7 Best Tenant Screening Services of 2020

Ivan Stevanovic
By Ivan Stevanovic
Last updated: September 4, 2020

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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1. RentPrep

  • Inexpensive background check
  • Live screening
  • Excellent FCRA compliance

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 full review

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Price:

$18.95 - $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

  • Inexpensive background check
  • Live screening
  • Excellent FCRA compliance

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 full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

$18.95 - $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

  • Inexpensive background check
  • Live screening
  • Excellent FCRA compliance

2. MyRental

  • Fantastic suite of screening options
  • Versatile pricing
  • Automatic adverse action letters

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 full review

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

  • Fantastic suite of screening options
  • Versatile pricing
  • Automatic adverse action letters

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 full review

VISIT WEBSITE
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

  • Fantastic suite of screening options
  • Versatile pricing
  • Automatic adverse action letters

3. TurboTenant

  • Detailed tenant reports
  • Excellent set of property management and rental tools
  • Instant screening results

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.

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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

  • Detailed tenant reports
  • Excellent set of property management and rental tools
  • Instant screening results

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 full review

VISIT WEBSITE
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

  • Detailed tenant reports
  • Excellent set of property management and rental tools
  • Instant screening results

4. Buildium

  • Credit reports directly from TransUnion
  • Extensive set of tools for property management
  • Two week free trial of the service

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 full review

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

  • Credit reports directly from TransUnion
  • Extensive set of tools for property management
  • Two week free trial of the service

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 full review

VISIT WEBSITE
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

  • Credit reports directly from TransUnion
  • Extensive set of tools for property management
  • Two week free trial of the service

5. TenantAlert

  • Wide range of plans
  • Unique features
  • Credit reports from all 3 bureaus available

TenantAlert offers the best background check app if you want a wealth of options and credit scores from different bureaus. It has four different plans and you can pick which of the three big credit bureaus will be used for reporting on your prospective tenant. The main limitation is that most plans include state-only eviction notices and criminal background checks.

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Price:

$24.95 - $49.95

Credit score tracking:

Yes

Employment status tracking:

No

Criminal background check:

State-only for most plans

Residence and eviction history:

State-only eviction for most plans

Customer support options:

FAQ, phone, website

  • Wide range of plans
  • Unique features
  • Credit reports from all 3 bureaus available

TenantAlert offers the best background check app if you want a wealth of options and credit scores from different bureaus. It has four different plans and you can pick which of the three big credit bureaus will be used for reporting on your prospective tenant. The main limitation is that most plans include state-only eviction notices and criminal background checks. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

$24.95 - $49.95

Credit score tracking:

Yes

Employment status tracking:

No

Criminal background check:

State-only for most plans

Residence and eviction history:

State-only eviction for most plans

Customer support options:

FAQ, phone, website

  • Wide range of plans
  • Unique features
  • Credit reports from all 3 bureaus available

6. Verify Tenant

  • Customizable plans
  • Extensive screening options for members
  • Lots of helpful materials on the website

Although it’s one of the lesser known providers on our list, VerifyTenant might just be the best background check service provider if you need to check out the criminal history of your prospective tenants first and foremost. The biggest downside here is that you need a complicated membership with the company in order to get credit checks on your tenants.

read full review

Price:

$20-$25 (custom plans priced separately)

Credit score tracking:

Available only with membership

Employment status tracking:

Yes

Criminal background check:

Across 50 different states

Residence and eviction history:

Yes

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, phone

  • Customizable plans
  • Extensive screening options for members
  • Lots of helpful materials on the website

Although it’s one of the lesser known providers on our list, VerifyTenant might just be the best background check service provider if you need to check out the criminal history of your prospective tenants first and foremost. The biggest downside here is that you need a complicated membership with the company in order to get credit checks on your tenants. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

$20-$25 (custom plans priced separately)

Credit score tracking:

Available only with membership

Employment status tracking:

Yes

Criminal background check:

Across 50 different states

Residence and eviction history:

Yes

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, phone

  • Customizable plans
  • Extensive screening options for members
  • Lots of helpful materials on the website

7. SmartMove

  • Information directly from a credit bureau
  • Unique credit-based Resident Score
  • Multi-state criminal check in the basic plan

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 full review

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

  • Information directly from a credit bureau
  • Unique credit-based Resident Score
  • Multi-state criminal check in the basic plan

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 full review

VISIT WEBSITE
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

  • Information directly from a credit bureau
  • Unique credit-based Resident Score
  • Multi-state criminal check in the basic plan

Related Products and Services

Best of the Best Awards

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.

7 Best Tenant Screening Services

  • 1. RentPrep
  • 2. MyRental
  • 3. TurboTenant
  • 4. Buildium
  • 5. TenantAlert
  • 6. Verify Tenant
  • 7. SmartMove

Tenant Screening Services Reviews

Key Features
  • Value for Money - Very good
  • Turnaround Speed - Excellent
  • Customer Support - Excellent
  • Standout Feature - Live screening
Additional Features
  • 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 $18.95 – the lowest of any solution 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 $4 to add a nationwide criminal and sex-offender search and $9.95 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 $4.95 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.

Key Features
  • Value for Money - Excellent
  • Turnaround Speed - Excellent
  • Customer Support - Very good
  • Standout Feature - Automated adverse action letters
Additional Features
  • 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.

Key Features
  • Value for moneyGood - Good
  • Turnaround speed - Excellent
  • Customer support - Fair
  • Standout feature - Statewide criminal reports and SSN verification across all plans
Additional Features
  • 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.

Key Features
  • 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
Additional Features
  • 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 and it comes with free balance sheets, income statements, ticket based support and a free marketing website. You can also get basic tenant screening and buy bonus features such as e-leases 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 a form 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.

Key Features
  • Value for money - Very good
  • Turnaround speed - Very good
  • Customer support - Very good
  • Standout feature - TeleCheck verification and LeaseGuarantee
Additional Features
  • Over 30 years of industry experience
  • Four different pricing plans
  • LeaseGuarantee insurance available

Overview

TenantAlert is one of the best tenant screening websites for people who like having a lot of options. Between its four different pricing plans, this company covers all of the standard tenant screening features, from criminal and credit checks to employment and rental history.

Pricing Plans and Features

The pricing plans at TenantAlert are transparent and to the point. The Basic plan costs $24.95 and includes a tenant credit report, TeleCheck check verification, and previous address history. Upgrading to the Plus plan ($29.95) adds statewide eviction checks as well as a LeaseGuarantee analysis, which gives you a summary of the tenant’s eligibility for obtaining LeaseGuarantee insurance.

 

Those looking for the best background check site will be pleased that TenantAlert also offers extensive criminal checks. Unfortunately, the Pro tier plan ($39.95) only does so statewide, while the most expensive (Premiere) plan adds nationwide checks. In addition, both plans look at the terrorist, and sex offender watchlist, as well as various other federal registries, while the Premiere plan also checks for Social Security number fraud.

It’s worth noting that landlords can opt to bill their tenants regardless of the tier they have purchased, meaning that you can get completely free tenant screening, as long as your tenants are willing to foot the bill. You can also set up an account without choosing a plan, which is helpful because there are no free trial options available.

Reporting

Like the best tenant screening services on the market, TenantAlert offers a couple of unique options when it comes to reporting. All customers get the TeleCheck verification feature, regardless of what package they purchase. This conducts a massive search to find out if your tenants have a history of fishy checks. The other unique feature is that you can pick which of the three major bureaus you want a credit report from (TransUnion, Equifax or Experian). As client-authorized credit checks are soft checks, they won’t damage your client’s credit score. 

Customer Support

You can reach the excellent customer support team through a form on the website, as well as via phone and live chat from 8:00 to 17:00 PST Monday through Friday.

Key Features
  • Value for money - very good
  • Turnaround speed - Excellent
  • Customer support - Good
  • Standout feature - Extensive criminal records and customizable packages
Additional Features
  • Fantastic criminal checks across all plans
  • No monthly subscriptions, unless you require credit history
  • Instant results (on most checks)

Overview

VerifyTenant has been around since 2005. It was founded in Dania Beach, Florida, by a woman called Vivian Manevich-Siegel. The company has performed over 17,500 successful screenings and it offers a variety of tenant background search options, available as one-off purchases or package deals. In order to get credit reports, though, you need to become a member.

Pricing Plans and Features

VerifyTenant offers three different plans that include various tenant screening reports focused on criminal background checks. The starting package, Silver, checks national criminal records, the sex offender registry and the terrorist watchlist for a one-off payment of $20. These options are usually offered in higher tiers with other providers, so it’s nice to see them in an entry level plan.

The $25 Gold Package adds one of the best background checks for landlords: the prospective tenant’s eviction history. With it, you can easily tell if your tenant has had trouble with previous landlords – one of the first red flags to look out for. The other nice thing about the plans is that the company promises instant checks, so you’ll be able to find out information about your tenant very quickly. All you need to do is provide the prospective tenant’s name, email address, date of birth and Social Security number. 

The most expensive plan is called Platinum, and for $30 it will provide everything listed above plus employment and residence verification, as well as a more detailed character background check.

In addition to choosing one of the three plans, you can also pick the best tenant screening services from a list on its website, and get in touch with the company for a quote. Just remember that you won’t find credit score reporting in any of the packages without signing up as a member and getting a quote from VerifyTenant. Finally, there are no free trial offers, but membership itself is free – it’s just a little tedious to set up.

Reporting

Speaking of credit reports, we’ve already mentioned that you need an active membership with VerifyTenant before obtaining one. In order to get a membership (so that you can ask for a credit check for your renters) you need to provide a company letter of intent, which includes the nature of the business, its intended use for the services, anticipated monthly volume and access (local, regional, national), as well as a copy of the business or professional license, and one business reference.

In terms of the actual service provided, the company has access to TransUnion credit bureau systems. You can find out credit and debt information, as well as public records such as collection accounts, bankruptcy proceedings and civil litigation records against your tenant.

Customer Support

You can reach VerifyTenant staff via email or phone number: 1 (954) 628-8222. They don’t have hours listed, but we were able to contact them during standard working hours (remember, Florida is EDT). In addition to the helpful staff, the company’s site features a lot of useful blogs and resources, such as tenant screening tips and various legal forms.

Key Features
  • Value for Money - Good
  • Turnaround Speed - Excellent
  • Customer Support - Average
  • Standout Feature - Credit-based Resident Score
Additional Features
  • 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.

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.

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