Do I Need a Tenant’s Permission To Run a Credit Check?

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The answer is YES. While every landlord is allowed, by  law, to run a credit check on a tenant applying for their rental property, you will still need to get the tenant’s consent.

Written Permission

A landlord needs to get written permission from the prospective tenant before running a credit check. This written permission can be gained through a clause which will be included in the rental application form, or by a separate document which the tenant will sign.

  • Clause Inclusion In a Rental Application Form

The landlord can achieve this by including a clause in the application form, somewhere at the bottom, where the prospective tenant can see it. This clause is intended to get the applicant’s consent in written form. It can state that, by agreeing to sign the application form, the potential tenant is agreeing to a credit check.

  • Separate Document

Another way of getting written consent for running a credit check is for the landlord to create a separate document asking for the prospective tenant’s consent. By signing the document, the applicant is giving their consent in written form, and both landlord and tenant can keep a copy of the signed document.

Information Needed For a Credit Check

When you’ve gotten the prospective tenant’s consent to run a credit check, there is certain information you will need. This includes:

  • Address
  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number

These should be included in the “Credit Check” Consent Document, which the prospective tenant has to sign.

Mistakes to Avoid

It is true that a credit check can help you in choosing the right tenant for your rental property. However, you also need to avoid certain mistakes.

  • Make sure that you get written consent before carrying out a credit check. This will save you a lot of legal trouble.
  • Do not discriminate. Ensure you run a credit check for every tenant applying for your rental property. Running a credit check only for someone of a particular race, gender or colour is against the Protected Characteristics Law.

Do not base your conclusions only on a credit check. There are individuals who can supply false information. Be sure to get a reference from a previous landlord and current employer for the prospective tenant.

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