How to report bad tenants to credit bureaus

Written by jack ori
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How to report bad tenants to credit bureaus
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Landlords depend upon tenants paying rent on time when making financial plans for the month. Unfortunately, some tenants pay late or don't pay at all, forcing the landlord to waste time and money on evicting them. Threats to their credit reports may keep these tenants in line. You cannot report tenants to credit bureaus on your own; you must partner with a collections agency or apartment association.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Inform your tenant verbally and in writing that you are documenting all missed payments. Follow through by putting all rent-related incidents in writing. Note the dates missed and how much money is owed.

  2. 2

    Send your tenant a certified letter stating that if he does not pay the rent he owes, you will report him to credit bureaus. If you use online tracking to prove that he received the letter, print out the confirmation in case the tenant later claims he never got the notification.

  3. 3

    Hire a collection agency to help you collect the tenant's debt. Use a collection agency such as Landlord Protection Agency that deals specifically with tenant debts. Most agencies allow you to either pay them a flat fee for services or a percentage of the collected debt. Choose whichever plan makes sense for you.

  4. 4

    Ask the collection agency to report the tenant to the credit bureaus on your behalf.

Tips and warnings

  • In some states, you may be able to get help from a landlord's association or apartment association if you are a member.
  • Inform prospective and new tenants that your policy is to report nonpayment to credit bureaus. This makes it less likely that you will have problems with these tenants. Similarly, you can send all your tenants a letter periodically to remind them of any late or missed payments or compliment them for being up to date.
  • Never remove a tenant's possessions from an apartment or threaten to do so while trying to collect rent. These actions are illegal and can work against you.

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