How does renting affect your credit score? 

In 2023, the real estate market saw a surge in first-time homebuyers. However, due to rising mortgage rates, more than 17 million millennials and 4.5 million Gen Z’ers are still renting. 

Although there are benefits to renting, there are some advantages to home ownership that they are missing out on. 

Some issues are: 

  • Not all landlords report rental payments to credit bureaus. If your landlord does not report, your on-time rent payments won’t directly affect your credit score.
  • Late or missed rent payments can harm your credit score if they lead to collections or eviction. These negative marks can significantly impact your creditworthiness.
  • Rent is a significant monthly expense, and if you struggle to pay it on time, it may impact your ability to manage other debts like credit cards, which can indirectly affect your credit score.
  • When lenders evaluate your creditworthiness, they consider your debt-to-income ratio. High rental costs, relative to your income, can impact this ratio and affect your ability to qualify for additional credit.
  • When you apply for a rental property, landlords may conduct a credit check, resulting in a hard inquiry on your credit report. While a single inquiry has a minimal impact, multiple inquiries in a short period can lower your credit score temporarily.

One particular of the biggest disadvantages is that renters relinquish the opportunity to boost their credit scores by making timely mortgage payments. 

But is this still the case? With rents increasing at a faster rate than home prices, shouldn’t renters have a similar opportunity? This question is gaining attention, though it’s not widely known and not always straightforward to accomplish.

The biggest challenge lies in the fact that renters currently can’t directly submit their rental payments to credit bureaus. Furthermore, some landlords and property managers do not report rent payments to these bureaus.

However, renters have options to explore various free and paid services that can report their rent payments to credit bureaus on their behalf. 

Some of the free services include Self, which reports to all three major bureaus, and Pinata, which primarily reports to TransUnion but is accessible to landlords for reporting to all three bureaus. PayYourRent is another free option for tenants, reporting to all three bureaus, but it may deter some landlords due to associated fees.

Paid rental payment credit reporting services like Boom Pay, RentReporters, and Rental Kharma are also available. Boom Pay, in particular, stands out because, for a small additional fee, it can capture and report up to 24 months of previous payments before enrollment. Rental Kharma, on the other hand, exclusively reports to TransUnion and Equifax. 


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