Before you sign a lease agreement, it is important to meticulously read all the documents you will be required to sign, as well as any required disclosure notices given to you by the landlord. Disclosure notices include information notifying you of specific laws, landlord rights, tenant rights and other information that affect your status as a tenant. If a landlord intends to disclose your payment history to an outside entity, you should be informed of this before you move into the rental home.
Unless you provide written consent to allow the landlord to share your rental history with third parties, the landlord must keep all information regarding your financial records confidential. A consent agreement will usually be provided to you with the lease agreement as an additional form for you to sign prior to entering into a landlord-tenant contract. However, the confidentiality requirement does not apply to matters that are of public record, such as housing court judgments and information requested by a law enforcement agency.
Your agreement to the terms and conditions of renting a housing unit may involve your knowledge of information regarding the landlord’s rights to report information that affects your consumer report. The landlord may provide you with the Credit Reporting Disclosure Notice. This disclosure notice informs a tenant that the landlord may choose to report negative and positive information that affects an individual’s tenant record to the credit bureaus, including rental payment history and the tenant’s overall payment behavior while occupying a housing unit. This information can also be reported to other property landlords and financial institutions.
On the Credit Reporting Disclosure notice, you are required to provide your name, Social Security number and information about the rental property, such as the physical address or unit number. You must provide your signature on the form and the date of the signature. If the landlord chooses to provide you with the Credit Reporting Disclosure notice, it may be a condition of your renting the property.
If a landlord reports your credit history to the credit bureaus, negative reports can potentially limit your ability to acquire rental housing with future landlords. When you provide consent to allow a company to review your credit report, the company may factor in your rental payment history in determining whether your application will be approved or denied. On a credit report, your payment history for each month during your rental term will contain information, indicating the payment was either made on time or the number of days the rent payment was late. The report will contain any outstanding balances or whether the balance is zero.
- Experian: Rental Payments to Individual Landlords Can Now Be Reported to Experian Rent Bureau
- Bureau of Consumer Protection: What Landlords Need to Know
- Landlord Protection Agency: Credit Reporting and Tenant Performance
- Nolo: How Landlords Can Check a Tenant's Credit Report
- Fairfax County Virginia: Handbook for Tenants and Landlords
Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.