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How to Fix Inaccurate Information on a Credit Report

How to Fix Inaccurate Information on a Credit Report

How to Fix Inaccurate Information on a Credit Report

Being in the credit reporting business for years, we’re constantly asked how to remove or update information on a credit report that is driving down an individual’s credit score. As a property manager who screens tenant credit reports, you probably get asked that as well. Your applicants have likely said, “My score should be higher than that. That information should have been removed! What do I do?”

Here we’ve outlined the steps a consumer should take in disputing information on their credit report which you can share with your applicants.

Most Credit bureaus have a similar 4-step process to facilitate dispute investigations so that resolutions are reached. Here’s how the process works:

Step 1:  The consumer identifies inaccurate information on their most recent credit report.

Step 2:  The consumer selects and completes the most convenient method (online, phone or mail) for them to contact the credit bureau to initiate a dispute investigation.

Step 3:  The credit bureau contacts the data provider that reported the information and asks the data provider to verify the information in question. The source might have up to 45 days to verify whether the information is correct.

Step 4:  The credit bureau documents the outcome of the investigation and makes any necessary changes to the consumer’s credit report.  The credit bureau will notify the consumer of the outcome of their dispute approximately three to five business days after the investigation is complete. If the dispute was initiated online, they will notify the consumer via e-mail and they can view the results of the investigation immediately.

If a consumer submits more than one dispute at the same time, the credit bureau will investigate all of the records in question during the same time period. At the conclusion of the investigation, the consumer will receive a credit report reflecting all of the results.

If the consumer disagrees with the results of an investigation of their credit report, they have the right to add a 100-word consumer statement to their report that explains their side of the situation. The credit bureau’s customer service representatives are available to assist the consumer in writing their statement. Creditors or lenders may review the consumer statement and take it into consideration when making their credit decisions. The statement remains on the credit report until the consumer requests that it be removed.

The credit bureaus’ goal is to report the most accurate information possible. Consumers are encouraged to always use this dispute process to ensure their information is provided correctly to creditors.

Bureau contact information:

Trans Union Consumer Disputes      P. O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022     Phone 800-916-8800 https://dispute.transunion.com/dp/dispute/landingPage.jsp

Experian Consumer Disputes         P.O. Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013          Phone  888-397-3742 http://www.experian.com/disputes/

Equifax Consumer Disputes     P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374      Phone  800-685-1111 https://help.equifax.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/32/~/correcting-errors-on-your-credit-file

Is making better tenant screening decisions one of your resolutions? It should be…

Is making better tenant screening decisions one of your 2011 resolutions

Is making better tenant screening decisions one of your 2016 resolutions?

Are you a busy property management company with multiple property managers or a busy landlord managing multiple properties?  Why not use our east to use Tenant Credit Report Card with a built in Report Card grading scale? This Tenant Credit Report option does not require a physical site inspection or site inspection fee and can be ordered the same day, usually within the hour.

The Tenant Credit Report Card is a simple, powerful recommendation tool for both property managers and landlords. The Tenant Credit Report Card can help improve decision turnaround time, reduce delinquency rates, and increase bottom line margins.

You’ll receive the applicant’s:

  • Credit Grade based on their FICO Credit Score
  • Payment Delinquency Rate
  • Bankruptcies, Liens and Judgments
  • Collection Account Indicator
  • SSN Validation
  • Previous Address Information

 

Tenant Credit Report Card $10.95
View Sample Tenant Credit Report Card

Sign up for Tenant Screening Now!

Accessing Tenant Credit Reports

Accessing Tenant Credit Reports

Accessing Tenant Credit Reports

Accessing Tenant Credit Reports

Nowadays many landlords will check the tenant credit report before agreeing to rent to someone. This is because this practice lowers the risk of them renting to someone who has a high debt to income ratio, has past collections, or has an extensive history of late payments. Learn how checking the financial history of a rental applicant can alert you to the potential problems of a future tenant.

Before the Credit Check

Before you can check a potential renter’s credit report, you will need to ask them to complete an application. There should be a space on the application where the potential renter puts in their Social Security number, current address, full name and date of birth. The Social Security Number must match the name on file at the credit bureaus for a credit report to be returned.

Even if you already have a person’s Social Security, you still will not be able to run a credit check without the rental applicant’s permission. The two ways that you can do this is to either put in a permission clause somewhere in the rental application, or to provide a separate form for this purpose. Whichever option you choose, you will need a signature from the applicant that expressly allows you to check their financial history.

Defraying the Costs of Credit Checks

Performing a credit check for an applicant is not free. However, you could pass the cost of the tenant credit report onto the rental applicant. You will need to know which type of credit report you will need. At this time, landlords can order a credit report through Smart Move and receive the full credit report with FICO score (you and the potential renter have to have an email account and this does require action on the renter’s side), or you will need to choose a tenant screening service such as StarPoint Tenant Screening. The benefits of choosing a tenant screening service includes free membership, you only pay for the reports you order and you can order 24/7 tenant screening.

While performing credit checks on potential renters are a good way to protect yourself against people who can’t or won’t meet their financial responsibilities, a bad financial report doesn’t say everything about a person. Good and responsible people go through rough patches all the time. Use the combination of a credit report and score, current ability to pay the rent (such as a new job), and other screening reports such as a criminal background check or eviction search to discern whether a person will be a great tenant for your property.

 

 

 

The Financial Perks of Being a Landlord

The Financial Perks of Being a Landlord

The Financial Perks of Being a Landlord

Being in the property management or landlord industry has many financial benefits to it as well as a ton of social benefits. Landlords get to continuously meet new people and form meaningful relationships and long-term tenants. They can network with their tenants and find additional people who will rent units from them. The following are some of the financial benefits that such people receive from the property management businesses:

Steady Income

The biggest perk that people get from jobs in property management field is the steady income that it provides. Landlords can sometimes purchase foreclosure properties and then make a heap of money off them in monthly rental income. Rental properties are like a gift that keeps on giving. A landlord can earn thousands of dollars a month if he or she owns several properties.
Tax Deductions

Tax deductions are available to persons who own rental or investment properties. An individual can receive a tax break for any property tax interest that he or she has to pay for a home that is being used for rent. Landlords can take as many as 10 deductions for the properties that they own. They can take deductions for any repairs that they made on a home at any point during the year. They can take deductions for home office expenses that they put forth throughout the year. They can deduct any fees that they spend on legal services throughout the year, as well. Insurance premiums are another deduction that a person may take as well as deductions for any thefts or casualties that one may suffer.
Investment Opportunities

If the property manager or landlord keeps the rental property in excellent condition, he or she can then resell it to someone and get back nearly the same amount of the purchase price.

Landlords can most likely receive loans and cash advances because they can prove the income that they can generate each month. They screen tenants so that they can be absolutely sure when they tell people that they have a certain amount of income. Lenders like to see stable income so that know that they will receive their proceeds back along with any fees that they charged the borrower. Property management is an excellent field to work in.

 

Pro, Cons and Tips to Become a Successful Landlord

Pros, Cons and Tips to be a Successful Landlord

Pros, Cons and Tips to be a Successful Landlord

Pro, Cons and Tips to Become a Successful Landlord

Today’s real estate market is encouraging many people to consider the opportunity of becoming a landlord. Owning real estate rental property is an exceptional way of earning passive income throughout the entire year. Home prices and interest rates are extremely low. This presents one with a golden chance to become a successful landlord.

Running a rental property business is not as difficult as you may believe. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of being a landlord. Taking heed to these tips can help you generate monthly passive income from your rental property.

Pros

The Tenant Will Pay Your Mortgage

Your outstanding loan balance will decrease over time. This will help you accumulate equity in your property. You will be in position to make more money when you decide to sell your property.

Tax Breaks

Renting allows you to take advantage of tax deductions for depreciation and interest expense. This will help you avoid paying a hefty capital gains tax on your profit when you decide to sell.

Inflation

Inflation will work for you. You can increase your rental rates when inflation rises. Your monthly cash flow will increase while your mortgage remains fixed.

Dependable Monthly Income

You can earn dependable monthly income as a landlord. Your monthly income may be small at first, but it will increase over time.

Not Demanding

Owning rental property will not consume too much of your time. You can sit back and collect your monthly checks after completing the upfront work. Finding the ideal tenant is the key to earning consistent cash flow.

Cons

Becoming a landlord will expose you to some risks. For example, you may have heard stories about tenants not paying their rent. Let’s examine the cons of being a landlord.

Can’t Find a Tenant

This is a big concern for many prospective landlords. You can find a tenant if you are renting a decent piece of property at a reasonable rate.

Selecting the Wrong Tenant

This is probably your biggest risk. Selecting the wrong tenant can lead to late rental payments and damaged property. You should do a criminal background check and a credit check on each prospective tenant. Tenant screening will protect your investment.

Unexpected Expenses

You should be prepared to cover periodic repairs on your rental property. You should set up a reserve fund from the monthly cash flow of your property. This will help you cover repair costs.

This is the perfect time to own rental property. Following the advice in this article can help you run a rental real estate business like a true professional.

Why Credit Scores Fluctuate During the Year

Why Credit Scores Fluctuate During the Year

Why Credit Scores Fluctuate During the Year

Many people who decide to purchase a vehicle or property find out that their credit score is more important than they think. A lot of people wonder why their credit scores tend to fluctuate throughout the year. There is no single reason for this, but it could be due to a number of different variables. Credit reporting agencies analyze ridiculous amounts of consumer trends to determine whether issuing a loan is a good idea.

The first thing to consider is the fact that there are three different credit reporting agencies. Each of these agencies can demonstrate different fluctuations. You may have an unpaid medical bill. The bill gets sent to collections. Collections reports to one or two of the agencies. Your Experian credit score may now seem to randomly fluctuate because of this.

Many people also don’t realize that pulling credit often drops a credit score a few points. This seems like a strange idea. You may get approved for a credit card or auto loan, but your credit still drops three points. The real reason for this is a bit more complicated. Many people believe that it is simply because these agencies know people that constantly inquire for credit are a greater risk.

The biggest reason that credit scores fluctuate is usually because of credit card debt. Credit card debt decreases over time because the debt is paid over time. You may see a sharp drop in your credit score because you spent $300 on your credit card one day. You may see it gradually scale upward over time as you inevitably pay the debt off. Defaulting on your payments is the best way to let the credit reporting agency know that you are a risk. One way to reduce penalties from using credit cards is to pay off the debt. Another way requires a bit of rigging. It’s thought that you can open multiple accounts with high credit limits. Your credit limit is compared against your credit spending. It’s important to note that having an extremely high credit score usually isn’t more beneficial than having a good credit score.

Many people don’t realize that credit scores only work in theory. There is no way for a bank to ever know if someone is going to default on a loan. Banks have to make their best judgement calls with the knowledge provided.

 

Why Do I Have Different Credit Scores?

What does the Credit Score really mean

Why do I have Different Credit Scores?

Why Do I Have Different Credit Scores?

If you have rented an apartment recently, you probably aren’t surprised to learn that the property management company or landlord is going to pull a credit report. Almost anywhere you turn, someone will be pulling credit information on you to determine if you’re  risk. That’s why, it’s important for you understand the basics about credit scores and credit reports.

Credit Bureaus

The three largest credit bureaus are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. All three bureaus collect credit information, credit histories and tabulate a credit score (FICO score). Landlords, banks, credit unions, auto insurance companies, utilities and a variety of other companies can use credit bureaus as a resource to pull a credit score or tenant credit report.

It’s not unusual for all bureaus to have different credit scores for one individual because of a variety of reasons:

• Lenders and creditors may only report to one bureau or all three credit bureaus, which means a score could be very different at each bureau.

• Each bureau has its own scoring model for determining scores.

• Credit bureaus receive credit information updates daily. Therefore, credit scores may change from day to day.

Credit Scores

Credit scores on individuals are derived from:

• The amount you owe

• New credit accounts

• Payment histories

• Length of your credit history

• Varieties of credit currently used

Landlords

Landlords will run a tenant credit report to check your financial stability, whether you pay bills responsibly and would be a good candidate as a tenant. Credit reports might give them insight into:

• Bill paying habits

• Debts

• Bankruptcy, Liens and Judgements

Renters

It’s very important to pay your bills on time and maintain a good credit score, so you’ll have good credit when applying for rental property, loans, credit cards, or other types of financing.

3 Ways to Protect Against ID Theft During a Move

3 Ways to Protect Against ID Theft During a Move

3 Ways to Protect Against ID Theft During a Move

You have a lot of things to worry about during a move, but one thing that you shouldn’t have to worry about is identity theft. Unfortunately, due to allowing people into your home, such as movers or people who you know who are going to be helping you, you could be put at an added risk of ID theft. You also have to worry about your documents becoming compromised before, during and after your move. Luckily, following these three steps can help you keep yourself safe from ID theft.

  1. Shred Unnecessary Documents

First of all, you might be thinking about getting rid of unnecessary documents during your move. This is a good way to purge and avoid bringing a bunch of clutter into your new home, and it can also leave you with less to transport from one house to another.

However, you should be very careful about getting rid of these documents. If you just throw them in the garbage, they could be compromised. Instead, shred them thoroughly with a paper shredder, or tear them up into small pieces with your hands. This includes anything that might have your personal information on it, such as old bank statements, paycheck stubs or tax documents.

  1. Keep Documents Secure During the Move

There will probably be different people handling your documents and items during the move, such as your moving crew or your friends and family. To protect yourself from ID theft, you will need to secure your documents.

Before inviting others into your home to help you with packing and moving, you should first find all of these documents. After sorting through them, consider putting them in a safe or another secure box with a lock. Consider moving your important documents yourself rather than having them moved by your moving company or your friends.

  1. Monitor Your Credit Report

After your move, you should make a point to monitor your credit report. Don’t just check when you first move; instead, consider signing up for a credit report monitoring service so that you can keep an eye on your score over the next few months. If you find any discrepancies, you should report them to all of the major credit bureaus.

Identity theft is a serious thing, so it’s important to protect yourself against it at all times. It is particularly important to do so during a move, so follow these three steps to protect yourself.

 

Rental Property Bookkeeping Suggestions

Rental Property Bookkeeping Suggestions

Rental Property Bookkeeping Suggestions

Whether you are an individual landlord or a property management firm, managing the bookkeeping for your properties is essential. Below are some helpful suggestions:

  • Maintain at least three separate accounts to track funds received and disbursed: 1) security deposits; 2) rent receipts; and 3) company operating funds. The first two accounts are to contain no funds other than those for which they are designated.
  • A security deposit is to remain in the appropriate account for as long as there is no reason to refund it or charge any cost against it.
  • A rental receipt should be deposited the appropriate account before the rental management company takes its commission or fee.
  • Deposit funds promptly, preferably daily, into the proper account(s). Disburse funds promptly when due.
  • Duplicate deposit tickets should be retained in company records to verify deposit dates, amounts, and sources of funds.
  • All check stubs should have an explanation of the purpose of that check. Checkbooks should be balanced regularly with dated deposits noted on the check stubs.
  • Any interest earned should be transferred to the general account, as it is earned. Most states require that the security deposit be kept in a non-interest account.
  • A list of funds being held for others should be maintained and should be consulted and marked with any changes insuring an accurate knowledge of the amount needed in the trust accounts.
  • Lease files should contain a copy of the management agreement between the company and the owner of the property, copies of the statements to the owners as to records of rent received and disbursed, and maintenance bills.
  • Maintain separate cards for each property with the information on security deposits, rent receipts and disbursements to owners, or mortgage payments made on behalf of owners.

Landlord and Property Management Useful Tenant Forms

Landlord and Property Management Useful Tenant Forms

Landlord and Property Management Useful Tenant Forms

Download these useful form for Landlords and Property Managers:

Sample Tenant ApplicationPDF

This is a sample “basic” rental agreement to use as a starting point. Landlord-tenant state laws vary, are continually changing and some states require certain specific mandatory language to be included. You are therefore advised to check your State Laws for current statutes that may affect the rental agreement you use. Most landlords start with a basic agreement and add/modify clauses as they deem necessary.

Authority to Release Tenant Information Form PDF Word

This form allows you to document the applicant’s written authorization for running a credit report and any other searches.

Tenant Move In Move Out Form  PDF Word

This form is designed to assist in recording the condition of a rental unit upon moving in and moving out. To be most useful, it should be filled out in the presence of the property owner and the tenant, and each should retain a signed and dated copy. For each line, either check “OK” or describe any persistent problems present.

Tenant Notice to Vacate  PDF Word

This form is used by the tenant give proper written notice to the landlord when the tenant is vacating and states that the tenant will cooperate with showing the property for re-rental or sale. It includes a place for the tenant to give his forwarding address in order to receive any security refund. It is an excellent way to help reinforce proper move-out procedure. We always staple a copy of this notice to the back of the tenant’s lease to be used when the time comes for the tenant to give notice to vacate.

Notice to Pay Rent or Quit   PDF Word

The Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is a form notice used to demand the rent payment that is overdue and payable. You are legally informing the tenant with this form that you’re about to begin eviction proceedings against him if the default is not cured within a set amount of days.

Conditional Acceptance Letter – (PDF) (Word)

A Conditional Acceptance Letter is a letter that allows you to specify additional requirements the applicant must meet such as additional deposit monies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that a form of this conditional acceptance letter must be provided to any rental applicant you choose to accept with conditions if that decision is based solely or partly on information in a consumer report. Use our free conditional acceptance letter now.

Denial Letter With Reasons/Adverse Action Letter With Reasons – (PDF) (Word)

A Denial Letter with Reasons is also known as an Adverse Action Letter with Reasons. It’s very similar to the Denial Letter but it provides specific reasons for denial based on information in the applicant’s a consumer report. A form of this denial letter must be provided to any rental applicant you choose to deny residency to if that decision is based solely or partly on information in a consumer report. While oral adverse action notices are allowed, written notices provide proof of FCRA compliance. Use our free denial letter with reasons now.

Denial Letter/Adverse Action Letter – (PDF) (Word)

A Denial Letter is also known as an Adverse Action Letter.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that a form of this denial letter or adverse action letter must be provided to any rental applicant you choose to deny residency to if that decision is based solely or partly on information in a consumer report. While oral adverse action notices are allowed, written notices provide proof of FCRA compliance. Use our free denial letter now.

Denial of Security Deposit Letter – (PDF) (Word)

Download a free form to give to your tenant notice that their security deposit will not be refunded.

Partial Refund of Security Deposit Letter – (PDF) (Word)

Download a free form to give to your tenant notice that only part of their security deposit will be refunded.

Itemized Security Deposit Deduction – (PDF) (Word)

Download a free form to give to your tenant which has an itemized list of security deposit deductions.

Contact Us
StarPoint Tenant Screening
520 East Zaragoza
Pensacola, FL 32502

Ph: 850-262-0002
Toll Free: 877-330-2444
Fax: 877-349-2175

info@starpointscreening.com