Background checks could ruin ability to rent

Posted at 7:27 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 20:27:35-04

Could something in a background check be keeping you from renting a home or apartment? It is possible. But, there are a few things that you can do to take action and prevent this problem from happening.

When you rent a home or apartment, chances are that a landlord will want to check your credit report, court actions related to housing and a criminal history to be sure that you will pay your rent on time and not cause trouble.

Sometimes, landlords or management companies will use a third-party service to provide this information. If you have bad credit, legal action brought against you for damages or not paying rent, or a criminal history your rental application could be turned down.

Sometimes, we know what will appear in a background check, and we may be able to provide additional details to explain or defend what might appear. However, there could be errors that you may not be aware of, and it is important to spot and correct these errors before you start an application process.

The best way to spot and correct errors is by ordering a copy of your credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus or from

Also, check Wisconsin Circuit Court Access or other databases that might have civil or criminal information about you. If you notice an error, take steps to get things corrected and keep documentation to prove that something is wrong or in the process of being corrected.

If you are denied a rental due to errors, ask for a copy of the report and do what you can to correct things. Also, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a discrimination complaint with HUD, the Federal Trade Commission or the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.