How Will Rent Affect Your Credit Score
Many people do not realize that renting can actually affect their credit score past the application process! More and more credit reporting agencies are including rental history in their credit reports. Here is what you need to know about your credit-rent relationship:
1- Rent May be Able to Improve Your Credit Score
Unfortunately, not every rent situation is the same so sometimes it may affect your score while other times it may not. Luckily, some of the main credit reporting agencies like TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax all include your positive rent payment history on reports if they receive that information from your landlord/property management company. No one is obligated to report them, so you need to check with your lease or ask someone directly. If your landlord/property management team says that they do not report, you can ask if they will. They may say no but it will not hurt to try if you know you will be on-time with your payments!
2- If They are on Your Credit Report, They Will Look Familiar
While not every landlord/property management team will report your rent, if they do it is important to know what it will look like on your credit report. This type of credit history will look like an auto loan if you have a defined lease term, similar like a month-to-month charge card.
3- You Won’t Have a “Rent Credit Score”
You do not have different credit scores for different aspects of your life. Your credit score is a combination of all your different lines of credit from credit cards, to loans, to possibly rent, and more. However, you can check your credit score using free websites like Credit Karma. If you want a more detailed understanding of your credit score, you can request a credit report from a reporting agency. You should be able to receive a free credit report once every 12 months. You can use this to get a more in-depth look at your credit in order to better understand it.
4- Don’t Think You Can Get Off the Hook of Paying Rent
You may think to yourself, “Well that means if positive payments towards my rent won’t affect my score, then neither will missed payments!” That would be wrong in most cases. Often times your landlord or property management team will send any unpaid rent to debt collectors as well as collection accounts. When this happen, your credit score will take a serious turn for the worst. If you miss rent so much that you end up getting evicted, then that is even worse for your credit. While it may not affect your overall score, it will affect your tenant-specific consumer report.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly how your rent payments will affect your credit score. However, it can both improve or hurt your score if it is accurately reported to credit reporting agencies. Clear up any confusion by talking to your landlord or property management team, and make sure to always pay your rent on time!