Credit scores are becoming less important to apartment screening firms, which increasingly look at past rental payment history to judge possible tenants, Multifamily Executive reports.

Leasing agents are not disregarding credit scores, but screening companies suggest that past rental payment history is a better indicator of future behavior, and some individuals with poor overall credit may still have good rental payment habits.

"Rental history is the most exciting data set we have. The end-all be-all and best predictor of how someone is going to pay their rent is how they have paid it in the past," David Carner, who works for a property management services company in Texas, told the source.

Experian RentBureau provides rental payment history to its partner screening companies, and has been including rental payment history in credit score calculations since January. The reports incorporate information on the timeliness of payment, any outstanding debts and any damages left behind when a tenant moved out.

Carner estimated the savings of replacing bad renters with good ones despite their credit scores as significant. Switching the residents of three units to individuals with better rental payment habits in a 200-unit community might save as much as $2,400 per year, he estimated.