How to Check Your Rental History Report as a Renter (+ More)

An illustration of a rental history report with a purple stripe and two yellow stripes and the word Approved stamped in green diagonally.

There’s nothing easy about finding a rental home in most cases. Many tenants struggle to find a place that fits all their needs, and if they do, passing the tenant screening process can be another difficult hurdle to jump.

Landlords and property managers are uncompromising when it comes to choosing new tenants. They must ensure each applicant has a history of acceptable rental behavior to safeguard against tenants who don’t pay the rent and damage property.

The tenant screening process can be extensive. Many landlords check every public record possible, including:

  • Credit report
  • Criminal record
  • Income verification
  • Background check
  • Rental history report
  • Every piece of tenant information helps build a better picture of what type of renter they are. The rental history report is one of the most critical documents in the tenant screening process for some landlords, though. This guide will explain what this report is, how to find yours, and what to do if it’s incorrect.

What Is a Rental History Report?

A rental history report is exactly as it sounds. It gives a complete account of a person’s rental history. The details in it can include:

  • Past leases
  • Rental debt
  • Bad checks
  • Damage reports
  • Previously rented addresses
  • Dates of every rental
  • Statements from previous landlords
  • Late rent payments
  • Evictions

Not every screening report has to be 100% positive to be beneficial. Everyone makes mistakes, and landlords take that into consideration. It’s important, however, to be aware of what all reports say and that the information is correct. Incorrect information on any public record, especially a rental history report, can turn a yes into a no for many landlords.

How to Check Rental History Reports

a couple that had a good rental history report enjoying their new rental

Tenants must be aware of what’s on their rental history report. It can make or break a lease, so you want to make sure you can explain any negative marks and clear anything false. Here are a few common ways to check your rental history report:

Credit Bureaus

Consumers can check their credit for free once each year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Credit bureaus such as Experian, Transunion, and Equifax provide detailed reports of every mark on a consumer’s credit standing, including rental history. Consumers can obtain one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. It’s a good idea to check if they offer a separate report for rental history only and request it along with your annual credit report.

Reporting Agencies

There are many reporting agencies that provide rental history reports for landlords and property managers. Ask the landlord which agency they use and request a copy from the same agency. This allows you to see exactly what the landlord sees and fix any discrepancies it contains. 

Landlord Research

Many landlords prefer to do their research when it comes to rental history. They ask applicants to provide a list of previous landlords to call and question the time the tenant spent there. A smart idea for every rental applicant is to put the landlords they had the best relationship with at the top of their list.

These reports are used even if a renter wants to become a homeowner because banks review them when deciding to approve a mortgage. It’s vital, therefore, to clear them of all misinformation and mistakes.

How to Fix Rental History Report Mistakes

One small mistake on a rental history report can cost an applicant a lease. An incorrect date, for instance, could erroneously indicate a late rent payment. It’s imperative to check even the most minor details of the report for inaccuracies. Follow these simple steps to dispute incorrect information on a rental history report.

1. Dispute Report Procedure

Every reporting agency has a specific way to dispute errors. Not following the directions can delay or nullify any attempt to clear up the mistakes. Find out how to file a dispute with the prospective landlord’s reporting company to ensure they see the correct information.

2. Gather Pertinent Information

Coinciding documents are required to remedy any rental history inaccuracies regardless of the dispute procedure. Documents providing proof of inaccuracies, such as rent receipts, are required to disprove any negative marks.

3. Remove Outdated Information

Financial problems like bankruptcy can be removed from a credit report after 10 years, but it doesn’t always happen. Sometimes consumers have to contact the major credit reporting bureaus to have this type of information removed.

4. Pay Rental Debt

Owing back rent will almost always cost a tenant a new lease. The rental report is much more appealing when there are no outstanding rent payments. Landlords feel assured the applicant will continue along the same vein with their rental behavior.

5. Ensure All Information Is Reported

Some landlords don’t report their rental payments to any agency. That means you could have a perfect payment history, but it doesn’t show up on your rental history report. It can help to contact those landlords and explain the situation, encouraging them to report. This is especially helpful to counteract any negative information.

6. Show Proof to The Landlord

It’s a good idea to show proof of any report mistakes to the landlord in addition to the reporting agencies. Letting them know that there’s a mistake, and that the tenant is correcting it, shows responsibility and can speed up the screening process considerably.

Staying on top of their rental history report is an essential duty for all renters. It can make the entire screening process go a lot smoother and pave the way to the home of their dreams.

Contact an Expert to Learn More About Rental History Reports

 Rental applications take a lot of work, including dealing with rental history reports. Rent Safe is a digital service that helps renters easily submit their applications for rentals (apartments, homes, etc.), and it lets landlords streamline their steps to screen potential tenants.

Our user-friendly dashboard allows for one-click submissions that take most of the hassle out of the process. Call Rent Safe today to get help with your rental applications.

Devin Henry
Devin Henry
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