How Long Will a Credit Check Take?

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It can take anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few days. How long it will take depends on a couple of factors:

  • The agency handling the credit check
  • How soon the tenant submits the required information and the written consent for a credit check
  • If a landlord has been approved to run a credit check on a prospective tenant

Getting Approved To Run a Credit Check On a Prospective Tenant

Before a company will help you run a credit check on a prospective tenant, they need to verify that you are truly a landlord. This is to avoid running illegal credit checks for an imposter. You will be required to submit information to confirm your identity. The information required can vary from company to company. Some of them are:

  • Verification of current address: This can be your phone or electricity bill.
  • Documents proving identity: This can be your passport or driver’s license.
  • Documents proving ownership of a rental property: These documents can include your mortgage statement, utility bills, insurance documents, and proof of title.

When you have been approved, the company can then proceed to run credit checks on your prospective tenant. Getting approved can take somewhere from 2 to 10 days, depending on how many other landlords are getting approved at the same time, and the particular company involved.

Charging a Fee For Credit Checks

You can decide if you want to run credit checks for free or charge a fee for them. Some landlords charge a small fee, which can save them a bit of money in the long run. The advantage of charging for a credit check is that it deters individuals who have poor credit. However, there are landlords who do not charge fees for worry of losing good prospective tenants who will be discouraged by the fees. If you decide to charge a fee for a credit check, you can deduct the amount from the tenant’s first month rent, if they do eventually rent the apartment. A second option is to have it added to their security deposit. Another possibility is to run credit checks only on tenants who provide a deposit for the apartment. This shows they are committed to renting it.

Save Time and Money By Verifying Information

If you verify some items on your own before running a credit check, you will reduce the amount of time it will take to get a credit check result, and save yourself some money too.

  • Confirm the prospective tenant’s identity by asking to see their ID. You can then confirm that the face and name on the ID are the same as the individual. Make a copy of this.
  • Confirm employment status by calling their current employer.
  • Confirm the prospective tenant really lives at the current address they wrote down on the application.

If you find the applicant has lied about any of these, you can terminate the running of a credit check. You don’t want a dishonest individual for a tenant.

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