Your Questions About Credit Reports For Renters

Chris asks…

What bank would you suggest for an 18 year old to build up their credit?

I’ve just turned 18 recently and I’m looking for a decent bank to start saving for my life & also build up my credit with.

John answers:

Since you are just now beginning to focus on your credit I’m assuming you have very thin credit history. A great way to build your credit history is to report certain payments to the credit agencies that most people fail to report. A prime example is rent. If you are currently renting, or plan to rent in the future, make sure you report your rent payments so they can be included on future credit reports.

Check this site out called Rental Kharma, they are the only service I know of that doesn’t charge renters. Also I would recommend opening up an account with a local bank, its going to be awhile till you can get a credit card though. Good luck

Paul asks…

Can a renter make a claim on their land lords homeowners insurance?

My apartement was broken into last week, and I am out about 4000.00 dollars. I have no renters insurance. But, does anyone know if I can make a claim on my landlords homeowners insurance? Has anyone actually done this before? Thank you.

John answers:

Sorry – you generally need to have renters insurance to have your stuff covered. However, if you purchased any of this with a major credit card, you may be able to file a claim under their purchase protection programs. Call up the 800 number on the back of your cards and ask them to send you the brochure that explains your card’s protections and benefits.

If there was something negligent about the property’s security (such as the landlord ignored a request you made a month ago to have locks repaired) then there is a slight chance you could make a claim against their liability insurance. But, it is a tough case to prove.

If that is a dead end, then at least you can deduct some of this from your income taxes as a casualty loss. Get a police report documenting the theft to help back you up.

Good luck. Next time, buy the renters insurance. It only costs about $50 a year to insure more than $5,000 worth of contents.

Laura asks…

What is the best online credit check for landlords?

I would like to check the credit score and background history of a potential renter. I only have one property.

John answers:

As an individual, you are not privy to a tenant’s credit reports since you do not subscribe to the credit bureaus.

You could go through a management company that can do extensive background and/or credit checks.

Carol asks…

What are good ways to build credit a little faster?

Im currently paying my cell phone bill, Internet and Netflix, lol. But I really want to get better points so I can have better luck finding an apartment or so that I can qualify for a credit card

John answers:

Note: To get an apartment you do not need credit.
If that were true, half the first time renters would be out on the street.
All you need is a job that can sustain the rent easily.
And savings for the deposits, etc.

Note that those things you mentioned do not build credit.
They do not report your payments to the credit bureaus. No credit.

Credit cards? Put that goal aside until you get savings in place.
Every adult should have 5 months of income in savings in case they lose their job in this freaking economy. It can take that long to find a good job.

With savings, about $3,000, you could get a secured loan.
That is a fast way to develop credit. (a bit over a year).

Again, landlords do not require credit.
They just don’t want to see BAD credit.

Daniel asks…

Renting an Apartment with a 607 Credit Score?

Should I pass the credit check with a 607 credit score? Most of the bad on my credit report is medical expenses. I do owe tmobile and verizon but not very much. I live in Md and I am trying to be approved for an apartment for the first time on my own.

John answers:

Generally people that have higher FICO scores are not renters, but are buying. You should not have any problem renting a place if you can show enough income.

A buyer with a 620 FICO score can easily get an FHA loan with only 3.5% as a down payment.

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