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Experian RentBureau, affiliated with the major credit reporting company Experian, is the leading provider of rental payment history data to the multifamily industry and it maintains a national database of rental payment histories. Whether you are a landlord, a property manager, or a tenant, Experian RentBureau may be a valuable and convenient tool for helping you manage rental payments and rental history track records.
Landlords and managers of multi-unit properties can use the service to screen prospective renters, for instance, while apartment dwellers can have their payment history submitted to the service to improve their credit history and make it easier to be approved by landlords for future rentals. Both landlords and tenants can also benefit from using the service’s electronic payment feature that makes paying or collecting monthly rent fast, secure, simple, and automatic.
- Potential tenants can purchase their credit report and score for just $14.95 and then grant landlords access to view it for 30 days from purchase, for no additional fee.
- Landlords can review your credit report to see how tenants or prospective tenants manage types of credit accounts, which can help them screen tenants to avoid risk of late payments or costly and exasperating evictions.
- Every 24 hours, Experian RentBureau receives updated rental payment history data from owners/managers and electronic rent payment services nationwide.
- Tenants can show landlords their good payment track record, which helps facilitate the renting of a home and might give a consumer negotiating strength when asking landlords for rental price reductions or security deposit concessions.
Adherence to Federal and/or State Laws
You cannot run a credit report on just anyone, however, because those records are private and confidential. You must have the legal authority to do so. That usually means you have to have their permission, so be aware that you’re subject to federal regulations when running a credit check to view someone’s credit files.
Specifically, you have to adhere to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. You may also be subject to state laws, depending upon where you live. To learn more about those rules you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your state’s office of the Attorney General, and you can also see extensive information on the Experian site’s legal obligations page.
The Not So Good
While all of the RentBureau services may sound attractive to those who own rental property, not everyone is eligible to take advantage of them. After sending an email to the company’s customer service department asking them if individuals who only own one rental property can use RentBureau, I received a prompt and helpful answer; “Unfortunately, Experian does not extend membership to Individual Landlords or Business in residential locations.”
If you simply act as a part time landlord or dabble in investment properties to augment your income, you may not be able to use RentBureau. To be eligible you do need to be part of a property management company or similar real estate related business with an actual corporate location. Essentially, you need to be a realtor that manages property from a brokerage office or own multi-family condos and have a leasing office.
Customer service at RentBureau did say, though, that if you want to check a tenant’s credit you can visit the web page www.experian.com/connect to find out how, even if you are an individual landlord in a residential area. There are two reasons to use their website; to find out how to share your own credit report with someone or to find out how to run a credit check on someone else. That can still be a very useful service as an individual landlord because screening tenants before renting to them by studying their credit report is a prudent way to control risk to help ensure greater success and fewer problems.
To find out more about Experian RentBureau and its services, visit the company’s website or call them toll-free at 1-888-779-9155.