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Canada Landlords – How Can I Run a Legal Credit Check On A Tenant?

July 4th, 2014 · 3,649 Comments · Alberta Landlords Association, BC Landlords Association, credit checks, Equifax, Ontario Landlords Association, Tenant credit check

 Tenant Credit Checks Equifax Canada Landlords

Canada Landlords – Run credit checks the right way! You can’t run credit checks on your tenants using a mortgage agent, car dealer, real estate agent or you can get into trouble.

You need to use a verified company such as TVS or GARDA to run tenant credit checks.

Landlords across Canada are waking up to find lots of tenant from hell stories in the local news. It’s a real wake-up call and a warning for landlords to take tenant screening seriously.

British Columbia

BC landlords are waking up to stories about serial bad tenants who have ripped off six landlords in only the past two years. They move in and simply don’t pay rent.

Alberta Landlords

Alberta landlords are still in shock after reading about a landlord who did employment checks and reference checks but it wasn’t enough as he is now out hundreds of thousands of dollars after the tenants started a marijuana grow-op.

Ontario Landlords

According to a report in the Toronto Star a woman called the Toronto tenant from hell is now in the middle of her 7th eviction.

Tenant Credit Checks

One of the landlord lessons to be learned from these three stories are in each case the landlords didn’t run a credit check on the tenant to verify their stories.

Rules of Running Tenant Credit Checks

Now many landlords are aware of the importance of tenant credit checks. But the problem is many small landlords don’t know the rules for running credit checks on tenants.

How Do I Run a Credit Check on Tenants?

To run a credit check on tenants you have to use an approved tenant credit check company.

The Ontario Landlords Association has a great interview with Equifax on the rules for landlords.

#1 Can My Friend Who Is a Mortgage Agent, Real Estate Agent or Car Dealer Run Tenant Credit Checks for Me?



Given the nature of the existing credit reporting/privacy legislation and the terms of use (agreement) by the Equifax member, the consumer can report this type of unacceptable activity to the Ministry of Consumer Services, who will then investigate.

Any inappropriate use or breach of contract could lead to termination of membership with Equifax.

#2 What If I Have a Waiver on my Lease To Run Credit Checks By A Third Party?

I have a waiver on my application form saying I will use a “third party” to obtain credit data on a potential tenant (I don’t say who will do the check, only that it will be a third party).

I then contact a friend who is a mortgage agent, Realtor, insurance broker, someone who works at a car dealership, etc. to do the credit check on the potential tenant for me. 

I wonder if the waiver clause allows them to use a ‘friend’ is okay.


The service agreement signed by EACH of our members clearly articulates that they will not “share” a credit file with another entity: the credit file is for their exclusive use ONLY.

Any entity that does share is in violation of this agreement.

#3 What Can Tenants Do If a Landlord Runs an Unauthorized Tenant Credit Check?

Some tenants complain they have a ‘credit hit’ on their credit reports from mortgage agents, insurance agents, etc. which they never agreed to (as they only wanted to rent an apartment). 

How can tenants get these unauthorized credit hits off their records?


Due to privacy legislation, once Equifax delivers a file to a member, we MUST post an inquiry (by law).

As such, we do not remove these inquiries as they are factual and the consumer has a legal right to know their file has been disclosed.

#4 What Actions Can Tenants Take for Unauthorized Credit Checks?

Some tenants who have credit hits from people they never authorized have asked if they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services to make formal complaints that their credit data was obtained fraudulently. They would like advice on this.


Yes, they should contact the Ministry of Consumer Services who will launch an investigation.

They can reach also reach Equifax directly at the following telephone numbers to lodge a complaint and we will do an investigation:

English: 1-866-828-5961

French: 1-877-323-2598

Canada Landlords – Run Tenant Credit Checks The Right Way!

You can join the Ontario Landlords Association, the BC Landlords Association or the Alberta Landlords Association and start running legal tenant credit checks for only $10 per check.

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