Now certified to view full credit reports on rental applicants

And I’m happy about that. The thought of renting to people without doing that small bit of due-diligence scares the heck out of me. The whole process was actually very quick, painless, and not all that expensive.

I first called Landlord2Landlord, the agency I’d been using to pull credit reports before they changed the laws, to find out what needed to be done. First, they sent me some paperwork to sign and fax back, stating the address and nature of my business, and authorizing them to charge $75 to my credit card. They then had a third-party inspection party contact me to set up an appointment. In order to make sure that I could pass the inspection, I asked them some questions about what to expect.

The basic requirements:

  • A locked door on the office (commercial space or home office)
  • A password-protected computer
  • The computer should not be facing outward – so clients could accidentally see an on-screen report
  • A lockable filing cabinet
  • A paper shredder

TransUnion requires that there is a sign on the door, the other two do not. I don’t really have an official name for my rental “company,” so I decided to just skip the sign… two credit agencies are more than enough.

The actual inspection was a piece of cake, and didn’t take more than 15 minutes. The guy showed up, asked for the building owner/manager’s name and phone number, the web address of my rental business, and how many units I manage. He took photos of the locked filing cabinet, password-protected computer, and asked if I had a shredder. He left his card, and was off.

The next day I received an email from Landlord2Landlord saying that I now have access to full credit reports.

Nice! Why was I so worried about this?

Now I just have to get myself some applicants…

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4 thoughts on “Now certified to view full credit reports on rental applicants

  1. This is a great resource. I’ve been renting properties out for the last few years. To this point, the most due diligence I’ve done is to call references, previous landlords and employers. I need to consider signing up for a service like the one you mentioned. Great blog! Keep it up.

  2. I’m checking out Land2Lord right now, you have to pay for each individual credit report right? It is not like a fixed fee for unlimited reports.

    Also I’m curious how you structured your company to rent out the property. Did you use an LLC taxed as a partnership? If not, do they just cut the check to you directly? Do you know if you could switch to an LLC at anytime?

    It would at least protect your personal assets in case someone decided to sue you.

    Do you lose the tax incentives when you use a company?

    Can you not use a company because you own it personally and the company does not?

  3. Hi Shane!

    I pay for each individual credit report — generally it’s only two or three each time I get a turnover, and I just eat the cost as part of doing business.

    I’m not currently an LLC, or any type of corporation. I own the duplex personally, and my tenants write their checks to me. I did get an umbrella policy to cover myself in case something should happen, or I get sued, etc.

    I haven’t looked into what it would take to “switch” to an LLC, but if I start owning more than one property, that’s definitely something I’d want to look into. With me living in the duplex, it seems to make the most sense tax-wise to own the building personally, as my primary residence, but if anyone knows differently, I’d love to hear about it!

  4. I use mysmartmove which is operated by TransUnion to screen all my prospective tenants. It is the best I have seen and so easy to use. The best part is the applicants pay the fee directly to TransUnion rather than to myself so there is no way they can expect me to give them a refund if they are rejected. But, if you wanted to pay for your applicants background check that is still possible as they offer you that option.

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