The residential living divide: You buy a home and always pay your mortgage on time….your credit score typically benefits. If you rent a home and pay your rent on time every month, you get no boost to your score. Many landlords aren’t set up or approved to report rent payments to the national credit bureaus. Because of this, their tenants’ credit scores often suffer as a direct result. Many property management companies on the other hand are set up to receive rent payments electronically and because of this, some rental payments get reported to the bureaus depending on the electronic payment system.
You probably know folks like these — sons, daughters, neighbors, friends. Or you may be a renter effected by the system yourself. A perfect rental payment history that creditors will never see when they pull your credit. Think of it this way and the great divide gets intensely personal.
RentTrack, says it already has coverage with many property management companies and expects to be reporting rent payments for more than 1 million tenants within the year. Two others, ClearNow Inc. and PayYourRent, also report to one of the national bureaus, Experian, which includes the data in consumer credit files. RentTrack reports to Experian and TransUnion.
Why does this matter? RentTrack examined a sample of the tenants in its database and found that 100% of renters who previously were rated as “unscoreable”, (there wasn’t enough information in their credit files to evaluate), became scoreable once they had two months to six months of rental payments reported to the credit bureaus.
Experian, the first major credit bureau to begin integrating rental payment records into credit files, completed a major study recently. Using a sample of 20,000 tenants Experian found that 100% of unscoreable tenants became scoreable. Among tenants who had scores before the start of the research, 75% saw increases after the addition of positive rental information. For many tenants, their steady and on time rent payments may be the only major positive thing in their credit report, so including them can be crucial when lenders pull their scores.
Bottom line is that tenants often would score higher if rent payments were reported to the national credit bureaus. Many deserve higher credit scores but don’t get them. Is this something difficult or complicated? Not really. You, your landlord or property manager can go to one of the three companies’ websites (RentTrack.com, ClearNow.com and PayYourRent.com), check out the procedures and request coverage. Costs to tenants are either minimal or zero, and the benefits to the landlord or property manager of having tenants pay rents electronically appear to be desirable and the way of the future!