7 Best Tenant Screening Services of 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 do background checks. It offers the cheapest background check plan on our list, but for more features you need to pay nearly double.

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Price:

$18.95 - $35.00

Credit score tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Employment status tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Criminal background check:

Only in the $35 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 do background checks. It offers the cheapest background check plan on our list, but for more features you need to pay nearly double. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

$18.95 - $35.00

Credit score tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Employment status tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Criminal background check:

Only in the $35 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.

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Price:

$18.95 - $35.00

Credit score tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Employment status tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Criminal background check:

Only in the $35 plan

Residence and eviction history:

Yes

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, fax, phone

  • 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:

$18.95 - $35.00

Credit score tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Employment status tracking:

Only in the $35 plan

Criminal background check:

Only in the $35 plan

Residence and eviction history:

Yes

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, fax, phone

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

3. 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.

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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

4. LeaseRunner

  • Simple a la carte system
  • Many bonus rental services available
  • Free rental application templates

LeaseRunner is best for landlords who want to run specific checks on their tenants, chosen from an a la carte menu of services. It offers a great credit and background check for landlords but the lack of bundled plans means that it is the most expensive service if you want to run several types of checks on prospective tenants.

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Price:

A la carte system

Credit score tracking:

Available

Employment status tracking:

Available

Criminal background check:

Available

Residence and eviction history:

Available

Customer support options:

Email, phone, support center

  • Simple a la carte system
  • Many bonus rental services available
  • Free rental application templates

LeaseRunner is best for landlords who want to run specific checks on their tenants, chosen from an a la carte menu of services. It offers a great credit and background check for landlords but the lack of bundled plans means that it is the most expensive service if you want to run several types of checks on prospective tenants. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

A la carte system

Credit score tracking:

Available

Employment status tracking:

Available

Criminal background check:

Available

Residence and eviction history:

Available

Customer support options:

Email, phone, support center

  • Simple a la carte system
  • Many bonus rental services available
  • Free rental application templates

5. Avail

  • Free plan available
  • Fantastic property management options
  • Great customer support

Avail is one of the rare services on our list that has a free plan. It’s the best background check service provider if you need a full suite of landlord rental management features. The only downside is that nationwide eviction notice and criminal background checks are only available in their most expensive Full Screening plan, which costs $55.

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Price:

Free - $55

Credit score tracking:

Available from $30 up

Employment status tracking:

Yes

Criminal background check:

State-specific up to the $55 plan

Residence and eviction history:

Yes (eviction only in the $55 plan)

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, phone, website

  • Free plan available
  • Fantastic property management options
  • Great customer support

Avail is one of the rare services on our list that has a free plan. It’s the best background check service provider if you need a full suite of landlord rental management features. The only downside is that nationwide eviction notice and criminal background checks are only available in their most expensive Full Screening plan, which costs $55. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

Free - $55

Credit score tracking:

Available from $30 up

Employment status tracking:

Yes

Criminal background check:

State-specific up to the $55 plan

Residence and eviction history:

Yes (eviction only in the $55 plan)

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, phone, website

  • Free plan available
  • Fantastic property management options
  • Great customer support

6. E-Renter

  • Great value basic plan
  • Fantastic customer support
  • Rent check advisor software

E-Renter is a great option for people on a budget. The basic plan offers statewide criminal background checks and eviction notices, as well as liens and judgements. There is no income and employment verification, though, so if that is information you cannot live without it would be best to skip E-Renter.

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Price:

$19.95 - $34.95

Credit score tracking:

$29.95 plan and above

Employment status tracking:

No

Criminal background check:

Yes

Residence and eviction history:

Eviction only in the basic plan

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, phone, website

  • Great value basic plan
  • Fantastic customer support
  • Rent check advisor software

E-Renter is a great option for people on a budget. The basic plan offers statewide criminal background checks and eviction notices, as well as liens and judgements. There is no income and employment verification, though, so if that is information you cannot live without it would be best to skip E-Renter. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

$19.95 - $34.95

Credit score tracking:

$29.95 plan and above

Employment status tracking:

No

Criminal background check:

Yes

Residence and eviction history:

Eviction only in the basic plan

Customer support options:

Email, FAQ, phone, website

  • Great value basic plan
  • Fantastic customer support
  • Rent check advisor software

7. AAOA

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

AOAA offers the best background check app if you want a wealth of options and credit scores from different bureaus. It has as many as five different plans and if a landlord’s property is also underwritten by them there is an option of choosing which credit bureau you receive reports from. The main limitation is that most plans include state-only eviction notices and criminal background checks.

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Price:

$19.95 - $49.95

Credit score tracking:

Red package and above

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

AOAA offers the best background check app if you want a wealth of options and credit scores from different bureaus. It has as many as five different plans and if a landlord’s property is also underwritten by them there is an option of choosing which credit bureau you receive reports from. The main limitation is that most plans include state-only eviction notices and criminal background checks. Read full review

VISIT WEBSITE
Price:

$19.95 - $49.95

Credit score tracking:

Red package and above

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

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. SmartMove
  • 4. LeaseRunner
  • 5. Avail
  • 6. E-Renter
  • 7. AAOA

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 if initiated by tenant
  • 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.

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 $35.00 SmartMove full credit report. The national criminal and sex ofender 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. It’s got an interesting system to motivate potential tenants to pay for the screening – if the tenant credit check is initiated by the renter, it’s a soft pull, but if the landowner initiates it, it then becomes a hard credit check, which can 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 live 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 three different pricing plans starting at $19.99, 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 $19.99 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 onto the $29.99 Premium plan. This plan also grants you access to MyRental’s tenant credit reporting and income verification features. Starting at this level, tenant verification services can also be paid for by the tenants themselves.

If you want to see what other landlords in the area are doing, you can pay an extra $5 on top of the Premium plan. The $34.99 Premium Plus plan offers all of the features from the previous tiers but also adds the option of comparing tenant 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.

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, MyCredit offers unique Adverse Action Letter functionality, automatically creating a denial letter template based on their 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 to one of their plans.

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.

Key Features
  • Value for Money - Varies
  • Turnaround Speed - Excellent
  • Customer Support - Excellent
  • Standout Feature - A la carte system and free rental application templates
Additional Features
  • 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.

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.

Key Features
  • Value for Money - Excellent
  • Turnaround speed - Excellent
  • Customer support - Excellent
  • Standout feature - Landlord plans with property management tools
Additional Features
  • Full-service property management
  • Great landlord packages
  • Free tenant rental background checks for one property

Overview

Avail was formed in 2012 by a small real estate company with the same name based in Chicago, Illinois. It offers full-service property management and a variety of tenant background search options. Notably, its basic service is completely free for one property.

Pricing Plans and Features

Avail offers three different plans that include various tenant screening reports. Starting off, its basic Renter Profile plan provides a free rental history report along with employment history and income verification. Remember that these are services that other companies charge for – and some don’t even offer them in base packages at all. This plan doesn’t include eviction reports, though – you have to switch to their most expensive plan for that.

Moving up to the $30 Credit Plus plan gets you a TransUnion credit score and credit history, as well as access to the applicant’s adverse records history.

When it comes to tenant screening, the best background checks for landlords are offered in Avail’s top tier Full Screening plan. In addition this plan adds eviction notice history, as well as a nationwide check against the criminal and sex offender database and the terrorist watchlist. At $55 per prospective tenant, there are much cheaper options out there if you are primarily interested in the renter’s previous criminal and eviction records.

Avail offers more than just tenant screening for landlords. The best value is found in getting its complete landlord packages, which give landlords access to a suite of property management tools in addition to tenant screening tools.

If you have only one property to manage, the basic set is completely free and it includes the basic tenant screening plan. This means that you can get a free rental history check but not a free tenant credit check. As with the best tenant screening sites, you have multiple options here, too. You can add additional properties for $6, and bank fees cost $2.50. If these fees add up, you can always opt for the Landlord and Landlord Plus plans.

Reporting

Like many companies on our list, Avail uses TransUnion for reporting. It’s a soft pull tenant-initiated system, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the credit rating of your future tenants. The reports are ready as soon as the tenant authorizes them and verifies their identity. The company sends an email notifying landlords that their background and credit check for renters is complete and the reports can be viewed online.

Customer Support

Avail offers several ways to reach their customer support team. You can contact them online through the website or via email, and you can also check the website’s extensive FAQ section. Finally, if it’s urgent, or you just prefer talking to someone, there is a phone number available seven days a week.

Key Features
  • Value for money - Very good
  • Turnaround speed - Excellent
  • Customer support - Excellent
  • Standout feature - Rent Check Advisor software
Additional Features
  • Unique Rent Check Advisor software
  • Basic plan has a lot of useful features
  • FCRA compliance and excellent customer support

Overview

E-Renter is a background and rental credit check service offered by a company called E-Renter USA, based in Bellingham, Washington. It offers three plans, the cheapest of which offers the best background check service in its price range.

Pricing Plans and Features

Like many other companies on our list, E-Renter offers three different plans, ranging from $19.95 to $34.95. E-Renter does things a bit differently than some of the competitors, so features often missing in entry level plans such as eviction notices are available in their $19.95 Basic plan. This plan also includes liens and judgements, a multi-state criminal records search (including the terror watchlist and sex offender database) and Social Security checks (number validation and death index check).

The next tier plan adds a credit check for your tenant, in addition to everything offered in the basic plan. It costs $29.95 + a $1.99 fee charged to the future renter. Finally, their premium plan costs $34.95 + $1.99 and adds a check of the prospective tenant’s previous addresses and phone number, as well as E-Renter’s proprietary Rent Check Advisor software. This software analyzes the applicant’s check history, in order to perform a rental risk analysis.

One feature is notably absent across all plans, however. You might have noticed that our E-Renter tenant screening service review makes no mention of income and employment verification. That is because this option is not available in any of the plans at the moment.

Reporting

E-Renter’s credit checks are based on the renter’s credit file and credit score. They are ready as soon as your prospective tenant authorizes their processing and pays the $1.99 fee (remember, credit reporting is not available in the basic plan). The company is FCRA-compliant, and while it is not as zealous about this compliance as, say, RentPrep, it’s still good to know that you are protected from possible accidental breaches of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Customer Support

People discussing the best tenant screening services on Reddit and various social networks often mention the importance of good customer service. E-Renter offers phone and email support, as well as contact through their website, which also has a dedicated Resources section with a comprehensive FAQ.

Key Features
  • Value for money - Average
  • Turnaround speed - Excellent
  • Customer support - Excellent
  • Standout feature - TeleCheck verification and LeaseGuarantee option
Additional Features
  • Credit reports from all three major bureaus
  • TeleCheck verification
  • Wide variety of plans to choose from

Overview

Founded in 2004, The American Apartment Owners Association is the largest landlord association in the country with more than 109,500 members nationwide. Alongside various landlord forms, it offers its own tenant screening service. It has one of the best tenant screening websites for people who love a variety of options. It offers five different pricing plans, starting from $19.95, and covering all standard tenant screening features, from criminal and credit checks to employment and rental history.

Pricing Plans and Features

A notable feature of AOAA’s pricing plans is that eviction and criminal histories tend to be state-specific in the lower priced plans. The starting $19.95-Basic Background plan offers a previous address history and the aforementioned local criminal and eviction records. It’s not the best background check site if you want records for other states, though. If you pay the same amount again, you can also get a tenant credit report and the prospective renter’s credit score. However, if you need all of these functionalities, you’re better off moving to one of the higher level plans, as they end up being cheaper as a bundle.

The $29.95-Red Package offers both credit checking and local background checks, while also adding TeleCheck verification and LeaseGuarantee Analyzer. The former helps with verifying your tenant’s checks, however in order to actually get insurance with LeaseGuarantee, you or your tenant have to pay for a separate service.

The next tier is called the White Package, and it adds a federal, terrorist watchlist and sex offender registry search, but the criminal search provided is still on a local level only. The best websites for background checks generally provide multi-state or nationwide criminal searches at this level.

Moving on, there’s a $39.95 Blue Package. According to AOAA, it is their most popular package, and it offers everything we’ve discussed above plus the popular Tenant Pay option. Finally, if you want nationwide criminal and eviction notice reports, you have to pay for their premium $49.95 Gold Package, which also includes SSN fraud protection.

Reporting

AOAA offers a couple of unique options when it comes to reporting. We’ve already mentioned that customers of the $29.95-Red Package and above get the TeleCheck verification, which consults their massive bad check database. The other unique feature is that their credit checks for landlords are by default sourced from TransUnion, but if you become underwritten and get insurance with AAOA, you can also opt for reports from Equifax and Experian. Reports are generally quick but not instant, though, as credit reports need authorization from your tenant, so that can slow the process down a bit. There is no hit to their credit score, though, as client-authorized credit checks are soft checks that don’t lower it.

Customer Support

You can reach AOAA through a form on their website, as well as a toll-free phone number and fax Monday to Friday. There is also a detailed FAQ section on the website.

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 a la carte system can start from as low as $7.95 per feature. There is also a free option offered by Avail, but it has limited features.

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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