applicant can't change anything on their credit report.
FACT: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) residents have a right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information on their credit report by contacting the consumer reporting agency. By law they'll have to investigate and correct/remove the record within 30 days.
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Credit Check Policies for Multifamily Rental Properties

How to Access Credit Reports for Resident Screening

Whether you’re a property management company, apartment association, public housing authority, or an independent rental owner (IRO), you know that rental properties across the U.S. depend on the credit check on their renter screening reports to approve or deny applicants. Rental housing professionals can access consumer credit reports, so long as it is for resident screening purposes. Using a credit report intended for resident screening for any other purpose is highly illegal and can carry severe legal penalties.  Before accessing a credit report, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) requires that you must verify with your screening service that you have a permissible purpose.

Learn More about Credit Reporting Laws

Credit Report Compliance and Training

All rental properties that use credit reports should take steps to ensure FCRA compliance. These steps can include annual auditing and staff training. CIC offers all users the opportunity to become certified for safe access to credit reports for free through the National Consumer Reporting Association (NCRA).

How Consumer Credit Reports are Processed

While every resident screening company has its own procedure (including report inclusions and report processing times), this is the general credit reporting process for resident screening.

Request

The user (the property manager, owner or landlord) submits a rental screening report request with the consumer’s (the rental applicant’s) consent.

Verify

The consumer’s identity is verified, and the credit report is generated. Credit reports can include a credit score, a full credit summary, fraud search, payment history, and public records, collections, and resources.

Read

The complete credit report (accompanied by the background check report) is sent to the user!

Including Credit Reports in your Leasing Process

The Perks of Reviewing a Resident's Credit Report

Resident screening empowers your rental properties with actual applicant vetting tools, and credit reports are a particularly important part of that leasing process. By analyzing your applicant’s or renter’s tried and true financial history, you’re able to determine whether they’re financially responsible enough for your property.

By using credit reports (and background screening in general) to assess rental candidates and current renters, you reap these benefits:

  • Helps Gauge Financial Responsibility
  • Uses Objective Data and Standardizes your Leasing Process
  • Non-Discriminatory and Fair Housing Compliant

What to Look For when Choosing a Screening Service

Credit reports are an important piece of the vetting puzzle, but they’re not the only thing you’ll want to pay close attention to when looking for the best rental screening company. When considering a screening service, look at these 3 essential points:

Time is money, and all resident screening companies should be trying to get you the report you need to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible.

Having to wait a couple of days? Try CIC. Our average report time is 5 seconds.

Reputable credit sources make for a reliable credit report. The screening business you choose should get their credit reports directly from Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax.

Aside from credit, pay attention to the quality of their eviction and criminal history checks.

A reliable relationship is the cornerstone of any good business interaction – and a company that aims to provide you with additional resources, staff training and education has your best interests at heart.

Find the Perfect Screening Service for your Company.

Resident Credit Report FAQ

Right here! Our Consumer Credit Report Package includes the credit report, FICO credit score, a risk score model, fraud search, and Experian’s RentBureau and is just $7.50 per report. CIC’s other popular screening packages include a nationwide eviction search and/or criminal scan.

Our Consumer Credit Report Package costs just $7.50 per report. This includes the credit report, FICO credit score, a risk score model, fraud search, and Experian’s RentBureau*. Thereafter our more premium resident screening reports cost $8.50 (with added eviction search) or $14.50 (with added eviction and criminal search).

*RentBureau is only available on Experian credit reports

Credit freezes enable a consumer (your rental applicant) to restrict outside access to their credit report, and will stop consumer reporting agencies (i.e. renter screening companies) from releasing the credit report without their consent. Most rental applicants place a freeze on their credit to help protect themselves from identity theft.

Watch our video to find out what you can do if your rental applicant or current resident has a freeze on their credit.

Yes! To gain access to your applicant’s or renter’s credit report and credit score, it is required by law that your screening company ensure you have a permissible purpose. This allows us to make sure you are legitimately using these reports for rental housing vetting and that your office has the necessary tools to safely and securely store consumer reports.

For example, you should ensure any computers with sensitive data are password protected, and that any paper documents containing social security numbers (SSN) or personally identifiable information (PII) are stored in a locking filing cabinet.

If your rental applicant wants to dispute any information on their report, they should contact the consumer reporting company that supplied the report. Click here if the report was processed through CIC. If the consumer report was not processed through CIC, this contact information should be on your adverse action notice

To obtain access to credit data, it is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that the consumer reporting agency (the resident screening service) verify that you have a permissible purpose. Without that permissible purpose, you will be unable to access your applicant’s credit report. This law is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

While most credit reports are processed with a social security number (SSN), CIC can also run your applicant’s credit report with a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). If both are unavailable, we can still run the report but cannot guarantee we’ll be able to locate the applicant’s consumer credit profile (if it exists).

CIC’s average report processing time is just 5 seconds. Ask a representative and we’ll show you.