What Credit Bureau Does Apartments Use?-Read To Know

Everybody wants peace of mind, and for landlords, having tenants that pay up their rent when due, or even before the due date, is simply it! To ensure this peace of mind, landlords typically engage the services of credit bureaus to obtain information about the credit history of potential tenants, allowing them to check their creditworthiness. However, with the many credit bureaus in existence, confusion would always arise as to what credit bureau apartments use. Want to clarify this confusion? Then read on!

What Credit Bureau Does Apartments Use?
What Credit Bureau Does Apartments Use?

What Credit Bureau Does Apartments Use?

There are many Credit Bureau, but Apartments mainly uses Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Based on preferences, a landlord or property manager may decide to obtain credit reports from one or all of the major three credit bureaus and then use the credit score(s) to decide if a potential tenant is creditworthy or not. 

If you’ve never used a credit bureau, but are hoping to access the credit reports of potential tenants from credit bureaus in your next tenant application, here is what the mode of operations of each of the three credit bureaus look like, as this would help inform your preferences.


Experian, matching against Equifax, has made a reputation for itself as being the largest among the three major credit bureaus. They obtain information about consumers from creditors and then go on to use this information to determine the credit score of consumers using the Fair Isaacs Company (FICO) Score 8 Model. This model has an algorithm that measures credit scores between 300 to 850.

When preparing Credit reports, alongside the Credit Score, Experian also includes information that landlords can thoroughly look at to assess the creditworthiness of a potential tenant. This includes personal information, employment, accounts, and inquiries.


Equifax is the next largest credit bureau after Experian. Although Equifax uses the same scoring Model as Experian (the FICO Score 8 Model), when it comes to listing accounts, Experian has a slight edge over Equifax.

While Experian lists accounts in terms of the minimum payment due, payment amounts, and balances, Equifax lists account in groupings of closed or open. Experian’s method of account listing makes it more likely for debt to appear in consumers’ records unlike Equifax that categorizes the information and this is why most Apartments prefer to obtain Credit Reports from Experian.


This Credit Bureau prepares most of its credit scores using the VantageScore model. Although the VantageScore Model uses the same algorithm that the FICO Score 8 Model uses, i.e, measuring credit score between 350 and 800, the weighting method for each of these models differ.

This is part of the reason why even though Experian and TransUnion have the same information about a consumer, the credit score from these two credit bureaus can come out wildly different.

Cost of Obtaining A Credit Report

Every person has a right to obtain a copy of their credit report for free once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. However, according to Federal Law, special cases such as job search, identity theft or fraud alert on your credit file, or the rejection of your application for an apartment, or any other benefit based on information in your credit report, will allow you access to a free copy of your credit report.

In other situations, you’d need to pay a fee to the credit bureau to allow you to buy your credit report. You can then grant a landlord access to view this report for 30 days. Or better yet, by signing consent, your landlord can access your credit report on your behalf.

Credit bureaus are, however, restricted from charging any more than $13.50 for a credit report. 

The Accuracy of Credit Scores

Credit scores could vary from one credit bureau to another. This is typical as a result of the data that make up each credit report and the model used in analyzing this data. 

Credit bureaus get consumers’ data either from creditors or they directly inquire about consumers themselves. Whichever method a credit bureau uses, there are bound to be some gaps in the information one bureau has from another since creditors may send information to only one or two out of the three major credit bureaus. Also, some credit bureaus may inquire far back into the credit habits of a consumer and update their information more frequently than another credit bureau. 

Considering the credit scoring model, a credit bureau that uses the FICO Score 8 Model will have a credit score that differs from a credit bureau that uses the VantageScore Model to calculate consumers’ credit scores.


When it comes to accessing the creditworthiness of prospective tenants, the landlord has the final say. The credit bureaus can only help in preparing the credit report, from which the credit score is obtained but the decision as to whether your apartment application is approved or not rests on the landlord. Reports from credit bureaus, however, inform the landlord’s decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do credit reports contain?

Credit reports typically contain two categories of information along with the credit score: identifying information, including name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and then information about credit history, including, credit account information, hard and soft inquiries, collection account, payment history. The credit score essentially summarizes the credit history.

  • Do landlords review the entire credit report or just the credit score?

If the landlord is more concerned with just seeing your credit scores, he would go straight to check this. Some other landlords, however, prefer to review the entire report to spot things that question your creditworthiness. These could be late payments, recent hard inquiries, bankruptcy history, high debt payment amounts (in comparison to stated income).

  • How do credit bureaus get applicants’ information?

Credit bureaus collect information from specific data providers. These can be creditors, debt collection agencies, vendors, or officers with access to public records.

What Credit Bureau Does Apartments Use?-Read To Know

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