Dena Standley | October 19, 2022
Summary: Is RentGrow hurting your credit score? Here is SoloSuit's guide on how to beat them.
You have been looking for an apartment, and you found the one you think might work. During the process, you learn that there is an opening in an apartment complex near work, so you jump on the opportunity. A couple of months later, you check your credit report and see an inquiry from RentGrow. You immediately suspect a problem since you have never had any dealings with a company by that name.
The most likely scenario is that RentGrow is used by one of the places where you started the application process for an apartment. RentGrow is a residential real estate screening tool used by apartment complexes and other rental properties around the United States.
The information RentGrow provided to the property manager depends on what they requested. Common tenant screening reports might contain:
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), companies that offer tenant screenings have an obligation to ensure the information they provide is accurate and up-to-date. Unfortunately, errors are still common. The most common error happens when information that belongs to another person shows up on your report.
Errors on your report can result in losing out on the rental you want, embarrassment, and potentially jeopardize your chances of finding a place to live. Fortunately, you have avenues of recourse if RentGrow has provided inaccurate information about you.
The Better Business Bureau gives RentGrow an A+ rating, but 112 consumers rate the company at 1.04/5 stars. As of 2022, RentGrow has received 242 complaints on its BBB profile in a three-year period. The bulk of the complaints are centered around poor customer service and providing inaccurate information on rental inquiries.
Google reviews for RentGrow come in at 1.1/5 stars, with many consumers reporting the same type of problems above. Inaccurate information, slow responses to disputes, along with unhelpful or rude customer service make RentGrow an unpopular tenant screening company.
Let's take a look at a real complaint against RentGrow.
“This company inaccurately reported my credit information to an apartment I was applying to - leading to my denial (It was incorrect by over 50 points, and they reported a number that it has not been for some time). I contacted them, and once they learned on the phone that I wanted to file a dispute of their report on my credit information - they hung up.You cannot file a dispute on their dispute portal online. You cannot print out a print copy of their dispute form to email to them. They will not respond to my emails, and now I have lost out on an apartment for which I should have been approved (my parents signed on as guarantors in addition to me, they did not even account for this when conducting a background check on my application and did not run a check on my parents either, they reported I had no income - I am in school, but did not consider my parents income at all).”
What is the difference between a hard and a soft inquiry? Soft inquiries are not added to your credit report and they do not damage your credit score. Soft inquiries are often prompted by:
A hard inquiry can drop your credit score. One inquiry is unlikely to have much impact, but if there are several in a short span of time—it can signal creditors that you may be facing financial hardships. Hard inquiries are usually the result of a loan application, mortgage, new vehicle loan, or credit cards. However, they can also be triggered when a landlord has a more rigorous vetting process. That is why most RentGrow inquiries show up on your report as a hard inquiry.
If the inquiry was legitimate, your best course of action is to let it fall off your report in two years. However, if the inquiry was not legitimate, you want to address it with the credit reporting bureaus as soon as possible. If you did not fill out a rental application or agree to co-sign for a rental, then the inquiry is likely a mistake.
If the inquiry appears on one report, you need to check your reports from all three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can then file a dispute online, call the bureaus, or send a letter to start the process. Once you have disputed the inquiry, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the credit bureaus to investigate within thirty days. If they cannot validate the inquiry, it will be removed from your report.
If RentGrow provided inaccurate information about you, you have options. Their website provides a dispute portal, so that may be the best place to start. You may also attempt to contact the RentGrow Consumer Relations team at (800)898-1351. Be forewarned that people report long wait times for a response to their dispute. Many never receive a resolution when attempting to handle the dispute directly with RentGrow.
Mistakes in tenant background reports are not uncommon. Here is where knowing your rights as a consumer is critical. Screening companies have to reinvestigate within 30 days if you find an error and initiate a dispute. If they fail to do so, you should file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Unfortunately, landlords are often unwilling to wait on a dispute resolution before giving the unit to someone else. However, you will encounter the same issue when you find somewhere else to rent, so it is worth taking care of even minor mistakes found in RentGrow's report.
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