Renting your first apartment is an exciting experience. However, many new renters aren't aware their credit score plays a big role in apartment hunting.
Here at Compten Management, we want to help renters understand what a credit check is and how it affects a rental application.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit risk. Credit scores range from 300 to 900. A good credit rating is anything between 750 and 900; an average credit score is anything between 600 and 750; and anything below 600 is considered bad credit.
Credit scores are determined by your actions. If you miss a loan payment or are late paying a bill, it's promptly reported and negatively affects your credit score.
Can I check my credit score?
Yes, you can receive a free personalized credit score report online from Credit Karma, or your financial institution can perform a credit check on your behalf.
Review your credit score report for errors. Errors in credit scores can be anything from a credit card or loan you thought you cancelled to a credit card you didn't realize you signed up for. Too much credit can lower your score, so cancel any credit cards or loans you don't plan to use.
What are landlords looking for with a credit check?
Landlords use your credit score to determine if you can afford the rent and if you can be trusted to pay it on time. Your property manager will need your SIN and date of birth to perform a credit check.
If you're serious about an apartment, speed along your application by printing a copy of your credit report and bringing it to your appointment. Not all landlords accept Credit Karma credit reports, so don't be alarmed if they insist on conducting their own check.
How can I improve my credit score?
If you find out your credit score isn't as good as you had hoped, don't worry, you can fix it. There are several ways to get your credit back on track including:
Remember to use a balance of debit, cash, and credit.
Pay your bills on time.
Pay off high-interest credit cards quickly.
Even if you don't like using credit, have one card and use it occasionally.
Eliminate credit card debt.