Do my rent payments affect my credit rating?

I always give first priority to my rent. I make sure I have enough to pay it on time before I budget anything else for that month. My credit is already pretty good (I had to have a credit check to move into my building, after all) but I was wondering, does the fact that I always pay my rent in full, on time, every month, affect my credit rating? When I end the lease, will my landlord call the credit bureaus and tell them what a responsible tenant I am?

Resident credit guy from Trans Union.
Short answer: No…but…

Paying rent is not tracked by any credit agency. However, if you don’t pay it, your lanlord could refer you to a collection agency, and there is a 50/50 shot they will report the bad debt to the three national credit bureaus.

Also, he might sue you for rent, and the civil judgement will be picked up by the national bureaus.

That is the answer.

Also, if you’re applying for a loan, they generally take your total fixed monthly obligations into account (rent, other loan payments, etc.), so the greater your monthly rent (relative to your income), the tougher it is to get loan approval.

Actually, there is a rental credit reporting agency. I do not recall their name, but a friend of mine owns her own apartment complex. And she uses this service to verify the applicant has not screwed any other rental agencies. Maybe some of our real estate people will know more about it.

When I applied for a mortgage a few months back, in addition to running my credit report, they asked me to produce cancelled rent checks for the previous 12 months. I believe this is a common practice. Obviously, if you were bad about paying your rent, it could hurt your chances of being approved for a mortgage.

There may be a national version of this as well, but the ones with which I’m familiar are local (state or municipality-based).

As a property manager, I use Tenant Credit Reports. They cover all 50 states. Through them I can get credit reports, skip traces, criminal background checks and I can also notify them of folks who owe money for one reason or another but refuse to pay up. The last item can show up on your credit report.

I am certain there are other similar services, but these folks are quick and inexpensive.

I think it is a shame that timely rent payments are not reported to credit bureaus. Most folks are very timely with their rent and it is often a family’s biggest monthly payment.

I don’t know how it works in the US, but every time I’ve started renting in the UK I’ve had to provide a written bank reference (paid for by me) and references from previous landlords if available. I’m not aware of any credit reporting, but would I know about it?