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Topics addressed on April 2, 2008:
Landlords can share credit reports with tenants
Can a landlord show a prospective tenant a copy of their credit report? Can a landlord give a prospective tenant a copy of their credit report?
A landlord can show a tenant their credit report, and can give it to them. If they decline an application based on the report, they must disclose the significant factors in the report that influenced their decision. But, when a landlord or other business gives consumers a copy of the report they receive, the result is most often confusion and frustration.
Instead, I recommend the landlord give you instructions for getting your personal report directly from Experian.
The report a business receives is most often coded for computer processing, abbreviates lender names, and organizes the information according to the landlord’s or lender’s specifications.
It actually has less information in it than the report you receive. For example, the business report does not include all of the inquiries that an individual will see nor additional information such as when a negative item will be deleted or contact information for an account.
A key reason for getting your personal report is that it is formatted to be easy to read and understand. It is also in the same format that Experian’s representatives will use in assisting you, and every entry is numbered. Your issues can be clearly identified and communicated because Experian will be working with exactly the same format as you are viewing. That helps Experian provide faster, better service for you.
Most important is that getting a report directly from Experian is the necessary first step for receiving assistance with any disputes or questions you may have. Once you have your personal report you can go online or call the automated phone line and enter the report number provided to you.
In most cases your personal report is free. You can get a complimentary copy once every 12 months through www.annualcreditreport.com.
Your personal report is also free if you have had adverse action taken, such as not being approved for the apartment lease. You can get a free report if you are or have reason to believe you may be a fraud victim. You can also get a free report if you are unemployed and seeking a job, or if you receive welfare assistance. Some state laws also enable their citizens to get one or more free reports each year.
If you do not meet any of those criteria, a report costs about $10.50 unless you live in a state that mandates a lower fee or a state that requires us to collect sales tax.
You can request your report for any of these reasons at www.experian.com/reportaccess. You will be advised of the fee for your state, if applicable.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team