I can’t pay my rent because of COVID-19. Will this affect my credit?

Under regular circumstances, not paying your mortgage or rent, or paying it late, would lower your .

In Ontario, the main reporting agencies are TransUnion and Equifax. These agencies collect information about your and bill-paying history. Your landlord, bank, credit union, or mortgage broker can report to TransUnion or Equifax any time you miss a mortgage or rent payment.

But the law says TransUnion or Equifax must let you explain why you didn't make your mortgage or rent payment on time and they must include the explanation in your credit file. In this situation, you should file a statement explaining how COVID-19 affected your ability to pay. You could also mention the government's announcement that landlords and tenants should “work together during this difficult time to establish fair arrangements to keep tenants in their homes.”

To file a statement on your TransUnion report, call 1-800-663-9980. You can also do this by mail by following the directions and downloading the form on their website.

To file a statement on your Equifax report, complete their online form, then print and mail it to the Montreal address listed on the form. Make sure you read all the directions on the bottom of the form.

TransUnion or Equifax won't add this explanation to your credit file unless you ask them to. It's your responsibility to file a statement so that you keep your credit rating safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

When future lenders or landlords ask about your payment history, they will see the reason for your missed payment and it shouldn't affect your credit rating.

For more information on credit issues, take a look at the Steps to Justice topics on credit reports and repair and debt and money problems.

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