How to get your rent reported to credit bureaus

Rent may be your largest monthly expense, but it is not always reported to the credit bureaus, limiting your ability to build credit. Here are the steps you can take to ensure your on-time rent payments are being reported.

Building a credit history is crucial for today’s renter. It allows you to access diverse financing, obtain lower interest rates and qualify for future mortgages. Unfortunately, rent payments are not automatically factored into your credit score. That means, for many people, their largest monthly expense doesn’t help build credit.

You can make sure your on-time rent payments are being reported to credit bureaus through rent reporting services. There are two ways that your rent can be reported through a rent reporting service: your property manager can report payments for you, or you can report payments yourself.

Your property manager reports rent payments

Your landlord may already be automatically reporting your rental payments to credit bureaus, but not all landlords do. Contact your property management office to determine if your property is participating in a rent reporting service, such as Freddie Mac’s initiative with Esusu Financial, Inc., to help renters build credit. Some of these programs, like Freddie Mac’s initiative, are paid for by the landlord and do not charge tenants a fee to report on-time rent payments.

You report rent payments

If your property doesn’t participate in a rent reporting service, you can sign up for one on your own.

There are many rent reporting services to choose from, so it’s important to ask the right questions before signing up.  

  1. How much does it cost? Determine how much rent reporting costs. For properties participating in Freddie Mac’s rent reporting initiative, the reporting service is free to tenants. But most other providers charge fees, including monthly fees and setup fees. Make sure to read the terms of service closely.
  2. Does the service report to all three credit bureaus? Make sure your data goes to all three main credit bureaus in the United States, which each generate their own credit score.
  3. How are late or missed rent payments handled? Understand how late or missed payments are treated. Anyone can fall on hard times, but not every rent reporting service treats this the same way. You’ll want to understand if late or missed payments count against you.
  4. Is my data secure? Make sure to research the reputability and data practices of any rent reporting service you choose to work with.
  5. What’s the cancelation policy? Some providers allow you to cancel at any time, but others aren’t as flexible. Make sure you know before signing up.

To learn more about building credit, check out CreditSmart® Essentials by Freddie Mac, a customizable and free online course — also available in Spanish.