Renters interested in rebuilding their credit scores now have another tool at their disposal, reports The Detroit News. The credit bureau Experian, which acquired the property management database company RentBureau last summer, will begin factoring rental history into credit scores. This move will help scores of consumers, but it may also hurt, experts say.
Millions affected by Experian’s decision at launch
Experian RentBureau, which collects rental history data from property management companies across the U.S. on a daily basis, makes renter data available almost instantaneously through a powerful database delivery system. Before the acquisition, RentBureau had collected up-to-date payment history data on about 8 million renters, a number that is expected to expand exponentially thanks to the new connection with Experian’s database of more than 215 million U.S. consumers. A few million consumers will appear in the Experian RentBureau database at roll-out.
Not only will Experian RentBureau make it easier for consumers interested in credit repair, but it will make the tenant screening process much simpler for resident screeners and property managers, enabling them to better protect their investment. Debt collector recovery rates have also increased through the use of the RentBureau system.
Getting credit for being on time
Experian RentBureau Managing Director Brannan Johnston said the service could help one-third of Americans who rent rather than own.
“It’s a huge thing for those individuals who don’t have a credit history, whether they are a recent college grad, an immigrant or maybe even a divorcee,” said Johnston.
Experian began adding positive rental history data in December, reports The Detroit News. By 2012, the company will also begin uploading negative information regarding evictions and skipped rent. Experian currently has no plans to add late payment data, which is not easily reflected in the company’s credit reporting system, but that doesn’t mean that renters can slack off and expect their credit to get off Scot free.
“If you skip out on your apartment, chances are that the manager is going to turn it over to collection and the collection agency will report to a major bureau,” said Johnston.
The credit reporting industry hasn’t caught on – yet
Credit bureaus Equifax and TransUnion, as well as credit-scoring company FICO, do not have plans to incorporate RentBureau information at this time. FICO spokesman Craig Watts said that once FICO has analyzed RentBureau data internally, the company will make a decision as to whether it should factor in to a consumer’s overall credit score.
Tips for renting without a credit check
In some cases, it is possible for a consumer to rent an apartment without undergoing a credit check. Much like consumers with bad credit who are able to take out short term loans, other methods of evaluating a tenant’s worthiness are available. Ask around. About.com suggests using Craigslist and Sunday newspaper classifieds to find landlords who do not use traditional credit checks. In general, a no credit check rental agreement will need a co-signer and should expect to pay more each month.