A credit report can tell you a lot about a potential tenant’s attitude towards paying bills. It’s a lot more than just the credit score. There are three things we recommend you judge when you’re looking at a prospective tenant’s credit report.
Verify Identification with a Credit Report
Are the prospective tenants who they say they are? Identify theft is on the rise, so see if you can cross reference their name, address, and date of birth on their government-issued identification against their credit report. You want to see a match and make sure the name matches up to the social security number and the date of birth. The addresses on the credit report should be the same as those listed on the application. These are important identification elements, and a credit report can help you.
Landlord or Utility Debt
A credit report will list delinquent and collection accounts. If any of those are from past landlords, that’s not a good sign. Past behavior is an indicator of future behavior. If there are landlords the tenants have not paid in the past, you could be the next landlord with outstanding debts. Utility debt is also not a good sign. If a person isn’t paying the electric, gas, or water bill, they probably aren’t going to be able to pay the rent, either.
Evaluate the Credit Score
Credit scores are not always a perfect measure, but you should take a close look at them. Bad things can happen to good people. However, in our history, I cannot think of an eviction filing for nonpayment of rent that we’ve had to make against someone with a good credit score. So, know the credit score and use it in your evaluation criteria.