Can Tenants Perform Their Own Credit Check?
Let’s face it: it costs time and money to pull up a credit report for each and every renter that applies for your unit. It also costs your prospective tenants money if you charge a fee to pull a credit check, and it quickly adds up if they’re paying this fee for multiple apartment applications. To save everyone some time and money, would it make sense to allow your prospective tenant to complete their own credit check to bring to the showing? Let’s take a look.
A tenant who pulls their own credit check in the application process will obtain the report and make copies to bring to their prospective landlord. This is convenient and cost-saving for both parties, since it reduces the waiting period it takes to pull the report. Additionally the landlord won’t need to charge a fee or take time out of the day for this step of the qualification process. For this reason, a landlord may choose to accept the tenant’s copy of the credit report (But always check your state laws to make sure it’s legal). If you choose to take this route, make sure the report is recent and pulled from a credible consumer reporting agency.
By law, a landlord is not required to accept the tenant’s copy of the credit report. If you think that leaving the job of pulling the credit report to applicants opens up the risk of renter fraud, you can require renters to pay the fee for you to pull a new one. Clearly state this requirement when you outline the qualification process to the applicants. To protect yourself from any discrimination claims, make sure you stick to the same credit check process for every single applicant. If you accept copies from one tenant but reject them from another, you could face charges for renter discrimination.
For more help on pulling or reading credit reports, download a free copy of our e-book, How To Interpret a Renter’s Credit Report.