Reporting Non-payment of Rent to Credit Bureaus

As a property owner or manager, there is little more frustrating than a tenant who does not pay their rent. The situation is costly, time consuming and aggravating.

There are a few ways for a landlord or property manager to get a tenant’s poor payment behavior to show up on the tenant’s credit report and alert future would-be landlords.

One effective way is to turn the tenant’s debt over to a collection agency. Although chances are small you will recover the owed rent payment(s), the collection account will show up on the tenant’s credit report and have a significant negative effect on the tenant’s credit score. When selecting a collection agency, make  sure that they report to the credit repositories (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian).

The other option, which can be done with the first option, is to file an eviction with your county court house. The eviction will often then show up on the tenant’s credit report under Public Records as a judgment which has a very negative effect on the credit score.

It’s important to review the tenant laws for your state though before proceeding with an eviction. Look for your state laws on our helpful page.

The other option, which can be frustrating and costly but effective, is to sue the tenant for non-payment, getting a judgment , which becomes public record and may eventually be picked up by credit bureaus. This will then show up on the tenant’s credit report under Public Records as a judgment or a lien which has a very negative effect on the credit score.

Comments (9)

  1. gina

    what if tenants already moved out without forwarding address? how will I proceed on this

    1. kgontarski (Post author)

      Do you have their social security number from their lease application? If so you can contact a collections agency to report the delinquency to the credit bureaus. The credit bureaus attach data to consumers by using their ssn number.

  2. Donna Lindsey

    I’m one of those ‘lucky’ landlords that seems to draw the skags of society!!! The first renters were supposedly my friends and good church-going-Christians. After two years of trying to be nice to them and giving them chance after chance to pay on time…….they snuck out owing me $2000 back rent. On top of that, they destroyed my house that I had worked hard to keep in good condition. It took almost $5000, and a wonderful friend between jobs in construction, to get it back in shape to put on the market to sell. My luck runs true… was on the market for a year and no one could afford to come close to buying it since the market is so bad in Kentucky. (The house is very reasonably priced and I even dropped the price twice. I was even willing to do rent-to-own…no luck.) So, I had to rent it out again. These people were ‘checked out’ and signed a very strict lease. NEVER have them sign a lease I have been told by the Sheriff’s department. They did wonderful for the first six months, then all of a sudden the rent was later and later until they just quit paying. The house was turned into a hoarder’s paradise. It was so piled with junk inside and out that I was getting complaints from the neighbors. And I can’t forget to mention the cockroaches they brought with them!!!! I’m 2000 miles away and my friend that did the repairs is my Property Manager. He had a hell of a time getting them out. When finally did get an eviction notice, he had to go to court and have the judge set a date for them to be removed. They just laughed in the my Property Manager’s face and told him to try and force them out. Come to find out, if you don’t have a lease and it states that if the rent is late, you (the landlord) do have the right to force them out. With a lease everything is for the benefit of the renter!!!! Once again I’m having to renovate and now fumigate to get the house back into useable order. This is so unfair!!!! Neither renter has anything, so suing is useless. This is a darling 1200 sq ft ranch style house that I have totally rebuilt from new roof and guttering, new floors (and carpet), new replacement doors and windows, new large central air/heat pump. Large fenced in yard and covered front porch and carport. The rent is only $700 in Richmond, KY. Anybody want to buy a house? I’m more than willing to negotiate for around $75,000. It’s being rebuilt as we speak and will be in tip-top shape (again). I just can’t deal with more renters!!!!!!

  3. jg

    I gave 30 days notice to my tenant before the lease to expire. His rent was due on the May 10, but he is not paying me and telling me that I broke the Lease and he is not going to pay. The reason for the eviction notice is because he keeps adding more children to the place. I rented him two room for one person ” he told me he is single” and then in two months he added his wife and after one month he added two kids and when I complained he told me one of the children is his cousins child and is going back. He offered me extra money for next two month until he finds a place. I agreed on it, again for the last month I see the second child is back. What can I do

    1. amitchell

      JG, Does your lease specify how many occupants your home is allowed or is there a place on your lease where the names of the occupants are listed? You might want to add this to your lease in the future. State laws on what you can or can not do are listed on this page of our website and you can purchase and print out a state specific lease here on our website.

  4. Heath

    There is a way to fight back. Tenants who don’t pay know they can suck free rent because it takes so long to get an eviction through the law. But it works the other way as well. You can just find other people and let them live in your house, rent free with the deadbeats. Sure, the dead beats can take you to court and try to cry foul, but they will have to settle all monies owed before a judge will order the free tenants out. I had my nephews go party for a week in one of my properties with dead beats, they left.

  5. alisa b

    Im a house owner in NJ and I have a tenant from day one has been off with the rent , they first could not pay at the beginning of the month so they asked if they can pay end of he month ME BEING THE GOOD PERSON (@ss) I AM , I SAID OK, then thet started being late with that , and now they are almost 4 months behind I wan to try to get a couple of months payment and get them the F out , I don’t know what to do HELP

    1. kgontarski (Post author)

      Hello Alisa,I’m very sorry that you have been put in this frustrating position. The 1st thing you will have to do is evict the tenants for non payment. Attached is a link to our article on the eviction process. Once you receive the eviction (forcible detainer) judgement, you can pursue the rent owned you through the court system. It’s time consuming but it’s the legal process. Please try our background reports the next time you rent your property and maybe we can help you avoid being taken advantage of again. Good luck!

      1. alisa b

        the tenant keeps telling me by December they will be up to date with the rent, but I fear they will only end up owing me more months, I like them as people but the rent things is hurting me and I have a new baby , I HAVE TO PAY MY MORTGAGE /TAXES &INS otherwise I loose it all along with all I put in…. I just don’t know how to be smart , I got the court papers Tenancy summons and return of Service , I still feel bad and I just don’t know what to do

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