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Best Tenant Background Check Services

By Kris DiRenzo Reviewed By Ann Cornell
By Kris DiRenzo
By Kris DiRenzo Reviewed By Ann Cornell

If you’re a landlord, you know a thorough tenant credit and background check can spare you the financial or legal woes and aggravation that come with leasing a unit to an unreliable or irresponsible tenant. We’ll go through the best tenant screening services, exploring features and pricing for the relevant reports that will help you make the right decision about a potential lessee.

What Are Tenant Screening Services?

Tenant screening services are consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that offer background information on prospective tenants. This includes a tenant credit and background check, including employment verifications and eviction history.

With these tenant background check services,  you can get the kind of information you can’t get from an initial impression, empowering you to make the right leasing decision.

Why Should You Use a Tenant Background Check Service?

Conducting a thorough tenant credit and background check before approving a potential renter can save you money and time. The total costs for evictions average $3,500, according to TransUnion SmartMove, which also reports an eviction’s time frame can be 3-4 weeks. 

If you don’t screen applicants for credit and eviction history, you could be stuck with unpaid rents or property damage. As a responsible landlord, you should also conduct a background check to see if your potential renters have criminal records. If an applicant has a history of violent crimes and no documented steps toward rehabilitation, you or your other tenants could be at risk. Also, be aware that your state or municipality could have laws restricting where a registered sex offender can live (e.g., not within a certain distance of a school).

How We Chose the Best Tenant Screening Services

We chose the top tenant background check services based on the following criteria:

Overall available services: The best background check for landlords should include the following information about potential tenants:

  • Credit score
  • Criminal history and sex offender registration
  • Employment history and income verification
  • Previous address history
  • Eviction history
  • Social Security number verification

Pricing: What are the pricing options for each service, and how do they compare to other tenant screening services for landlords?

Reputation: Is it recommended in any industry-related reviews? What do the customer reviews say?

Now let’s take a look at the tenant screening services that are worth your time and money.

A family stands in front of a house with a “For rent” sign. Tenant screening services can help landlords make good decisions about potential renters.

Best Tenant Screening Services

MyRental

Overview: If you don’t have a large budget but still want comprehensive reporting, then MyRental might be your best bet. You can access information including criminal history, eviction reports, sex offender search and credit reports.

Services

  • Free rental applications for prospective tenants
  • SafeRent score based on several sources, including credit bureau data, eviction history, bankruptcy records
  • Credit report
  • Criminal history searches
  • Previous address history
  • Sex offender registry and terrorist alerts

Pricing*

  • Basic: $24.99 for eviction and previous histories; multi-state criminal and sex offender searches and a terrorist alert
  • Premium: $34.99 for everything in the basic package plus a credit report, SafeRent score and landlord acceptance rate
  • A la carte: Pay on a per-service basis, including $7.99 for an eviction history, $14.99 for a credit history report

*Package pricing is per applicant

RentPrep

Overview: RentPrep provides a team of Fair Credit Reporting Act-certified agents to provide credit and background checks for landlords. With plans starting at $18.95, RentPrep offers comprehensive background checks.  RentPrep also offers API options and an enterprise plan for high-volume tenant screening.

Services

  • Comprehensive landlord background check packages
  • Credit check and reports
  • Income verification

Pricing

  • RentPrep Background Check: $18.95 for address and eviction histories; Social Security number verification; bankruptcies and judgments or liens. Income verification is an additional $10, national criminal and sex offender searches are $4 and a credit decision report is $9.95.
  • SmartMove Full Credit Report: $38 for address and eviction histories; nationwide criminal and sex offender searches; applicant pay option; bankruptcies and Social Security verification. Judgment and liens reports are an additional $4.95 and income verification is $10.

Avail 

Overview: This is the best rental background check software to run a tenant background check and handle property management and leasing from the same program. Avail is part of the Realtor.com network, so you can use the software to create a listing for available units and have them published across the Internet. You can also collect rent and track maintenance and repairs with Avail’s system. Potential tenants can complete and submit rental applications through Avail, and the system will automatically check previous landlords as references and verify their employment and income. You or your applicants will have to pay fees for tenant screening services, including criminal history and a credit check. 

Services*

  • TransUnion credit report and score
  • Criminal background check 
  • Address and eviction history
  • Social Security number verification
  • Liens and bankruptcies check
  • Judgments check

*Note: Some services cost additional fees

Pricing 

Unlimited Plan

  • No cost per unit
  • Syndicated listings
  • Credit and criminal history checks
  • Online rent payments

Unlimited + Plan

  • $5 per unit, per month
  • Next-day rent payments
  • Waived ACH fees
  • Create a properties website

Tenant credit and background check and an eviction report will cost $30 each. However, landlords can bundle these reports for $55.

National Tenant Network

Overview: National Tenant Network is another comprehensive landlord credit and background check service as well as rental management software. You can choose how few or how many tenant screening services for landlords you wish to use before leasing a unit. However, prices will vary by region, and you have to reach out to the company for an estimate. 

Services include:

  • Tenant performance profile (which includes eviction history, Social Security number verification and landlord identification)
  • Credit report
  • Multi-state criminal history and sex offender registration search
  • Verifies references, employers and former landlords

Pricing

Prices are available upon request; contact a regional office for more information.

RentSpree 

Overview: RentSpree covers the tenant screening basics for a fee that’s less than some competitors. Interested renters can fill out applications online, and RentSpree submits a TransUnion credit report, 45-state criminal background check and eviction report. You choose whether you’ll pay the $30 credit report and score application fee or pass it to the applicant. Other features include document uploads and e-signing.  

Services include

  • Credit report and score
  • Criminal background check
  • Eviction history
  • Identity verification

Pricing

The application fee runs from $30-$39, which can be paid by the potential tenant when they apply.

A concept illustration of a landlord standing by an oversized magnifying glass as he looks over an array of potential tenants’ profiles.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Tenant Screening Service

Pros

  • It’s convenient. Conducting a thorough tenant background check is a labor-intensive and multi-step process. The best tenant screening services can take this hassle off your hands.
  • It’s faster. A good tenant isn’t always willing to wait the days or weeks you need to conduct a background check. A tenant screening service can expedite this task, allowing you to get back to applications quickly with a decision.
  • It’s consistent. Every applicant is scrutinized in the same way, ensuring you stay in compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

Cons

  • Control is relinquished, and you have to rely on someone else’s judgment
  • Great applicants can sometimes slip through the net due to poor records.
Kris DiRenzo Sales Team Lead at Fast Capital 360
Kris DiRenzo is a Business Advisor and team leader at Fast Capital 360 who enjoys guiding and educating small business owners about their funding options to ensure a return on their investment and measurable growth.
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