Landlords and letting agents are required to get written authorization from the prospective tenant before they are allowed access the tenant’s credit report. Failure to get written consent from the tenant would mean the information gathered might not be usable. The tenant involved may take legal action against the landlord or letting agents.
Credit reports have the following basic information:
- Name, address and employment details: The name of the individual in question. Credit reports are put together with information retrieved from creditors and lenders associated with said individual. It is important to employ consistency when filling out details like name, date of birth and so on, on applications and other documents.
- Credit reports may contain previous, as well as current, addresses, based on how many different addresses may have received mail. An individual may dispute an address on their credit report that has been wrongly included.
- Employment details may show in a credit report, also added to the details for identification.
- Credit reports show how many credit accounts an individual has, outstanding total credit balance, number of credit applications made in 6 months, how much available credit is used by the person, electoral roll status, unpaid debts from previous tenancies, CCJs, bankruptcy, IVA records, and financial associates.
- They also contain public records that contain information collected from state and county courts and from collection agencies about overdue debts. The information available may include suits, bankruptcies, liens and foreclosures.
- Credit reports DO NOT contain bank account balance, salary, credit counselling history, marital status, religion, sex, or child support payments (except in cases of delinquency).
How Much Can a Landlord See in a Credit Report?
Landlords and letting agents cannot view all the information on a tenant’s credit report. They can only see publicly available records like court judgements, records of insolvency, and voter registration. They do not have access to information on the tenant’s credit loans, cards, and other sensitive information that may be available on the credit report.
What if the Tenants are Too Young to Have Established Credit History?
Landlords can rely on employment references and other checks in this case. Guarantors may also be used as needed.
What Information would a Landlord Need to Run Credit Checks?
On the consent form for a credit check, the tenant would need to provide the following:
- Name in full
- Date of birth
- Social security number and (or) Individual Taxpayer Identification Number