How to handle a credit freeze on a background check

Landlords should always run a background check on an applicant for a vacant rental unit. It’s one of the best ways to find out what kind of tenant they will be. Part of the background check includes a credit check.

However, more and more landlords are running into the situation where an applicant has a credit freeze on their background check.

If an applicant has frozen their credit reporting, it’s impossible for a landlord to get any information. Why would an applicant do this and what does it mean for landlords?

What to do if an applicant has to freeze their credit:

Why a Tenant Might Freeze Their Credit

Identity theft is growing more common every year and large data breaches seem more commonplace than ever. Scammers, thieves and no-good relatives may also try to steal someone’s identity. One of the ways people try to protect their credit is by enacting a freeze with a credit reporting company or third party company.

A freeze on the credit means that no activity is permitted without express permission from the person. Depending on the process used to freeze the credit reporting, nothing is released without special confirmation.

The applicant can make arrangements with the credit reporting companies to release certain information. This allows landlords to get the information they need to complete the application process.

How to get a new pin to access frozen credit

Here are some helpful links to get a pin to access frozen credit:

Can Freezing be an Excuse to Hide Poor Credit?

Since identity theft is a big issue over the last several years, many people are choosing to lock up their credit. However, many people may try to claim this new procedure as a way to avoid having a landlord look into their poor credit history. Applicants may claim their reporting is frozen to try to trick the landlord into renting to them despite bad credit.

Landlords should never rent to someone without getting a complete background check. It would be a mistake to make an exception because someone has frozen their credit reporting. Landlords need to ask the applicant to do what it takes to release the information for the rental application.

If the applicant claims they cannot, then something may be suspicious.

All in all, landlords should not jump to conclusions that an applicant is trying to get around a background check if they freeze the credit. However, landlords should follow through with the applicant to get the information they need. A legitimate credit freeze does give people the option to grant permission to access that info, including landlords.

Workaround on a Tenant Credit Freeze

We offer a SmartMove report that is tenant driven. This means the tenant applicant controls the process and decides who can view their report.

Since the tenant is involved it’s not a landlord directly accessing the background check. Instead, the tenant is sharing access.

This can be an easy solution if a tenant has frozen their credit.