[S]ometimes when you are filling out a rental or job application, you’ll come to a page that asks you to sign and authorize a credit check. Most people will sign it, hoping for the best if they have less than perfect credit. Even when you do sign it, you may wonder if that was the best course of action or if you should have refused or explained your situation.
Refusal to Allow a Credit Check
If you refuse to sign the authorization, you are basically saying goodbye to the rental unit or job. Many of these documents state that a credit check is a requirement for approval or consideration. Most employers and landlords will assume the worst if you refuse to sign it. Besides, your credit may not be as bad as you think, especially since many applicants don’t really understand that the employer or landlord is looking for.
What If You Have Bad Credit?
Should you alert them to your bad credit before they see it for themselves? Not necessarily. If the information is older and you have other positive credit listed, it would be best not to say anything. You don’t want to draw their attention to the negative information or give them a bad feeling to start with.
On the other hand, if your negative information includes a bankruptcy or judgments or if it is recent and vast, you may want to plead your case before they see it in writing. It’s best not to make a big deal or to sound like you are making excuses. You can say something like, “I noticed you wanted to see my credit report. Let me know if you have any questions about it. I had some issues in the past that I’ve worked through.” This lets them know to expect some information they aren’t going to like, but it also tells them you are aware of it and you’ve worked to correct the problem.
It can be hard to know whether to address the issue of credit problems with a potential landlord or employer. You may have to use your best judgment as to whether it will help or hurt your cause.
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