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It's unlikely that your rent payment history appears on your credit reports, but that's not because paying your rent on time isn't important. More likely than not, it's simply because your landlord doesn't report your rent payments to the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Here's what you need to know about your rental history and your credit, and how you may be able to get your on-time payments to show up on your credit report.
Does Rental History Appear on Your Credit Report?
Rent payments can appear on your credit reports—the national credit bureaus are all equipped to accept and report rental history data—but very few credit reports list rent payments because landlords and property managers generally don't furnish that information to the bureaus.
Landlords and property management companies aren't legally required to report to the credit bureaus, so they do not automatically report your payment history. They also don't report evictions, property damage, broken leases or bounced checks. The only way most landlords influence credit reports is by turning a tenant's unpaid debt over to a collection agency, which then reports the obligation to the credit bureaus.
What Information Is Included in a Credit Report?
Most of the information that appears on consumer credit reports comes from lenders—banks, credit unions, finance companies and providers of student loans and credit cards.
These entities regularly furnish the three credit reporting bureaus with data on your acquisition, usage and repayment of consumer credit. Each credit report contains four sections;
- Personal information: This section lists your name, including variants you might have used when seeking credit (married last names or nicknames, for example); your date of birth; current and past home addresses and phone numbers; and employers you've listed on credit applications.
- Accounts: This lists your loan and credit accounts, including all that are currently open and accounts closed within the past seven to 10 years. Each entry in this section includes a partial account number, last-reported balance, history of monthly payments (with notations on any made more than 30 days late) and account status (open, closed or delinquent, for example).
- Public records: If you've filed for bankruptcy, details about it will appear in this section for seven years (Chapter 13) or 10 years (Chapter 7) from the date you filed.
- Inquiries: This section lists requests to view your credit report or to use it to calculate a credit score. Credit checks related to credit applications are noted as hard inquiries. When companies request your credit report for business purposes and when you check your credit yourself, a soft inquiry appears. Both types of inquiries expire after two years, and only hard inquiries can affect credit scores.
How to Get Your Rental Payments on Your Credit Reports
Since landlords and property management companies don't usually supply information to the credit bureaus on their own, you'll need to take action to get your rent payments added to your credit reports.
- Ask your landlord to report your payments. If you can convince your property manager or landlord to sign up for a rent-reporting service, your payment records will be sent to the credit bureaus.
- Sign up for a fee-based service. For a monthly subscription fee, any number of services will report your rent payments to credit bureaus. Some report to all three credit bureaus, others just one or two of them.
- Try Experian Boost®ø. If you enroll in Experian Boost, a free feature that lets you share your history of paying a variety of recurring expenses, you can add eligible rent payments (as well as phone, internet, streaming service and utility bills) to your Experian credit report. For many users, Experian Boost brings immediate improvements to FICO® Scores☉ based on Experian credit data.
Does Paying Rent Improve Your Credit Score?
If rent payment information appears on your credit report, the newest versions of the FICO® Score and all versions of the VantageScore® credit scoring system can recognize it and factor it into your credit scores. A pattern of timely rent payments therefore has the potential to benefit your credit scores.
Using Experian Boost to share history of rent payments made online may yield an increase in your FICO® Score 8 based on Experian credit data.
The Bottom Line
Rental payment history can be an indicator of creditworthiness, and modern credit scoring systems are equipped to factor it into your credit scores—but it likely won't appear on your credit report because your landlord doesn't report it to the credit bureaus. If you make rent payments online and you'd like your payment history to contribute to credit scores based on Experian data, try enrolling in Experian Boost and sharing your payment history.