As a rental property owner, you want to make sure that you are doing everything possible to screen your potential tenants.
This includes running a background check. Background check services can help you to verify that an applicant has a clean criminal record and is not likely to pose a risk to your property or other tenants.
In this article, we will discuss some of the reasons why rental property owners need to use background check services and list 2 of the best providers.
What Is A Rental Background Check?
A rental background check is an extra screening process that allows landlords to view different parts of an applicant’s conduct in the past when they were renting from someone else.
The vast majority of the information that you will see originates from the three major credit bureaus, which are:
The data from a rental background check report contributes to a complete picture of a tenant’s potential level of responsibility.
While some landlords also look at the tenant’s total credit score, others focus on the report’s specifics and pay close attention to the details.
What Does A Rental Background Check Include?
A rental background check will offer you a wealth of information on your possible tenant, which will help you decide who is the ideal candidate to rent your home to.
A comprehensive rental background check should include the following information:
- Personal Information: This includes the candidate’s full name, date & place of birth, and also social security number. These basic facts will be used to verify the applicant’s identification throughout the background check.
- Address: The applicant’s contact details, especially their current address, are checked during the background check. You’ll be able to find out where an applicant has resided in the past, any eviction history, and will be able to access the contact information for previous landlords and/or property managers.
- Income: The background check may be used to verify income, showing if they have a stable income that is three times the monthly rent.
- Credit Score: You’ll be able to see an applicant’s credit score and credit history patterns.
- Job History: You can also see the applicant’s job history, including whether they’ve hopped about in the past, in addition to validating their present salary.
- Collections: When a renter does not pay bills such as credit card bills, utility bills, medical debts, etc., their accounts can be sent to a collection agency. So landlords can access such records on a tenant’s report and save themselves from getting into a similar situation.
- Inquiries: When a person applies for a loan, the bank may make a soft or hard inquiry on the person to check their credit. Some background check companies allow you to check a person’s credit report without affecting their credit score.
- Eviction records: The eviction history of a potential tenant can reveal a lot about them and can help you in saving yourself from a similar situation. Eviction records may include the date, case type, state, country, judgment amount, action date, etc.
- Personal records: This consists of information on a person’s civil judgments, bankruptcy, liens, etc. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy information remains on a person’s credit report for 10 years, and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for 7 years. Civil judgment, too, remains on a person’s credit report for 7 years. Having such information handy about a person can help you in making a prudent decision.
- Criminal activity: In a background check report, you can also access a person’s criminal activity data (if any).
How To Screen Tenants?
Best Rental Background Check Services
Now that you know what a rental background check is and what it includes, you may be wondering which service to use.
Here are 2 of the best providers:
When looking for a comprehensive screening solution for your rental property, you should look for a service that provides comprehensive solutions, including credit reports, background checks, histories of former and present landlords, histories of evictions, verifying references, and more.
RentSpree provides exactly that. So this company offers an all-in-one solution that includes a wide range of searches that are FCRA-compliant.
Applicants can submit their applications to you online, and you’ll be able to access all their information in one place.
E-Renter is a great option for landlords who want to run a fast and affordable background check.
So this company offers an express screening service that will return results within an hour.
The report includes information on the applicant’s credit score, rental history, and criminal background.
While this provider’s monthly subscription plan is a lot more expensive than RentSpree’s, you do get access to a lot more features, such as the ability to run an eviction search and a sex offender registry.
Also Read: Difference Between Public and Private Data and Why It Matters
How Much Do Rental Background Check Costs?
The price for a rental background check can vary depending on the company you choose, the type of check you want, etc.
However, on an average rental background check can cost between $25 and $50 per check. In most cases, the tenant is required to pay for their background checks.
For landlords, it means convenience. If someone is not ready to get their background check, then it can be a red flag for the landlord.
What To Look For When Choosing a Rental Background Check Service?
Here’s what you should look for when choosing a rental background check service:
- Look for online customer reviews on platforms like Trustpilot, Yelp, etc.
- Look for a service that is affordable, as there are a lot of options available online.
- See how comprehensive and accurate a report a company can offer.
- Select the company that complies with FCRA and has a good reputation.
- Ease of use can also be considered. You should look for a platform that is easy to use and understand.
Screening potential tenants is a critical part of being a landlord. By running a rental background check, you can rest assured that you’re renting your property to a responsible and trustworthy individual.
There are many different background check services available on the market, so be sure to choose one that’s right for you and your needs.
People Also Ask For
Can a landlord in California run criminal background check on tenant?
California county has banned landlords from running criminal background checks on tenants, and it is the first one to do so.
Can a landlord reject an applicant because of this criminal record?
The law requires a landlord to follow a similar acceptance process and have the same criteria for each and every person.
So if this is their standard criteria, that yes, a landlord can reject an applicant because of his criminal record.
Shefali Jain is a Content Writer & Editor at USWorkforce.org
After completing her graduation in hospitality, Shefali decided to follow her passion and started writing. Shefali has been writing for two years now and contributes to our website as a skilled editor and content writer with strong research skills. Writing product and service reviews, biographies, and book reviews are some of her key areas, among many others in which she specializes. In her time at the organization, she has written and edited content on a range of topics, including employment law, human resources, and business management.