How to Pull a Credit Report for Rental Property

The government limits who is allowed to access credit reports to protect the privacy of individuals and prevent identity theft. To pull a credit report for someone else, you need to have a legitimate business interest and the person's permission. If you are considering someone as a potential tenant in your rental property, you are allowed to request a credit check. To help landlords, there are a number of companies that offer credit screening services.

Collect the required information to request a credit report. Each applicant should give his full name, date of birth, addresses for the previous two years and Social Security number.

Obtain the written permission of each applicant to check their credit report. It is illegal to check someone's credit without permission so having written documentation will protect you in case a deal turns sour. Some landlord services will require a signature before issuing the report.

Collect proof that you own the property and a photo ID. Some landlord services, such as the National Association of Independent Landlords, require this information to verify that you have a legitimate reason to pull the applicant's credit report.

Request a credit report from a landlord credit check service. These services generally require a small fee depending on what information you are requiring. For example, a basic report may only include certain negative information from a credit score while paying a little more will give you access to the potential tenant's credit score and previous addresses. Some groups will allow you to see the report online while others will mail you the report instead.

Explain your decision to the applicant if information in the credit report caused you to reject the application. You are legally responsible for telling the applicant the information that causes the rejection so the information can be appealed to the credit bureau.

Tips

  • In addition to checking an applicant's credit report, you should also check her references.

Warnings

  • Bankrate warns that you should not accept a credit report from an applicant because he may have altered it to make his credit history look better than it actually is.