When you apply to rent an apartment, you should expect the property manager or landlord to do their due diligence.
It helps them understand who you are as a renter before they decide to open up their property to you.
They need to have the assurance that you will pay your rent on time and take care of the place.
One of the things a landlord may also look at is your rental history. While it’s not a deciding factor, it does tell them about your previous experience as being a tenant, and the types of apartments/areas you have lived in.
You can also use this to get a leg up on their background check by checking your own apartment rental history with these easy steps.
Check Your Apartment Rental History Through RentBureau
Rental history reports are most commonly checked through services like Experian RentBureau, a credit, and rent reporting agency.
It holds information on your payment history, bad checks, old leases, any outstanding debts or balances.
These specialized reports provide them with everything they need to know about your rental history, eviction history, credit, employment, criminal background, and income.
Some of this data may be available through your standard Experian credit report, but to maximize the information around your rental history, your best bet is to check RentBureau first.
If you want to check your rental history this way, you can do it through Experian RentBureau once each year for free.
With it, you’ll be able to see any inaccurate information so you can correct them before any potential new landlords see it.
To do this, follow the following steps:
- Go online and complete their report request form and mail it to the address provided.
- OR call Experian RentBureau at (877) 704-4519 and speak directly with a representative.
Your new landlord might not be using RentBureau but another rent reporting agency instead.
Start by asking them which company they are using so you can contact them first.
How to Get Your Rental Payments in the Records
If your rental information isn’t found on these databases, your past landlords may not have reported your rental history.
If you need to generate some history of renting before you can rent a new place, you’ll want to try to get your current rent payments reported and ensure they can get reported in the future.
You have two ways to approach it:
- Contact your property manager directly. Ask them if they would kindly report your rental payment information to Experian RentBureau.
Once they do, you’ll see it appear in the “Accounts” section of your report. It will include the payment amount, payment history for two years, and when the lease began.
- Enroll yourself in a service. If your landlord is not willing, or you can’t get in contact with them to report your rent to a credit service, you can enroll yourself in a similar service for a small fee.
For example, RentTrack or Cozy are two companies that will collect your rent, report it to Experian, and then pay your landlord with it.
If you want to check out the additional information a landlord will likely pull up before handing over any new keys, you may also want to check out other background documents and reports.
Other Background Documents and Reports (Credit Report)
Another way to check your apartment history rental data is through credit reports and background checks.
Landlords may want to know more about you to get to know you beyond just your rental payment history.
They can do this in various ways, including calling references, pulling your full credit report, or even running a criminal background check on you.
Here are a few things you may also want to check before it’s their turn:
- Income: If you can access documents that prove your income, like a signed contract or offer letter, pay stubs, or bank statements, this might be helpful to ensure that your correct income is recorded.
A landlord is likely to check to ensure that you can pay rent each month.
- Employment: They also have a vested interest in your employment, so they may ask to see a resume or at least get some employment references.
You can call past employers and ask for any proof of employment documents and ensure you have a reference at each employer who will speak highly of you.
- Credit: You can check your credit score by pulling your report. Look for things like late payments, debt load, past bankruptcies, or anything that wouldn’t be ideal from a landlord’s perspective.
- Criminal Background: Criminal issues like felonies or repeated misdemeanors may be a red flag for a landlord, so be sure to take a look at your criminal background check through a background check service.
- Social Media: Today, social media can tell a lot about someone.
Do an audit of your social media profiles, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, to ensure there’s nothing posted publicly that you wouldn’t want your landlord to see.
Reviewing Apartment Rental History
Now that you know some helpful places to check for information on your apartment rental history, let’s walk through the process of reviewing it before a new landlord does.
Step 1: Understand Landlord Expectations
Do they want a tenant who doesn’t have any criminal history?
Will they accept one with a history of late payments? Will they approve of someone who has broken a lease in the past?
What does it mean if a tenant doesn’t have a rental history?
Know what the landlord will be looking for and what are non-negotiable.
Step 2: Review Rental Application
You can learn a lot from the rental application—what is the landlord asking for? This is the information you’ll want to be looking for when you access your credit and rental reporting documents.
Do they want to know about your income, your employment history, your criminal background? Or are they more focused just on your rental history?
If it seems like the former, you may want to check other things like your background and income statements.
Step 3: Landlord Reference Check
A landlord reference check should be your first step. Call or contact any past landlords to see if they will report your rental history to a bureau and speak highly of you if a landlord calls.
Ask about their experience communicating with you, receiving payments from you, and ask about how you left their property at the end of your lease.
If they can answer all of these positively, you can rest assured they’ll tell your new landlord the same thing.
Step 4: Rental History Check and Other Checks
Check for evictions through online databases like RentBureau from Experian that usually offer this information for a small fee.
You may also be able to access the information once a year without paying a fee, like with Experian.
Then, you may also want to run a criminal background check or preemptively pull up documents that show a steady income.
Check on your own apartment rental history before any potential new landlords or property managers do.
You can give yourself a leg up by catching any mistakes or rectifying any lingering situations to maximize your chances of getting approved for your best apartment yet.
Follow the steps listed in this article and know exactly what you’re getting into before you apply for your next apartment.
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