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10 Best Tenant Screening Services in 2022

Ivan Stevanovic Image
ByIvan Stevanovic
March 16,2022

Looking to get a tenant but not sure if they’ll be more trouble than they’re worth? Don’t feel like playing private detective but want to know who you are going to let into your house? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of the best tenant screening services out there. You can check out our review methodology by clicking below. First, let’s take a brief look at the key features of each service.

 

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Best a la Carte Menu

1. LeaseRunner

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Bottom line

LeaseRunner is best for smaller landlords who don’t want to be tied up by pre-packaged tenant screening services. Besides offering eviction checks and a great credit and background check for landlords, their cash report (called Financial Profile) offers a peek into applicants' cash flows by safely pulling bank data. This tenant screening service is the right choice for hands-on rental owners and property managers. Read Review

  • ⦿Simple a la carte system
  • ⦿Many bonus rental services available
  • ⦿Free rental application templates
PRICE:
$10 - $57
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
Available
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
Available
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Available
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Available
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
Email, phone, support center
Best FCRA Compliance

2. RentPrep

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Bottom line

Fidelis Screening Solutions’ RentPrep is a great screening service that pays special attention to Fair Credit Reporting Act compliance and has live screeners available to verify background checks. It offers the cheapest screening plan on our list, but for adding more features you will need to pay significantly more money. Read Review

  • ⦿Inexpensive background check
  • ⦿Live screening
  • ⦿Excellent FCRA compliance
PRICE:
$21 - $38.00
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
Only in the $38 plan
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
Only in the $38 plan
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Only in the $38 plan
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Yes
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
Email, FAQ, fax, phone
Best Value Basic Plan

3. MyRental

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Bottom line

CoreLogic’s MyRental is a fantastic and versatile service, offering all of the tenant background check options that you could wish for along with some unique features such as automatic denial letters based on their risk evaluation reports. It is not FCRA-certified, though, and doesn’t do reference checking. Read Review

  • ⦿Fantastic suite of screening options
  • ⦿Versatile pricing
  • ⦿Automatic adverse action letters
PRICE:
$24.99 to $34.99
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
Premium plan and above
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
Premium plan and above
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Yes
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Yes
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
Email, FAQ, live chat

4. Avail

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Bottom line

Those in search of a free plan that will provide them with all the basic tenant-screening options should go for Avail. It’s the best background check service for independent landlords with less than 10 units. Avail offers a detailed knowledge base with educational resources to help inexperienced landlords learn about security-related aspects of leasing their property. The only drawback is that the most important screening services - eviction notices and criminal background checks - are only available upon paying an extra $55. Read Review

  • ⦿Free plan available
  • ⦿Fantastic property management options
  • ⦿Great customer support
Price:
Free - $5 per unit/month
Credit score tracking:
Available from $30 up
Employment status tracking:
Yes
Criminal background check:
Available for $55
Residence and eviction history:
Yes (residence history available for $30, eviction history for $55)
Customer support options:
Email, FAQ, phone, knowledge base

5. RentSpree

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Bottom line

RentSpree is arguably one of the most affordable and best tenant screening services on the market. The company’s award-winning software is easy to set up, while RentSpree’s partnership with TransUnion gives customers access to a complete overview of the applicants’ credit histories, collections, and payment history. The reports also include criminal background checks, eviction-related proceedings, and rental history. With affordable prices and comprehensive packages, RentSpree is a great option for landlords looking for an all-in-one rental management solution. Read Review

  • ⦿Free plan available
  • ⦿E-sign documents
  • ⦿Criminal check included in the free plan
Price:
Free - $9.99 per month
Credit score tracking:
Available for $30
Employment status tracking:
Available
Criminal background check:
Available
Residence and eviction history:
Available
Customer support options:
Knowledge base, FAQ, email, phone, live chat

6. Buildium

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Bottom line

Buildium is not for small time renters. It features an extensive cloud-based property management system and a host of other features besides tenant screening. That being said, its reports are handled by TransUnion, so if you liked SmartMove, Buildium gets you literally the same service, in addition to fantastic property management tools. Read Review

  • ⦿Credit reports directly from TransUnion
  • ⦿Extensive set of tools for property management
  • ⦿Two week free trial of the service
PRICE:
$50 to $460 base + $15 or $18 for screening
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
Yes
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
Yes
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Yes
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Only with premium tenant tracking
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
Email, help center, phone, website form, ticket support

7. SmartMove

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Bottom line

TransUnion’s SmartMove is the best tenant screening service for people looking to get this service directly from a credit bureau. It offers a unique credit-based “Resident Score.” However, its instant criminal background checks are not available in all states. Read Review

  • ⦿Information directly from a credit bureau
  • ⦿Unique credit-based Resident Score
  • ⦿Multi-state criminal check in the basic plan
PRICE:
$25 - $40
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
None
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
Basic Plus plan and above
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Yes
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Basic Plus plan and above
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
FAQ, online form

8. RentRedi

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Bottom line

RentRedi deserves a spot on our list of the top tenant-screening companies for taking mobile apps for landlords and tenants to another level. This app allows screening of tenants, handling rent payments, list properties, and even managing maintenance requests. Read Review

  • ⦿All-inclusive tenant/landlord app
  • ⦿Auto-screening available
  • ⦿TransUnion-certified
PRICE:
$9/month to $19.95/month
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
Available
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
Available
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Available
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Available
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
Email, phone, live chat, help center

9. Experian

Experian Logo
Bottom line

First and foremost, Experian is one of the three legitimate credit-reporting agencies. It’s also a leading provider of tenant verification and background-check solutions. It has a database of more than 220 million individuals and 27 million businesses worldwide, and if you’re looking for the best background check app, you should know that Experian has a dedicated app for both iOS and Android devices. Its services are highly beneficial to real estate agents, landlords, property management companies, and commercial leasing agents looking to verify potential tenants’ credit reports, employment and payment history, and more. Read Review

  • ⦿A direct product of Experian
  • ⦿Charges tenants directly
  • ⦿Credit check included
Price:
$0 to ​​$49.95
Credit score tracking:
Yes
Employment status tracking:
Yes
Criminal background check:
No
Residence and eviction history:
Yes
Customer support options:
FAQ, phone, email

10. TurboTenant

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Bottom line

TurboTenant offers an extensive set of free property management and rental tools, however their tenant screening services are not cheap. On the upside, they offer nationwide criminal checks across all plans, and their credit and eviction checks are pretty thorough as well. Read Review

  • ⦿Detailed tenant reports
  • ⦿Excellent set of property management and rental tools
  • ⦿Instant screening results
PRICE:
$35 - $45
CREDIT SCORE TRACKING:
Yes
EMPLOYMENT STATUS TRACKING:
No
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK:
Yes
RESIDENCE AND EVICTION HISTORY:
Yes
CUSTOMER SUPPORT OPTIONS:
Email, website, help center

Our Methodology

Real estate is a volatile market. According to Statista, nearly one million people get evicted each year. How can you make sure you are getting tenants you can count on to pay their rent and leave the place as they found it or better? By checking our tenant screening services reviews and picking your favorite, of course! We’ve gone behind the scenes and done the homework so you don’t have to.

Read on to find all the information you need about credit reporting, criminal background and eviction notice checks, and more. Before going further, let’s take a look at the criteria that we used to choose our picks.

Pricing

The first thing we evaluate when looking at tenant screening services is the pricing scheme. Screening and background checks for renters can be offered as a la carte services or as part of a larger (and more expensive) plan. There are even sites that can help you get a completely free tenant background check, however these understandably tend to be feature-limited when compared to their paid counterparts. This category is all about evaluating the pricing scheme of the chosen service and how much value you are getting for your money.

Credit Score and Employment Status

The best tenant background check services are able to do a thorough credit score check and find out everything you need to know about your tenant’s employment status and work history. Performing a credit check for tenants and looking into their employment history are often available with premium services or come bundled with the more expensive pricing plans. This category determines whether credit score and employment status tracking is available, how detailed the reports are and what the terms and conditions are for using these services.

Criminal Background Check

When doing a tenant background check, landlords are generally interested in finding out about any past transgressions their future tenants might have committed. Criminal background checks are a commonly requested feature and the best tenant screening services offer this feature as part of most of their pricing plans. This category considers which criminal background checks are available (nationwide or state-specific) and how detailed the tenant reports are.

Residence and Eviction History

Another feature commonly requested by landlords is residence and eviction history. Your tenant does not have to be a hardened criminal in order to be a bad renter. People who have a history of late payments and evictions are sure to raise a red flag, and this is something you ideally want to know about before giving them your house key.

When performing a renter background check, companies usually provide the lengths of previous residences, potential eviction notices and addresses of previous landowners. This category looks at what reporting options are available, and how detailed tenant screening reports are.

Reporting and Additional Features

Where does the service get its credit reporting information from? How long does it take from the moment you apply for a tenant check to the moment you receive the report? Do you request and obtain the reports through email or other means? Does the company provide automated adverse action letters based on their reports, or does it offer denial letter templates? This category is concerned with how tenant reports are made, their turnaround time, and the methods of obtaining them. It also looks at any additional and unique features that the service may offer.

Customer Support

Any reputable background check company will pay special attention to the user experience. As a landlord, you’re bound to have a lot of questions about what the tenant background screening checks entail. This category evaluates the user experience, through assessing the customer support platform and looking at the available options for getting in touch with support staff.

Featured Snippet Image

Best Tenant Screening Services

  1. LeaseRunner
  2. RentPrep
  3. MyRental
  4. Avail
  5. RentSpree

Tenant Screening Services Reviews

LeaseRunner Review

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Value for money

VARIES

Turnaround speed

EXCELLENT

Customer support

EXCELLENT

Standout feature

A LA CARTE SYSTEM AND FREE RENTAL APPLICATION TEMPLATES

  • ⦿ Rental application templates are free
  • ⦿ Pick and choose tenant background check options
  • ⦿ Wide variety of bonus services for landlords

Overview

LeaseRunner is a service offered by an independent company of the same name based in Denver, Colorado. It’s been around since 2011 and it is unique on our list for offering an a la carte system instead of featured plans. 

It offers all sorts of background screening and credit check services for landlords but those looking for multiple services may find the price higher than the competition. LeaseRunner does, however, give you the option of choosing who will cover the screening fees — the landlord or the applicant. 

Pricing Plans and Features

As mentioned above, there are no LeaseRunner plans to choose from. Instead, landlords looking for a tenant background check are free to choose the service(s) that they need. For example, you need $20 to run a credit check on a tenant. This gets you an Experian tenant credit check, as well  as a verification of the tenant’s current employer and previous address. However, it doesn’t include a nationwide eviction report, which you have to pay an additional $12 for. 

Speaking of additional costs, a full financial report with a bank account balance costs $10. The final option is the $15 criminal report, which gets you a nationwide report that includes a look at sex offender registries and terrorist watch lists. In addition to online tenant screening, you can also opt for other services, such as state-specific lease agreements, ACH online rent collection, rental ad tools and more.

Reporting

LeaseRunner releases reports differently than most of its competitors. First off, its reports come from Experian rather than TransUnion. Secondly, it uses VantageScore instead of FICO or TransUnion’s credit score. It also provides templates that comply with FCRA regulations. If you opt to get a credit check for tenants, it has to authorize it, leading to a soft pull that won’t damage their credit score. Reports are generated and delivered very quickly.

Customer Support

The best tenant screening services offer plenty of methods for reaching customer support teams. Should something go wrong for you or your potential tenant while using LeaseRunner’s services, or you simply have a question about their services, you can reach customer support via email or on a toll-free phone number. You can also consult the exhaustive support center on their website.

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RentPrep Review

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Value for money

VERY GOOD

Turnaround speed

EXCELLENT

Customer support

EXCELLENT

Standout feature

LIVE SCREENING

  • ⦿ Soft credit pull
  • ⦿ Cheapest background check for tenants
  • ⦿ Manual verification of tenant information

Overview

RentPrep is a community-driven tenant screening service aimed at property owners. It was conceived by Fidelis Screening Solutions, a company providing tenant credit and background checks since 2007. It offers a variety of screening services between its two main plans and it even has some unique features which we’ll cover below.

Pricing Plans and Features

Depending on your needs and budget, there are two pricing plans available at RentPrep. If you just need a background check, the cost is $21 – one of the lowe prices on our list. This plan gets you features such as address history, Social Security number verification, national eviction data, and information on the tenant’s judgments, liens, and bankruptcies. You can add $6 to add a nationwide criminal and sex-offender search and $11 for a credit decision report. You can also get income verification for an additional $10.

If you want a more thorough background check for renters, which automatically includes criminal background checks and credit check services, you can opt for RentPrep’s $38.00 SmartMove full credit report. The national criminal and sex offender search is included free of charge, however you have to pay $7 to get access to judgements and liens, a feature available in the Background Check option.

Reporting

RentPrep gets its reports from TransUnion’s SmartMove. This tenant credit check is a soft pull, which means that it doesn’t impact the renter’s credit score. In addition to the standard report, RentPrep also provides a credit score for the tenant. Fidelis Screening Solutions takes FCRA compliance very seriously and makes a serious effort to keep up with any changes, so that landlords are protected from accidentally breaking certain tenant discrimination laws. Another noteworthy feature is that RentPrep uses FCRA-certified credit screeners, making sure that someone manually verifies all of the tenant’s information. This level of dedication is invaluable to many landowners.

Customer Support

RentPrep reviews show that tenants are generally satisfied with its customer service. There is a wealth of options here, ranging from contact with the support staff through a form on the website, phone, fax, and email. There is also an in-depth “Resources” section on the site, which contains FAQ’s and various help articles.

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MyRental Review

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Value for money

EXCELLENT

Turnaround speed

EXCELLENT

Customer support

VERY GOOD

Standout feature

AUTOMATED ADVERSE ACTION LETTERS

  • ⦿ Adverse action letters are automated
  • ⦿ Flexible services and pricing
  • ⦿ Excellent tenant screening options

Overview

MyRental is an online tenant screening and background check service by CoreLogic, designed for independent rental owners, real estate agents, and property managers. It was founded in 2010 and offers two different pricing plans starting at $24.99, as well as an a la carte menu from as low as $7.99. MyRental’s tenant screening services for landlords provide credit reports, tenant scores, background checks, and more.

Pricing Plans and Features

MyRental offers great flexibility when it comes to its services. The starting, Basic plan costs $24.99 a month and offers criminal background checks across several states, as well as eviction and unpaid rent notices and court rulings. In order to get access to your tenant’s employment status and history you need to move up to the $34.99 Premium plan. This plan also grants you access to MyRental’s tenant credit reporting and income verification features. At this level, tenant verification services can also be paid for by the tenants themselves.

In addition to these benefits, the Premium plan will give you the option of comparing your tenant’s scores to the local averages. You can also use it to check how local landlords deal with tenants whose scores roughly match those awarded to your potential renter. This functionality used to be part of the Premium Plus package before the first two plans got merged into one.

Finally, if you only need certain services, you can purchase them individually. Obtaining a rental background check with eviction history will set you back $7.99, while credit history costs $14.99. Criminal reports range from $9.99 to $19.99, depending on whether you need reports within the state, county or nationwide.

Reporting

MyRental uses TransUnion credit screening services, and performs a soft credit check that doesn’t impact your tenant’s credit score. Instead of a credit score, landlords receive tenant scores that measure the risk of defaulting on a lease.

The final product is an easy-to-understand document with a tenant risk score and all the relevant data you’re entitled to according to your payment plan. Additionally, MyRental offers unique Adverse Action Letter functionality, automatically creating a denial letter template based on its reports. The tenant credit and background check happens as soon as your tenant has verified their identity, so report turnaround time is more or less instantaneous.

Customer Support

MyRental offers live chat support during weekdays and on Saturdays, as well as a toll-free number for inquiries and email support for those signed up for one of their plans.

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Avail Review

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Value for money:

EXCELLENT

Turnaround speed:

EXCELLENT

Customer support:

EXCELLENT

Standout feature:

EXTENSIVE LIBRARY WITH FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

  • ⦿ Full-service property management
  • ⦿ Great landlord packages
  • ⦿ Free tenant rental background checks for one property

Overview

Established in 2012 by a small real estate company with the same name based in Chicago, Illinois, Avail has quickly made a name for itself as the best tenant screening service for landlords who want to advance from beginners to professionals with the help of the platforms’ educational tools. Realtor.com acquired the company in 2020, in hopes of expanding the platform’s capabilities.

Users can advertise vacant apartments, track maintenance, sign leases, and collect rent without paying a cent, as this property management software has the best free plan on the market. 

Pricing Plans and Features

There isn’t a free trial, but the good news is - there’s a feature-rich free Unlimited Plan designed to get you through all parts of the rental cycle for unlimited units. The free plan gives landlords access to syndicated listings, state-specific leases, maintenance tracking, and online rent collection. 

A good tenant screening service must also offer background checks, and Avail is no exception; however, if you’d like to get more than a job and rental history and income verification, you’ll have to upgrade or pay additional fees

Unlimited Plus is an affordable package that’ll cost you just $5 per unit per month and comes with all the features listed in the free plan, plus some additional ones: next-day rent payments, custom applications and lease agreements, an option to create a website for your property, and waiving ACH fees. There’s also the possibility to clone and reuse custom lease agreements, which comes in handy for personalizing and tweaking contracts

Even though with the free plan, you get basic background checks to help you find a good tenant for your rental property, advanced screening reports are locked behind a paywall. You can request a credit report that contains the prospective tenant’s credit score, credit history, and adverse items for an additional $30. To get the full report that also checks federal watch lists, OFAC watch lists, the National Sex Offender Registry, and eviction databases, you’ll have to part with $55.

Reporting

Reports provided by Avail come from TransUnion, and all credit score checks need to be approved by the applicant first. Landlords can request authorization by simply entering the applicant’s name and email address. Unlike some other online tenant screening service companies, Avail lets the landlord decide who’ll pay for the credit report - sellers or buyers. Applicants looking for a new home can rest assured that the soft credit inquiry won’t hurt their scores. What’s more, the report can be reused in unlimited applications within 90 days. 

Customer Support

Free educational resources are an area in which Avail truly excels. Its website contains an extensive knowledge base with dozens of articles, guides, relevant laws, and resources about taxes, the rental market, insurance, LLCs, and more. 

However, we understand that, despite this sizable library of informative posts, users might still sometimes need to get in touch with a company representative to get clarifications. Luckily, Avail’s customer support agents are available round the clock, and you can reach out to them by filling out the contact form on Avail’s website, via the live chat function, phone, or email. All in all, if you started reading this review with the question, “What is the best tenant screening service for DIY landlords on a budget?” in your mind, Avail might just be the solution you’ve been searching for.

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RentSpree Review

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Value for money:

EXCELLENT

Turnaround speed:

EXCELLENT

Customer support:

GOOD

Standout feature:

SIZEABLE RENTING MANAGEMENT FEATURES

  • ⦿ Access to National Sex Offender Registry
  • ⦿ Integral partnership with TransUnion
  • ⦿ Tenant screening via API

Overview

RentSpree was established in 2016 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, a partnership with TransUnion, and a stellar reputation. More than 90,000 agents and landlords are using its award-winning property management software to streamline every step of the rental process. It operates in all 50 states and offers one of the best and most comprehensive tenant screening services, along with renter management and a range of other features. Customers also have the option to integrate tenant screening processes into other platforms via RentSpree’s API. 

Pricing Plans and Features

Even though there isn’t a free trial, there is a generous free Starter plan which includes most of the crucial features for landlords. Without any cost, you can access a comprehensive report that includes a fully detailed credit report, criminal background checks across 44 states and eviction-related proceedings, with full protection of all the sensitive data. Renters pay a $30 fee for the reports, which is a 
standard price in the industry, and the reports are generated instantaneously

Starter plan subscribers also get a free online rental application to simplify data collection. Not all the best residential tenant screening services offer a renters insurance option, but RentSpree does. The insurance guarantees peace of mind for the landlords and protects tenants and their belongings. Another useful feature bundled with a Starter plan is an online rent collection tool with secure transactions powered by Stripe. Also, the e-sign feature allows you to sign documents and request signatures online.

For Automated Reference Checks and Renter Document Upload, you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro plan, which costs $9.99 per month. Meanwhile, the Enterprise plan offers custom prices, as well as a Branded Landing Page and an unlimited number of PRO memberships. Finally, as one of the best-rated tenant screening services, RentSpree can issue a Rent Estimate Report that lets you set the right pricing range for your property for an additional $19.99.

Reporting

All the reports that you can get from RentSpree are provided by TransUnion. With over 40 years of experience, the agency securely screens potential tenants and delivers accurate information on their credit score, criminal record, and eviction-related proceedings. Every credit report provides a detailed Resident Score, fraud indicators, loans, late payments, and much more without damaging the applicant’s credit score. 

So what are the best tenant screening services when it comes to criminal records? RentSpree is definitely near the top of the list as it pulls data from the National Sex Offender Registry, the Most Wanted Database, OFAC, and other nationwide databases. With access to over 25 million evictions in 50 states and US territories, you’ll also get accurate insight into your tenants’ eviction-related proceedings, if applicable.

Customer Support

As the tenant screening process can be sensitive, you might have concerns or face glitches along the way. Should you need assistance, you can always lean on the RentSpree customer support agents. You can reach out to them for free via phone, email, or live chat from Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. PST. You can also schedule a free 
one-on-one demo with their team. Additionally, there’s an option to watch comprehensive video tutorials, check their vast knowledge base and blog posts, or go through the FAQ section on the website.

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Buildium Review

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Value for money

FAIR (EXCELLENT IF LOOKING FOR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TOOLS AS WELL)

Turnaround speed

EXCELLENT

Customer support

VERY GOOD

Standout feature

EXTENSIVE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT TOOLS

  • ⦿ Cloud-based property management features
  • ⦿ Extensive background check options
  • ⦿ Great customer support

Overview

Buildium was founded in 2004, and its headquarters are located in Boston, Massachusetts. While it may not necessarily be the best background check service for your tenants in this price range, the company offers much more than a simple rental credit check service. In fact, it provides a whole host of cloud-based property management options for landlords, which we’ll also briefly talk about in this review.

Pricing Plans and Features

As we said, the first thing to understand with Buildium is that the company is not a dedicated tenant screening service. Instead, its aim is to streamline the management of multiple properties through its cloud management system. Therefore, the initial price can be very steep and tenant screening for landlords is a feature that you pay extra for, instead of being the main focus of the offer. 

The three plans that you can choose between are called Essential, Growth and Premium. You can also opt to test out all of Buildium’s features with a two-week free trial. 

Essential is the basic plan, starting at $50 per month. It comes with accounting and maintenance features, but also provides options for tasks and violations. Resident & Board Member Communications features are also included, as are Online Portals, and a free marketing website. You can also get basic tenant screening and buy bonus features such as e-signatures and property inspections. In order to get the tenant screening service to review your future renters, you need to pay $15 for basic screening (or pass it on to your tenant, in which case the fee is $30).

In order to get the most out of Buildium, you’ll want to go with either the $160+ Growth or $460+ Premium packages. These offer unlimited e-leases, phone-based customer support, and most importantly, the ability to get access to premium tenant screening for $18. 

Speaking of client background checks, the basic screening includes a credit check for your tenant from TransUnion, together with its exclusive rental recommendation and a complete background check with identity verification. You can also find out if they are on the National Sex Offender Registry, or have other criminal records on file.

Premium screening adds previous eviction history, as well as a unified document that sums up all three reports (criminal background, credit and employment history checks). It also delivers faster results and minimizes applicant involvement, but requires a one-time setup fee of $99 and accreditation for your business, which can take some time.

Reporting

As mentioned earlier, reporting is done through TransUnion. The key thing to remember is that these are soft credit score checks that require your potential renter’s approval and will not negatively affect their credit score.

Customer Support

People discussing the best tenant screening services on Reddit and various other social networks often mention the importance of good customer service. Buildium offers phone support from 9:00 to 20:00 Eastern Standard Time. You can also contact them via the ticketing system available on the site, or check out the very detailed Help Center that’s full of useful information. We found customer support representatives to be friendly, and quick to respond to phone queries. The only problem is that the starting Essential plan only gives you access to ticket-based customer service.

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Read Full Review

SmartMove Review

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Value for money

GOOD

Turnaround speed

EXCELLENT

Customer support

AVERAGE

Standout feature

CREDIT-BASED RESIDENT SCORE

  • ⦿ Information directly from Transunion credit data
  • ⦿ Unique Resident Score based on credit rating
  • ⦿ Basic plan includes criminal check across several states

Overview

SmartMove is a TransUnion background check service used by over 3 million landowners and 4 million tenants today. It was launched in 2010 and offers three plans ranging from $25 to $40, which can be paid for by the landlord or the tenant. The plans cover all standard screening features, but unlike most plans, prior residence and eviction plans are replaced by criminal background checks in the basic plan.

Pricing Plans and Features

When performing a background check for renters different landlords have different priorities. One common request though is previous residence and eviction history. Unfortunately, SmartMove’s SmartCheck Basic plan doesn’t offer this functionality.
Instead, for $25 you can get a multi-state criminal background check and SmartMove’s unique credit-based Resident Score, an overall tenant score developed in-house by TransUnion. Unfortunately, not all states offer the criminal background check, so if you live in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Delaware and Massachusetts, you will be blocked from this feature. Moving up to the $38-SmartCheck Basic Plus plan adds a full renter credit check and a detailed rental background check which includes a national eviction report.

If you’re ponying up additional cash, you may consider adding $2 more and opt for their $40 SmartCheck Premium plan. In addition to rental history, criminal background and credit check for renters , this plan also gets you an estimate on whether their reported credit score aligns with their credit behavior. You’re also advised on whether you should ask for additional proof of income from your applicant. This system is great in theory, but it can be way off in practice. People who are big spenders may throw off the figures for thrifty savers who have the same effective income but tend to spend less.

Reporting

TransUnion’s credit reporting system requires authorization from the person being checked, so it’s a soft pull that doesn’t affect their credit score. TransUnion SmartMove reviews often talk about their unique credit-based Resident Score. It is a system that looks at over 500,000 resident records and ranks tenants from 350 to 850, similar to FICO’s credit score ranking. Scores up to 537 are red flags to avoid the tenant or offer conditional lease terms, while those above 560 are generally considered safe. SmartMove’s reports are generated instantaneously, as long as all of the necessary information is provided by the landlord and/or tenant.

Customer Support

Compared to some other companies on our list, TransUnion offers very limited customer support options. The only way to get in touch with the customer support if you have questions about its tenant background check reviews – or any other inquiry for that matter – is through an online form on their website. Alternatively, you can consult their extensive FAQ within the same help section on their page.

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RentRedi Review

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Value for money

EXCELLENT

Turnaround speed

GOOD

Customer support

EXCELLENT

Standout feature

TENANTS COVER SCREENING FEES

  • ⦿ Excellent screening options
  • ⦿ Automated rent collection
  • ⦿ Maintenance requests management

Overview

RentRedi is an all-in-one app bound to become every landlord’s best friend in the near future. It is undoubtedly some of the best tenant screening and background check options currently available on the market. It’s fully landlord-oriented and helps with much more than just choosing the best tenant.

Pricing Plans and Features

RentRedi is among the cheapest offers on the market, especially if one signs up for a year – in which case the price is $9 per month. If, however, you decide to pay as you go, the app will set you back $19.95 each month. When it comes to tenant screening, landlords are in luck – this service is charged as a one-time payment of $35 to the tenant.

Unlike some other tenant screening companies, RentRedi offers many features that make it worth the expense. It allows online rent collection and logs it in Quickbooks so that you don’t have to keep track of payments yourself. What’s more, it offers simplistic procedures to manage the requests you’ll receive as a landlord – from leaking taps to broken windows – so you can effortlessly organize and meet your obligations to your tenant.

Communication with your tenants – current and future – is made easy through the in-app chat option. No more unnecessary calls or indefinite messaging – this app handles it all impeccably.

Reporting

RentRedi is one of the best apps for tenant background checks available in terms of reporting. Thanks to its partnership with TransUnion, the reports are accurate, with complete credit information and criminal and eviction history. All this data is coming from a trusted source, so you don’t have to rely on what your tenant told you about themselves. 

Customer Support

You can reach RentRedi’s customer support via phone, email, or live chat via the website, which also features an extensive help center with answers to some of the most common issues people experience with the app. Should you still need the help of a real person to solve your problem, customer support has been praised in many tenant background search reviews as being exceptionally quick to reply.

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Experian Review

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Value for money:

EXCELLENT

Turnaround speed:

VERY GOOD

Customer support:

VERY GOOD

Standout feature:

CREDIT REPORTING BY EXPERIAN

  • ⦿ Affordable pricing plans
  • ⦿ Quick and detailed reports
  • ⦿ Evictions, bankruptcies, and tax liens included

Overview

Experian is one of the best tenant screening websites for people who want to get affordable, in-depth information on their applicants. There are two main categories of screening reports you can request: Residential tenant screening reports and commercial tenant screening reports. Let’s see what each includes and their price tags.

Pricing Plans and Features

The pricing plans at Experian are transparent and to the point. Residential tenant screening reports have three sub-categories:

  • Experian Credit Report and Score for Tenant Screening 

This is the report for which you don't have to pay anything. Your prospective tenant does, and it will cost them $14.95. Therefore, those looking for the best background check site will be pleased to hear they will get an extensive report completely free of charge. This report includes a person’s credit rating, score, and score factors. It also contains the person’s name, AKAs, addresses, public record filings, payment history, credit accounts, and credit Inquiries for the past 24 months.

  • Decisioning Credit Profile Report for Tenant Screening 

This report comes with a $12.95 fee and requires monthly minimums, membership fee, and on-site inspection. This report includes previously mentioned features and adds a credit profile summary, OFAC database search, rental decision, fraud summary, revolving, instalment, mortgage, and collection account details, and payment history.

  • Credit Profile Report and Score for Tenant Screening 

If you wish to run a tenant background search and only have your tenant’s name and address from their rental application, you can use this credit report and score from Experian for $6.95. Be advised that this report requires monthly minimums, membership fee, and on-site inspection, and includes all previously mentioned features.

When it comes to commercial tenant screening reports, there are two subsections:

  • Business ProfilePlusSM Report

This report includes a business address, key personnel, sales, total employees, SIC code/description credit ranking, and key score factors. It also includes trade payment details and trends, inquiries, collections, tax liens, judgments, and UCC filings. The price for this report is $49.95.

  • Business CreditScoreSM Report

If you wish to perform a commercial tenant credit check, Business CreditScoreSM Report might be a good option. It is a business credit report that includes business address, sales, key personnel, total employees and SIC code/description credit ranking, and key score factors. It also provides payment summary, collection, tax lien, and judgment filings. The price of this report is $39.95.

Reporting

As one of the three major credit bureaus in the US, Experian has a huge database with hundreds of millions of individuals. Their RentBureau® division receives rental payment histories from property management companies nationwide and updates them every 24 hours. These are just some of the things that make Experian one of the best tenant screening services on the market. Their tenant screening reports are comprehensive and budget-friendly; some even pass the cost onto the tenant.

Customer Support

You can reach Experian’s excellent customer support team through a form on the website, emailing [email protected], as well as via phone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

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TurboTenant Review

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Value for money

GOOD

Turnaround speed

EXCELLENT

Customer support

FAIR

Standout feature

STATEWIDE CRIMINAL REPORTS AND SSN VERIFICATION ACROSS ALL PLANS

  • ⦿ Fantastic set of free property management features
  • ⦿ Excellent statewide criminal checks for tenants
  • ⦿ Detailed eviction reports

Overview

TurboTenant holds a well-deserved spot on  our list of the best tenant screening sites you can find on the web. Although it’s only been in the business for about five years, its excellent property listing and management platform has brought them plenty of satisfied customers. 

Pricing Plans and Features

TurboTenant’s main features, including online rental applications, pre-screening questionnaires and rental marketing are completely free of charge. Tenant screening, however, has two tiers, and can be paid for by the landlords themselves, or passed on to the prospective tenants. While they do provide credit checks for landlords who want to know their renter’s credit history, there is no employment or income verification. So, what is included in TurboTenet’s two tenant screening plans?

The basic plan, TurboReport, costs $35 and includes credit and criminal reports for tenants. The credit report consists of a credit bureau score from TransUnion, their payment history, civil records, SSN verification, fraud indicators, employment history, and more. The criminal background check is also very thorough. Much like the best websites for background checks that we’ve reviewed, it includes nationwide database checks, even in the basic plan. 

The one thing that’s missing from the basic plan is eviction history. Ponying up another $10 dollars ($45 in total) gets you the TurboReport Pro. It provides a detailed comparison of over 25 million eviction records, as well as reports on unlawful detainees, failures to pay rent, writs and warrants of eviction and more. The one thing missing is current income and employment verification, but someone’s previous employment history and other credit and eviction-related details should be enough to form a clear picture about your potential future tenant.

Reporting

Almost all of the best tenant screening services rely on credit information from TransUnion, and TurboTenant is no different. In addition to standard credit soft checks, TurboTenant also does a verification of the prospective tenant’s Social Security Number, and its criminal record reports are also some of the most detailed ones in the business.

Customer Support

TurboTenant has an in-depth help center on the site, but you can only reach representatives via email, as there is no dedicated live chat or phone number listed. Customer support was relatively quick to respond to our queries, but most people won’t enjoy not having the option for an immediate response.

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FAQ
How do you screen potential tenants?

The best way is to find an online screening service. You can check out our tenant screening reviews for ideas on which companies to consult and learn what important criteria to consider when screening potential tenants. 

What questions should I ask a potential renter?

You mainly want to find out their rental history and potential eviction notices. Additionally, you should be interested in their criminal records, credit score and employment information.

What does a rental background check consist of?

Rental background checks usually take a look at prospective tenants' credit reports and proof of income as well as eviction, criminal and employment histories.

How much does tenant screening cost?

This depends on what service you pick and which features you need. Plans typically range from $18.95 to $49.99 and an à la carte system can start from as low as $7.95 per feature.

How far back does a tenant background check go?

The best online background check will go as deep as possible. Criminal records are available from a person’s 18th birthday onwards, while credit checks usually go back seven to ten years. Some states like Texas also impose time limits on certain criteria, but for the most part it comes down to the screening companies themselves.

How do I do a credit check on a potential renter?

It’s best to consult one of the credit check services such as MyRental, Smartmove etc. There are three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. And depending on the company you choose, you will get credit reporting from a different bureau. The best tenant screening services commonly use TransUnion, and these are soft credit checks that don’t affect your potential tenant’s credit score.

Is it illegal to lie on rental application?

This depends on whether or not it is notarized. It’s technically not illegal unless your signatures are under penalty of perjury. However, it is still valid grounds for eviction, so it’s well-worth investigating if your tenants are hiding something.