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Credit Check Ontario: How to Run Tenant Credit Checks the Right Way (And the Safe Way)

July 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Equifax, Tenant Credit Check

 Ontario landlords  How to Run Tenant Credit Checks the Right and Legal Way

Ontario landlords, did you know running a tenant credit check through a mortgage agent, Realtor, insurance agent, or car dealer can lead you to trouble?

Make sure you use a certified tenant credit check company to run credit checks on your tenants!

Ontario landlords are learning fast about the importance of always make sure you screen your tenants carefully before renting to anyone.

The Toronto Star has a recent article about Nina Willis. She’s the person the Toronto Star calls a “Tenant From Hell.”

This is a person of a long history of not paying rent and dragging her landlord to court over maintenance issues to try to delay being evicted.

Tenant Screening and Credit Checks

Landlords could have avoided renting to Nina, the “Tenant From Hell” by running a simple credit check.

How Would A Credit Check Protect Landlords?

The “Tenant from Hell” was a very smooth speaker and in face to face interviews knew what to say to satisfy small landlords and get them to rent to her.

A tenant credit check would have protected this landlord. It would have shown her history of not paying on time.

It would also show past addresses and landlords could easily go directly to those

Running Tenant Credit Checks the Right (and legal) Way

Many Ontario landlords are now aware of the important of running credit checks.

However, many Ontario landlords are unaware of the right way to run tenant credit checks.

For example, you need to use a company that is authorized to run tenant credit checks.

You can’t call up a friend who is a mortgage agent, a real estate agent, an insurance broker, or a car dealer to run tenant credit checks for you.

These laws also apply for BC landlords and Alberta landlords when they are screening tenants.

What If I Have a Clause In My Application Saying A 3rd Party Can Run a Tenant Credit Check?

That doesn’t work.

Why Not?

The government has strict privacy rules and so does Equifax Canada.

knowledgeable tenant explained at the Ontario Landlords Association forum:

Mortgage brokerages are only legally allowed to run credit checks for those seeking mortgages! That is part of their service agreement. Furthermore, their service agreement only allows themselves to view the credit information themselves and not share it with those outside of the service agreement.

It doesn’t matter what is on the application! The agreement is between the mortgage brokerage and Equifax for the brokerage to be allowed to pay for credit data access only for mortgages.

It’s the same with a car dealership with customers looking to buy cars, real estate brokers with customers looking to buy real estate.

Running a check for landlord ‘pals’ is fraud, and tenants can complain to both Equifax and the Privacy Commission (who will investigate) because only a few providers are certified to run credit checks on tenants (as per their service agreement with Equifax and the knowledge and certification of the Privacy Commission).

If tenants complain the mortgage brokerage will lose the ability to run credit checks for mortgages (and go out of business) and the privacy commissioner will investigate both the landlord and the brokerage.

The particular person who ran the check on the tenant can also lose their brokerage or agent license!”

Ontario Landlords – Make Sure You Run Tenant Credit Checks the Right (and Safe) Way!

Authorized tenant credit check companies include TVS, GARDA, and Equifax.

Join the Ontario Landlords Association for a one-time registration fee and start running safe (and legal) credit checks to make sure you rent to great tenants!

The Toronto Star recommended joining the Ontario Landlords Association to avoid renting to bad tenants and for tenant credit checks and amazing landlord documents!

You can start running credit checks from certified companies such as TVS and GARDA!

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