Easy Tenant Credit Checks for Landlords

Written on February 18, 2015 by , updated on July 24, 2017

credit-reports-fast-easyCozy, the company behind Landlordology, just made it much easier for landlords to run credit checks on prospective tenants.

With Cozy, you can now:

  1. Require credit reports as part of your online rental application;
  2. Request a credit report with only an applicant’s email address – making it easy to perform a credit check when using your own rental application.

With this update, not only are Cozy’s core services free, but now they can be used independently of each other.

It’s part of our commitment to provide you with the best tools and resources for managing rental properties.

We’re reinventing renting, one step at a time.

We’re Solving Real Problems


Since the beginning, Cozy has been obsessed with creating the most secure credit report on the planet.

Generally, increased security does not equate to being easy (just think of airport security).

For years, requesting a tenant credit check has been like going through airport security, a bit of a nightmare.

Using Cozy to get a credit report is like getting to skip the airport security lines without actually sacrificing security.

Renters Coming Out of the Woodwork

Though there is a typical rental lifecycle, we (landlords) don’t always find renters at the beginning of each cycle. Sometimes they are friends and family (despite the baggage), and sometimes they are subletters or surprise long-term guests.

In other situations, you might inherit renters with a recently acquired property, and though you are collecting rent from them, you have no idea if they are financially stable.

Related: How to Handle Rogue Tenants and Long-Term Guests

Paper Applications still Prevalent

Many landlords have not adopted online rental applications, and prefer to handle all aspects of the rental business offline.

Unfortunately, even if you still use an abacus to track your rent payments, you can’t pull a credit report on your own. You need help.

I’m not judging you if you still use paper applications. I get it. Your business is your business, and you’re free to run it however you want. Technology generally helps make us more productive, but it’s not for everyone.

The Need for Easy Credit Reports

For many landlords, running a tenant credit check is the only step in the screening process that they can’t do themselves. The reality is that sometimes you just need a simple, easy way to run a credit check on a tenant.

There are a bunch of options for checking tenant credit, but most are time-consuming and somewhat expensive. 

Existing Options, Less than Ideal

When Cozy made credit reports free for landlords, it set a new standard in the industry.

If you aren’t currently using Cozy for credit checks, you probably have to send (email or fax) a signed paper application to a screening company for processing. This is both inconvenient and a security risk.

Alternatively, you could ask the tenant to sign up with another third-party online tool that they may never use again, like TransUnion’s SmartMove.

Even if your rental management software makes it easy to request a report, it’s probably a hard inquiry thereby negatively affecting the applicant’s credit score. If you’re running hard inquiries, you are essentially giving applicants a reason NOT to apply with you.

You’re basically saying, “thanks for applying, now I’m going to penalize you.

And while using an online application is not difficult, it is unfavorably redundant if the landlord already has a completed paper application in hand. Simply put, it’s not practical to ask the applicant to fill out a second application.

Faster, Easier Credit Reports

Not only can you perform a tenant credit check with only an email address via Cozy, the reports are easily integrated with online rent payments.

So even if you don’t use Cozy for online applications, or prefer to use your own application template (online or paper), you’ll still be able to run a soft credit inquiry quickly and easily, then transition the tenant straight into free online rent payments.

Because it’s a soft inquiry, you won’t damage your applicant’s credit (unlike most other apartment complexes out there), and they will be thankful that they don’t have to sign up for another with a third-party site. They’ll be able to access their credit report from within the same Cozy account they’ll be able to use to pay rent online – which keeps everything centralized and accessible.

If you reject their application based on credit, the applicant will already have access to their report within Cozy, which satisfies the federal requirement that landlord’s share with rejected applicants the credit report that was relied upon to deny an application.


Free for Landlords

As always, Cozy Credit Reports are free for landlords and only cost the tenant $24.99 per inquiry. Cozy never reveals the applicant’s Social Security number or any other sensitive data. The applicant only provides their sensitive data to Experian, who then provides the non-sensitive report to Cozy.

If you’re ready to use Cozy’s online rental application, we’ve seamlessly integrated the credit reports into the rental application.

You can even require that every applicant submits a credit report with their application, so you’ll have a more complete picture of the tenant when you first review it.

I’ve been requiring a tenant credit check with all my online applications and it has sped up my tenant screening process significantly.

Checking your tenant’s credit score has never been easier.

Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did. Check Tenant Credit through Cozy.

photo credit: Kathy is very suspect via (license)
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