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3.9 Credit History

Yes, a landlord does have the right to request a credit check in order to review your credit history.  Although you have the right to refuse consent, this will greatly reduce your chances of being a successful applicant.

Landlords want to know that you have the ability to pay your rent.  They often need tenants to pay rent on time in order to pay their own mortgages. Not being paid the rent can have a serious financial impact on property owners.

You should keep an eye on your credit history from time-to-time to ensure the information on file is current and accurate.  There are two credit reporting agencies in Canada – Equifax and TransUnion.  It is a good idea to order a report from each, as they may have different information, and potential landlords may have a preference.

The reports will indicate who has requested reports on you in the past. If you have applied for loans and credit cards, it will be documented in your credit history.  Each time someone makes an inquiry to a credit agency, it affects your credit rating.  For this reason, it is best that you obtain your own reports and provide copies to potential landlords.  If you disagree with anything in the reports, Equifax and TransUnion both provide step-by-step instructions on how to file a dispute. 

Having copies of your own credit history not only shows that you are responsible and prepared, but it also gives you an opportunity to black out any private information that the landlord does not need in order to determine if you are a suitable tenant.  For example, they do not need to know your credit limit or account information, nor do they need your Social Insurance Number.  All they need to know is that you have been paying your debts.

The Resources Section provides information on Equifax and TransUnion so that you can order reports on your credit history.