How to get a rental history report on yourself

Request and review your rental history report to see what it says about you. By being proactive, you can take control of your rental history and move to a new unit without your past affecting you. 

February 15, 2024

7 min read


As a prospective tenant, it’s safe to assume that the landlord or property manager will conduct a thorough tenant screening that includes a rental history report. After all, landlords and property managers need some way to assess your reliability as a tenant and a rental history report is a great method for doing so. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what it is, what those reports include, where to get one, and what you can do to put your best foot forward.  

In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about rental history reports so you can present yourself as the best possible tenant. 

What is a rental history report?

A rental history report is exactly what it sounds like: a report that details everything about your previous tenancies. Landlords and property managers use it as part of the screening process to paint a picture of what kind of renter you’ll be. 

Most rental history reports typically include:

  • Payment history: Details of your rent payment track record, including any late payments or outstanding balances.
  • Lease agreements: Information about the terms and conditions of your lease agreements.
  • Evictions: Records of any evictions filed against you, which can significantly impact your rental prospects.
  • Property damage: Reports of any damage caused to rental properties during your tenancy.
  • Lease renewals and terminations: Documentation of lease renewals, terminations, or any issues leading to the end of a lease.

Reports also include contextual information to help paint the picture of your entire tenancy, including:

  • Contact information for your previous landlords
  • Addresses of all previous properties you rented
  • How much rent you paid
  • How long you lived in each rental
  • Any issues or problems you caused, such as damage to the unit, late rent payments, broken leases, neighbor complaints, or an eviction notice
  • Any recommendations from past landlords

Why is it important to obtain your rental history report?

Obtaining your rental history report is essential for several reasons:

Spotting errors

Just like your credit report, rental history reports can contain errors. Reviewing your report allows you to identify and dispute any inaccuracies that could potentially influence a landlord’s decision to accept you as a tenant.

Preparing for applications

Being aware of what landlords will see enables you to address any concerns and present your case effectively during the rental application process.

Building trust with landlords

Proactively sharing your rental history report with potential landlords demonstrates transparency and may help build trust.

Factors that can impact your rental history report

Your rental history report showcases your past behavior as a tenant. It sheds light on whether or not you consistently paid rent on time or faced issues such as late payments. It also details if you maintained the condition of the rental or caused damages during your tenancy. Other factors that can impact your rental history report are lease violations, such as breaking the lease terms or causing disturbances and any eviction records or neighbor complaints. 

On the other hand, positive recommendations from previous landlords and examples of how you took care of the rental property can contribute to a favorable rental history report. 

Where does the information in my rental history report come from?

Most rental history reports are created by third-party services and private consumer reporting agencies. For example, TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, offers SmartMove which provides a deep dive into renters' credit, rental history, and criminal background. 

Some landlords prefer a hands-on approach to the tenant screening process, taking charge of the rental history verification themselves. In this scenario, applicants are typically required to provide details such as past addresses and contact information for previous landlords as part of their rental application. The landlord will then personally reach out to inquire about the applicant's conduct and performance as a tenant in previous rental properties.

How to obtain your rental history report

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can request a copy of your rental history report at no charge. If you prefer not to use a credit screening service, you can still obtain the relevant documents individually by following the same process many landlords use. 


By self-reporting, you have control over the information provided and can highlight positive aspects of your rental history. Compile a comprehensive list of your past addresses, including the duration of your stay and contact information for previous landlords. Be sure to note any timely payments, responsible maintenance of the property, and if you had a good relationship with your previous landlords. Self-reporting also gives you the opportunity to provide additional information beyond what may be included in a standard rental history report, giving landlords a more detailed understanding of your renting experience. 

Gather documentation from landlords and property managers

Having written documentation directly from landlords adds credibility to your rental history report. If you had a trouble-free tenancy, consider reaching out to your previous landlords to request recommendation letters. A recommendation letter can go a long way in offering valuable insights to potential landlords regarding your reliability and ability to get along with others.

Contact information and rental agreements

Ensure you have up-to-date contact information for all your previous landlords. Having their current details makes it easier for future landlords to request and receive necessary documentation. Additionally, collect copies of your past rental agreements, lease contracts, or any written communication that highlights your responsibilities and conduct during your tenancy. These documents can serve as supporting evidence when building your rental history report. Remember to maintain a professional and courteous approach when reaching out to landlords for this information.

Third-party rental history report services

Third-party reporting services track your on-time rent payments, which can boost your credit score. Some services will report up to two years of prior rent payments and allow you to include contact information for past landlords. 

You can also provide contextual information on your monthly rent such as explanations for any instances of late rent, evictions, broken leases, damaged property, and even include reviews from previous landlords. While these services often come with a fee, it may be worth it particularly if you have a limited credit history or need to improve your credit.

Make sure your rental history report is accurate

Once you’ve obtained all the necessary documents, carefully review your rental history report for accuracy and completeness. Verify that all of your occupancy dates, previous addresses, landlord names, and rental rates are correct. 

If you discover any discrepancies in your rental history report, promptly dispute them with the reporting agency. The company will conduct a review of the dispute and either correct the report or, if they believe their information is accurate, leave it as-is. If they don’t revise the report, you can append it with a written note that includes documentation to support your dispute. This note will be included when others request your report.

Alternatively, if there are negative remarks that are accurate, some agencies allow you to add a personal statement to your report to provide further explanation of the situation. 

Improving your rental history

Getting your rental history report before you apply for your next apartment helps ensure you’re always putting your best foot forward. Taking a proactive approach not only enables you to spot inaccuracies, but also helps you increase your chances of being accepted as a tenant. To improve your rental history, consider taking the following actions:

Pay your rent and bills on time

If your rent payment history is less than stellar, make sure you pay your rent on time along with your other financial obligations. You can also use an online payment service like Rent Payment so you never miss another rent payment again. 

Maintain open communication

Establish clear and consistent communication with your landlord. Inform them of any potential issues, changes in circumstances, or requests related to the rental property as soon as possible.

Maintain good relations with neighbors

Being a considerate and respectful neighbor contributes to a positive rental history. Avoid disturbances, noise complaints, or conflicts that could negatively impact your record.

Follow lease agreements

Adhere to the terms and conditions outlined in your lease agreement. This includes respecting property rules, maintaining the premises, and following any other stipulations specified in the lease.

Address and resolve issues

If any issues arise during your tenancy, promptly address and resolve them. Whether it's a maintenance concern or a dispute with neighbors, taking swift action reflects positively on your tenant record.

Choosing a reputable rental property management service

As a renter, you want to present a positive rental history to potential landlords. And that means choosing a reputable property management service so you can effectively showcase your rental history to demonstrate your reliability and responsibility as a tenant. 

Research and reviews

Begin by researching different property management services and reviewing feedback from other renters on platforms like Google, Yelp, or rental forums.

Check credentials

Make sure the property management service is licensed, accredited, and potentially affiliated with professional property associations, reflecting commitment to industry standards.

Transparent policies

Opt for a service with clear policies on how they handle and report rental history information, aligning with your privacy expectations.

Technology and services

Choose a service that leverages technology for efficient reporting, offering online portals or apps for tenants to conveniently access and review their rental history reports.

Communication and legal compliance

Evaluate the service's communication style, ensuring responsiveness and clarity. Confirm legal compliance in collecting, storing, and reporting rental history information to protect tenant rights.

How to manage eviction records and your rental history

Eviction records can either stay on your record for seven years or until the statute of limitations expires, depending on whichever is longer. If you have an eviction on your record, be prepared to explain the reasons behind the eviction, whether they stem from financial difficulties, unexpected life events, or other factors. Offering context allows potential landlords to better grasp the situation and assess your current circumstances.

Emphasize any positive changes or improvements you've made since the eviction. This could include securing stable employment, improving financial management, or taking steps to prevent similar issues in the future. Demonstrating personal growth and responsibility is key.

Providing references from subsequent landlords or individuals who can attest to your responsible behavior post-eviction can also be instrumental. Additionally, offering a co-signer with a strong rental history or a larger security deposit demonstrates your commitment to fulfilling lease terms and provides added assurance for landlords. 

How RentSpree can help

A rental history report is an indispensable resource for landlords to vet tenants so they can rest assured that you’ll be a good fit for their rental property. 

To ensure you never miss a payment and your rental history stays impeccable, you can use a service like RentSpree’s Rent Payment platform. We make rent payment simple, convenient, and secure and also have multiple payment options.

Take control of your rental history and show future landlords you're a responsible tenant by tackling your rent payments with RentSpree today. Sign up now. 


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