Some landlords might ask for a credit report to help them evaluate you as a potential tenant. This type of report can often be obtained using only a person’s full name and date of birth, but sometimes a landlord may require a Social Insurance Number (SIN) – a sensitive piece of personal information that should generally be kept private. To avoid having to provide your SIN when searching for housing, you can order a free credit report on yourself and have copies ready for potential landlords. This will not only keep your SIN protected, but also save your landlord time and demonstrate your preparedness.
Overcoming Poor Credit History
If you are concerned about poor credit history, you may have to show a potential landlord that it will not interfere with your ability to pay rent going forward. Here are some basic strategies to help you overcome poor credit history and convince a landlord to accept you as a tenant:
- Be honest. If a potential landlord is requiring a credit report, consider letting them know about your issues before they discover them on their own. This will demonstrate your honesty and allow you to provide some context to the situation.
- Explain your situation. The landlord may be more likely to accept you as a tenant if you can explain how you arrived at your current situation. For example, if you experienced an injury that put you out of work, or had to take care of a sick family member for an extended period, your credit history may speak more to those unfortunate past circumstances than an inability to manage your money in the future.
- Prove financial security. Show the landlord that your current situation will allow you to consistently pay your full rent on time. Proof of your financial security may include pay stubs, a letter of employment, or confirmation of government benefits.
- Prove reliability. Show the landlord that you can be trusted to pay your rent by providing positive examples of past behaviour. References from previous landlords stating that you always paid rent on time, a letter from your current employer indicating your ability to meet deadlines, and statements from other people in your life who have experienced your reliability are all good examples.