November 16, 2020

What Are Credit Scores And Why Are They Important for Renting?

credit score

Are you looking to rent an apartment in Montreal? Part of the process will entail signing paperwork including a rental application, credit check, waiver, etc. Although it’s a common practice in the rental industry, many tenants have questions about credit checks and how to manage credit as a renter.

Fortunately, we’re here to help! In this post, we will demystify tenant credit checks and tell you exactly what you need so you can move into your next dream apartment in no time!

Credit Score Overview

First, let’s start off by explaining what a credit score is. Your credit score is a numerical representation of your credit risk at any given point in time.

Equifax and TransUnion are the two major credit reporting agencies. They both use a sliding scale between 300 and 900. Anything 700 and above is thought to be a good credit score, while anything between 600 and 750 is the consumer average. If your credit score is less than 600, you could face some issues when it comes to renting an apartment in Montreal.

How Is My Credit Score Calculated?

Your credit score is based on the payment history of all your credit cards, utility and phone bills, loans, car payments, etc. Whoever you are paying these bills to, reports the information to Equifax and TransUnion. If you’re late on a payment, the company will report it and this will directly affect your credit score. Having a credit card and paying it off is a key method of boosting your score. If you’re in search of a new credit card, you could take a look at SoFi’s offerings (check it out here – which can help with paying down debt, saving, investing, and has exciting rewards to redeem like cryptocurrencies, proving that this card is at the forefront of financial trends.

How Does Your Credit Score Affect Renting?

Think of your credit score as a report card for your finances. It’s used to determine how financially responsible you’ve been in the past. That’s why landlords and leasing agents will run a credit check on potential applicants to help determine their financial situation. Landlords need to know that they are bringing in a steady income from the properties that they are leasing, so they need tenants that they can rely on. They’ll also look to resources such as accounting for leases as well as other support, so they can be on top of what their finances are doing.

Your credit score will help landlords figure out how likely you are to pay your rent in full and on time throughout the life of your lease. This is an important business decision for the owners of the building.
Most people who rent an apartment are looking for credit scores that are no lower than 620. Anything lower than a score of 620 could indicate a high risk of default on rent owed.

A lower credit score could mean you’re less likely to be approved for the apartment you’re applying for, especially if you’re looking to rent in a popular area since the more people who apply the more chance the landlord will pick someone with the highest credit score (among other criteria).

However, a low credit score doesn’t mean you won’t get approved at all. You can still rent an apartment with poor credit. That’s because some landlords will not base their decision on the exact number associated with your credit score, but on the cause of your bad credit.

If your bad credit is due to unpaid bills, late payments, or wage garnishments, this is a big red flag for owners but if your bad credit score is due to consumer, medical, or student loan debt but you make your payments on time the landlord might still accept your application.
How Long Does a Credit Check Take for Renting an Apartment?

Once you consent to allow the landlord to check your credit score, they can apply immediately. To check your score, the landlord will need your date of birth or SIN, but it’s always useful to provide both to help speed up the process. Today, tenant credit checks are performed online and only take a few minutes. Pro Tip: If you really want an apartment, show up with an up to date credit report in hand!

Where Can I Get a Credit Check in Canada?

Most banks allow you to check your credit score on their website or app for free. You can also use Borrowell, another free portal for Canadians to check their credit report online. You can even sign up for monthly credit score updates with Borrowell.

However, if you want the most official report you can go directly to TransUnion or Equifax but usually, these reports cost around $20. If they try to upsell you on monthly credit monitoring products, just ask for a one-time credit report. If you want to bring a copy of your credit report to a landlord it’s best to use a report from Equifax or TransUnion.

Contact BRiX Today

Whether you have your credit score in hand or need a little bit more information, we’re happy to answer any questions you have! So don’t hesitate to reach out to us at to book your tour today and find out how you can become part of the BRiX family in one of the most innovative apartment buildings in downtown, Montreal!

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