What Does a Landlord Look For in a Credit Check?

credit check

What do landlords look for in your credit check? This is quite a common question from those out looking for an apartment to rent. When you go out to look for an apartment, the first thing most landlords want to see is your credit report. In addition to this, they might perform a basic tenant screening that would include asking you to fill an application. The main reason they want to see this is so they can gauge whether you will be able to pay your rent on time, every month.

Landlords don’t want to have to deal with your issues. If you can’t pay your rent, you are essentially blocking their source of income and no one likes that. A credit check is one way for a landlord to minimize his risk by checking on you. So, what exactly does your credit check tell the landlord?


If you have a history of moving around a lot, changing jobs often or even changing careers, this tells the landlord you are unstable and cannot be trusted to take your rent seriously. Of course, one or two changes don’t matter much and can possibly be explained easily. However, changing homes year after year shows the landlord you will probably leave their property too. No landlord wants to have to deal with the whole hassle of looking for new tenants and risking a bad tenant every year.

This also hints at your use of property. Most tenants who do not use their rented property responsibly, leave the rented apartment or home as soon as their agreement or lease expires. Landlords are uaully vary of such tenants.

History of Late Payments

A credit report that shows a history of late payments is an obvious indicator of your irresponsible attitude to your dues. Landlords can also get information about your rent paying history from your previous landlords. In the rental application you fill in, landlords will usually ask for all these details, phone numbers and addresses of previous landlords, employers and other details. Landlords do not want a tenant who is late in paying the rent.

Too Much Credit and Mortgages

If you have a lot of mortgage (student mortgage, car loans etc) this tells the landlord that you have probably chewed more than you can swallow. Because a potential landlord can ask you about your monthly income, they can easily find out if you have enough money left for rent after paying all mortgages and loans. If paying your rent really is within your income, this should not be a problem.

A credit check isn’t something to be scared of if you have been paying your bills on time and do not have a history of late payments etc.

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