Friday, July 10, 2015

Easy Guide To Read A Credit Report

Personal Information

This shows where a person lived when they applied for credit.  This will not show everywhere a person has lived.
Employment Information
This shows where a person worked when they applied for credit. This will not show everywhere a person has lived.
Report Summary
This area of the report shows the number of 30, 60, and 90 day late payments a person has had.  This section also shows credit limits and the amount of debt a person has.
This is where you see a person’s credit score.  This shows what type of a credit risk a person poses to a potential creditor.  Here is a simple break down:
550 and below is poor
600 to 650 is fair
651 to 700 is good
701 to 750 is great
750 plus is excellent
This section shows which accounts have gone to collections.   You can view the amount and if they have been satisfied.
Public Records
This area shows bankruptcies, liens, judgments, and evictions.
Trade Lines
This gives a detailed account of extended credit.
This lists out inquiries into a person’s credit.
If you need to screen another tenant, click here

Illegal Discrimination Quiz

Take this short illegal discrimination quiz.  See if you are inadvertently discriminating.

Have you ever done the following?
  1. Told an applicant there is not an opening because you did not want to rent to that person, when there really is an opening.
  2. Advertised in such a manner that indicates a preference base on group characteristics, such as skin color or sex.
  3. Set restrictive standards for certain applicants and not others, such as higher income.
  4. Refusing to reasonably accommodate the needs of disabled clients, such as hearing dog, sight dog, or other service animals
  5. Had different sets of late payment penalties for different tenants.
The Fair Housing Acts prohibit landlords from taking any of the above actions based on race, religion, or any other protected category:

Consistently using a standard application can protect you from costly lawsuits.

Using Renting Authority’s rental application and tenant screening process will help you avoid discrimination lawsuits.  They are a great tool that you now have access to.

Troy Boldt

Is the lease agreement really that important?

Yes, the rental lease agreement is the single most important legal document you have to protect yourself and the tenant.  If it’s not in writing, it just doesn’t count.  A handshake is difficult to enforce.

I get calls daily from landlords telling me of issues with their tenants.  They say the tenant is doing this or that, and want to know if it’s grounds for eviction.  I always ask them is that issue covered in your lease agreement.
Your lease should spell out terms and conditions clearly for both parties to understand.
Let me show you some of the must have points in your rental lease agreement. 
  1. Abandonment: Landlord remedies when Tenant abandons the premises.
  2. Alterations & Repairs: Rules governing Tenant alteration of the premises.
  3. Assignment and Sub-letting: Terms of leases often apply to the sub-lessees.
  4. Default / Breach: Remedies for tenant breach, including failure to pay rent.
  5. Inspection & Landlord Access: When, and how, landlords may enter the premises.
  6. Lawful Use of Premises: Tenant’s right to possession and its limits.
  7. Lead Paint Disclosures (42 U.S.C. § 4852d) Each state-specific residential lease agreement also contains federal lead hazard disclosure statements as required by 42 U.S.C. § 4852d. For a free EPA pamphlet, please visit
  8. Maintenance: Who is responsible and how maintenance is defined.
  9. Parking: Included or not?
  10. Rent & Late Fees: When, and how, to collect late fees.
  11. Security Deposit: Legal maximums and number of days to return to Tenant.
  12. Tenant Hold Over: Landlord remedies for unlawful retainer.
  13. Termination of Tenancy: Notice required varies from state to state.
  14. Utilities: Who must pay to keep the lights on?
  15. Surrender of Premises: How and when Tenants give up occupancy.
Once difficult, now easy. Create your own rental lease agreement
It’s easy to create your own rental lease agreement with Renting Authority. 
Click the link below and follow the simple step by step process. It is stored online for future reference and you can edit it
If you need help, you can always call or use the online chat line.  I want to show you how easy it is to create a customized lease.  If you will let me.
Click here to start the process
View a sample lease at under Rule Number 4
Here are a few of the additional features of Renting Authority’s rental lease agreement
  1.  Rent/lease apartments, condos, basements, houses, etc.
  2.  Select various fixed and periodic terms
  3.  Choose number of tenants
  4.  Flexibility with utilities, pets, insurance, parking, rent increases, signing incentives, rent to own, maintenance, and tenant improvements
To your success,
Troy Boldt

How To Email A Rental Application

We have made the procces of emailing a rental application very simple.  You don’t need to cut and copy and attach.

Here is what you do need to do.
Need to registered. (registration is free and simple) If you are not a registered member, go to and click on Free Rental Application (under Rule 1).  In the white box click on email rental application.  Follow the step by step instructions to register and customize your rental application.
Already registered: If you are a member, go to and log in.  Click on email application under the heading Screen Applicant.
Fill in the applicants email address, Click send.  You and the applicant both receive a copy of the email.
The applicant clicks on a link inside the email and fills out the application.  The applicant also pays a $24.95 processing fee which covers your costs of running a background and credit check.
The Results:  You receive a rental application, background and credit reports on an applicant.  The reports and application are stored for you online at   You can review them and then accept or deny the applicant.
Emailing the application really is simple.  If you ever need any assistance, call or get our online support.

Applicant Warning Signs

This week I had some great conversations with many of you.  A couple of issues were brought up that you should all know about.

Issue #1
The applicant doesn’t want me to run his credit because he doesn’t want his credit score affected. What should I do?
When you as a landlord check a person’s credit, it is called a soft hit on their credit.  This means it will only stay on their credit report for 2 to 3 months.  Their credit score will not be affected long term when you check their credit.
I have found often that a person who does not want you to check their credit has credit issues that they are hiding from.  You need to establish your own rule that you check everyone’s credit. 
Another thing to consider is if an applicant is trying to dictate how you run your business now, they will continue to cause you issues in the future.

Issue #2

My tenant wants to pay cash.  What should I do?Cash is king, but not in the landlord business.  This is big red flag. Why? People often want to pay cash because they do not have a checking account and they have money gotten from illegal means.  Drug dealers are some of the biggest offenders of this.  Now this does not mean that everyone who wants to pay with cash is doing something illegal nor is a drug dealer.  It is better to be safe that sorry.
Last week I received an email from a landlord who rented to a person who seemed to be a great applicant and wanted to only pay in cash.  The tenant paid the deposit and first month’s rent in cash.  That was all he ever paid.  The landlord is now going through the eviction process.

In summary, screen your applicants and don’t take cash.

Screen Applicants like a Crime Scene Investigator

You are so excited, someone finally filled out a rental application.  You look at the credit report and the credit is score is between 540 and 580.  Your hopes drop.  They seem like nice people who have had a bit of bad luck and need a second chance.  Well, if that sounds familiar, you need to put on your detective hat, gloves, grab your blue light and start investigating.

Let’s investigate three common factors that affect a person’s credit.  I’ll set the crime scene (credit factors), give some clues and help you draw conclusions.
1.         Crimes Scene: Credit cardsClues:  If a person does not have any open credit lines within the past 6 months, the credit bureaus will not give a score.  If a person’s credit card carries a balance of 50% or more than the card’s limit, the score can go down by as much as 40 points.
I’ve unknowingly done that and my credit dropped drastically.  I paid the card off and my credit shot up. 
2.Some people are very responsible paying their bills, have little to no lates but still have a low credit score.  High credit card balances is often the reason.
A person with a lot of open credit cards also can negatively affect his or hers credit.  Keep the number of credit cards you use to a minimal.  Too much open credit is viewed negatively, because a person can get into debt very quickly.

:  Verify the applicant has enough income to cover all of their bills and rent.  Ask to see a pay stub, call and talk with their employers.  Renting Authority can call and verify employment if you don’t want to hassle with it.
3.     Crime Scene: Medical IssuesClues:  Medical bills can become uncontrollable for most anyone.  Even if you have good insurance, some treatments and emergencies can make most people go broke.  I have a brother who lost two sons in the past 14 month to cancer.  Beside the grief from losing two children, the bills are outrageous.

:  Is this still a credit worthy person to rent to?
Look at the dates on the credit report where medical collections show.  Most medical issues I have seen cover a 6 month to 2 yr time period.  You may notice there are lots of lates in this same time period.  If after this time period you do not see lates, other collections, then the person is onto credit recovery.  This may be a good tenant.

3.         Crimes Scene: 
 Charge offs, Bankruptciesand LiensClues:  Public record information gives a lot of clues about a person’s credit worthiness.  I think we all agree that charge offs, bankruptcies, foreclosures and liens are bad.  None of us want them.  However, (and this is a big however), sometimes they really help a person’s credit in the long run.

Charge offs are classified as satisfied and or open.  If it is satisfied, it means that a person paid off the debt even after a business wrote it off.  A person who satisfies a charge off shows character.  This is a person who cares about paying of their obligations. They are more likely to pay their rent. The same is true for liens.

 can help a person get out from under a financially difficult and oppressive situation.   Bankruptcies definitely hurt a person’s credit.  And it shows up for 7 yrs.
Clues:  The good in bankruptcies is it gives a person a second chance to rebuild their credit.  Look at the date of the bankruptcy and see if there have been other negative credit issues after that date.
Conclusion:  If everything is positive after the bankruptcy, the person is probably a good risk.  I have seen credit scores in the high 600s and low 700s with a bankruptcy in the past 3 yrs.
A good forensic investigation yields good tenants.  If you need help understanding a person’s credit, please call or write.  I am always glad to help.