Proper tenant screening techniques are essential for British Columbia landlords. A credit report is the best tool to prevent renting to the wrong applicant. A tenant's credit history can alert landlords to potential problems and provide important information that an applicant might be trying to hide. Landlords have the legal right to request a credit report. Approval must be granted by the applicant. Obtaining a credit report in British Columbia is cost efficient compared to the expensive alternatives presented by a delinquent tenant.
Collect basic information from the rental application. This should include the applicant's name, former address and Social Insurance Number. Indicate on the application form that the tenant agrees to submit to a credit history check. This permission must be obtained before moving forward.
Should the applicant refuse permission for a credit check, consider the screening process a success and end communication with the individual. Honest tenants should not be bothered by a landlord's reasonable background investigation.
Arrange for a credit check using an online provider such as Equifax or TransUnion. These companies offer a single, basic credit report for around $20. By inputting information taken from the tenant's application, a landlord can receive a full credit score and history in a matter of minutes.
Open the final credit report, which can be received via download or email, usually in a pdf, for permanent storage. It is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that this information is secure and not made available to any person or business beyond the landlord-tenant relationship.
Examine the results. The credit report will indicate an applicant's financial and employment history and confirm personal identification. Records of any legal judgments, bankruptcies, collections, late payments and delinquent accounts occurring in the last seven years will be indicated.
Credit reports do not indicate pending court cases, eviction proceedings, arrests or criminal convictions. Information regarding due rent or late payments are only indicated where a previous landlord has reported the tenant to a credit agency.
- In BC, it is illegal under the Personal Information Protection Act to collect personal data without consent except for the purposes of an investigation or legal proceeding. For example, a landlord may ignore consent when investigating an apparent breach of lease.
- Benefits of ordering a credit check:
- determining if an applicant can afford to pay the rent
- verification of personal information
- applicant's payment habits
- fraud screening
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