Short Answer: Most online credit checks can provide immediate results. But, if a credit check is required for an apartment, it may take several days for the landlord to get back to you with approval or denial. There are several tenant screening services landlords can use to check the credit of prospective tenants, including services from major credit bureaus like Equifax and Experian. For more information on how long a credit check takes, see below.
How Long Does a Credit Check Take? For an Apartment?
Basic online credit check results are often available immediately. You can request a credit check from one of the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — or you can get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you are applying for an apartment and the landlord requires a credit check, the wait time will depend on which credit check service the landlord uses and how quickly he or she gets back to you.
Representatives for Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion confirmed that online credit checks and tenant screening services are available — often with immediate results — and said that landlords can sign up for their services online. For additional information or a more detailed report, it could take up to several days.
If the landlord decides to do his or her own research into your credit history, such as calling your current or former landlord, this process can take up to several days as well.
Keep in mind, landlords are legally allowed to charge prospective renters a credit check fee of up to $50 in most states if they conduct a credit check for you. If you are responsible for entering your own information to generate an online credit report, you may be responsible for any fees associated with the service.
Prospective Tenant Information
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act guidelines, before requesting a credit check, landlords must have prospective tenants sign an authorization form stating that they will allow a credit check.
To run a credit check, the landlord will ask for your full legal name, current address, and Social Security number. Credit check forms may also ask for your past addresses, date of birth, current and past employers, and current and former landlords.
Tenant Screening Services
Information and fees for tenant screening services vary as follows:
- Equifax: Equifax has a variety of reports available to landlords, including basic credit checks, criminal searches, and rental history verification. Contact Equifax for specific pricing information. To use Equifax tenant screening services you must provide your license or certification for property management.
- Experian: The landlord initiates the credit check by contacting Experian with the prospective tenant’s name and email, then the tenant adds his or her information after being contacted by Experian. Experian charges each applicant $14.95 for a credit check and then gives the landlord viewing access for the report.
- MyRental: Once the landlord has created a free user account and gathered the information from a prospective tenant, he or she is able to purchase a single basic report for $19.99 or more detailed report for an additional fee.
- RentPrep: A landlord can set up a free account, collect prospective tenant information, and choose the type of report he or she needs. A basic credit check is $18.95 per applicant.
- TransUnion SmartMove: Landlords can sign up for this service and either the landlord or the tenant can pay for the credit check. The landlord will need to log in to initiate the report and then the tenant logs in to enter his or her personal information. A basic report is about $25 per applicant.
- TurboTenant: The landlord creates a free account, then an applicant completes the online rental application. The basic report costs $35 to $45 for each prospective tenant.