Best Tenant Screening Services: 2021 Edition
These are tough times to be a landlord. If someone had told us a year ago that some guy with a taste for barbecued bat would lead to a serious recession in the US rental market, we would have laughed it off. But here we are. The slow-motion coronavirus apocalypse has brought rental values across the US to an all-time low. It’s harder than ever to secure a steady income stream by letting strangers live in your property.
With that in mind, we’ve identified some of the best tenant screening services on the market and put them through their paces. These services are intended to help you make well-informed decisions about renters. In this market, we all need all the help we can get.
Top 8 Tenant Screening Companies in 2021
A great and versatile service, MyRental offers plenty of bang for your buck. MyRental includes eviction history and multi-state criminal and sex offender registry reports as part of its starting package, so you get almost all of the important information about your prospective tenant with just the basic plan. In addition to credit score tracking, premium plans add unique features such as the SafeRent score, options for renters to cover the MyRental bill, and estimates of what percentage of landlords in your state have accepted renters with credit scores that match your prospective tenant’s. Read Review
- •Detailed analytics
- •Great property-management tools
- •Very helpful customer service
Do you crave the authoritative reliability of a tenant credit and background check directly from one of the big credit bureaus? TransUnion has you covered with SmartMove. Featuring credit-based Resident Score and a nationwide criminal background check across all plans, SmartMove has just one flaw: Eviction reports are available only with its most expensive plans. On the upside, the company’s high-end Premium plan includes the proprietary Income Insights feature, which helps you confirm that the financial behavior of your potential tenants matches their reported income - thus saving you a costly manual income verification. Read Review
- •Features preset plans and customizable packages
- •Very detailed criminal checks across all states
- •Fast turnaround
RentPrep is a screening service aimed at property owners who primarily want to know about their prospective tenants’ eviction history and bankruptcies. The basic plan offers an affordable renter background check with the option of paying a little extra for nationwide criminal records. The alternative plan is offered in collaboration with TransUnion’s SmartMove service. At double the price of the basic RentPrep Background Check, it offers a full credit report combined with SmartMove’s unique ResidentScore, but represents a much more debatable value in our opinion. Read Review
- •Most affordable option on our list
- •Criminal reports include all US states
- •Manual verification of tenant information
LeaseRunner does things a little differently. It has the best background check app for performing specific inquiries, as every one of its services is offered separately and features in-depth reporting. It’s not a great system for those looking for full-featured plans, as mixing and matching credit, criminal, and eviction checks ends up being pretty expensive. That said, LeaseRunner does offer very detailed reports as well as free rental application forms and paperless, e-signature-enabled, state-specific rental agreements. Read Review
- •A la carte system for background checks
- •Extremely detailed reports
- •State-specific rental agreements
Buildium is not your average tenant screening service, and it’s definitely not the go-to option if you are looking for something affordable. That’s because Buildium provides an extensive set of property-management tools for business landlords and property managers. Tenant background check services are a small part of the package. Featuring top-shelf property-management tools and excellent tenant screening (with credit reports from TransUnion), the only real issue here is that there are much more affordable options on the market if all you need is tenant screening. Read Review
- •Detailed analytics
- •Great property-management tools
- •Very helpful customer service
VerifyTenant pays special attention to extensive nationwide criminal checks, which are available across both of its tenant screening packages. The company is very flexible, allowing you to choose from two existing plans or to create your own by mixing and matching available services. The one disadvantage is that you need a separate membership in order to get access to the company’s credit check services. Read Review
- •Features preset plans and customizable packages
- •Very detailed criminal checks across all states
- •Fast turnaround
E-Renter makes performing a tenant background search easy. With its very affordable Basic plan offering Social Security number validation as well as a look at your tenant’s criminal records, evictions, suits, liens, and judgments, it’s very hard to beat on value, too. The more expensive plans add credit score checking and excellent RentCheck Advisor software, but they are not as attractive in the price department. None of E-Renter’s plans offer current income and employment verification. Read Review
- •Basic plan offers excellent value
- •RentCheck Advisor software
- •Superb customer service
Like Buildium, TurboTenant is an excellent option if you need a full-featured suite of rental property management tools that includes a tenant screening service. It’s not the best tenant background check available based on value alone, as the company’s services tend to cost a little more than the competition’s. On the plus side (and unlike Buildium), property-management tools are completely free. Therefore, you’re going to pay less overall for tenant screening reports, as you won’t have to factor in additional property management fees. The reports are very thorough despite having a very short turnaround time. However, they don’t include employment and income verification. Read Review
- •Very detailed reports
- •Screening process is very quick and easy
- •Excellent free rental property management tools
How Do We Determine the Best Tenant Screening Service?
Proper tenant screening and background checks can make the difference between a smooth rental experience and a traumatic and potentially dangerous one. We’re not saying you’re likely to harbor an aspiring axe murderer if you fail to vet potential tenants thoroughly, but running a few basic checks is good practice nonetheless.
Considering the wealth of options on the market, choosing the right online screening service can be a challenging experience. Here are some of the main factors we consider when evaluating tenant screening services.
Residence and Eviction History Checks
As a landlord looking for tenant reports, your first avenue when performing a background check for renters is finding out their previous residence history. Were they ever late with their rent payments? Did any of the previous landlords kick them out? None of these are necessarily signs that you are dealing with horrible people who will wreck your property or antagonize the neighbors, but they are red flags.
Tenant screening reports will typically give you the previous addresses that the person lived at, the length of their stay, as well as evictions and other troublesome events that previous landlords have documented.
Credit Score and Employment Checks
In addition to residence and eviction history, the most important background check for landlords is finding out how financially solvent potential tenants are. While it’s nice to know that your tenant hasn’t been causing trouble in the past, it’s even better to know whether or not they’re likely to stir up trouble in the future.
While some tenant background check services do a free tenant credit check as part of the basic service package, most tend to charge extra for this feature. The same goes for employment history, which is usually a premium feature.
Criminal Background Checks
When doing a tenant background check, you don’t usually assume that you’ll be harboring a known criminal. That said, it doesn’t hurt to check. Landlords are generally interested in finding out about any transgressions prospective tenants might have committed. Criminal background checks are commonly requested, and the best tenant screening services offer this feature as part of most pricing plans. We report which criminal background checks are available (nationwide or state-specific) and how detailed the tenant reports are.
Reporting and Bonus Features
So far we’ve talked about various types of background checks for renters. These all typically come back as detailed reports. When it comes to credit reports, these come from one of the three major credit bureaus, and usually arrive through email. Turnaround time is an essential factor here. It’s also a plus if credit reporting is available from more than one bureau.
It takes more than offering credit reports to be the best background check service, of course. In addition to detailed previous residence and criminal record reports, many companies offer specialized features to set themselves apart from the competition. Denial letter templates, automatic adverse-action letters, unique unified reports, and bonus property-management tools are just some examples of the extra features the companies on our list offer.
Access to a wealth of useful information about prospective tenants is definitely the first thing to look at when picking a tenant screening service. Right after that, you want to know what it will cost you.
Different tenant screening services offer different pricing schemes. Some have a free rental history report as a basic service, others provide criminal reports, and so on. Some offer defined bundles of reports and services, while others go for an a la carte approach.
Some companies even offer free tenant background check services as part of a larger set of property-management tools and services. These checks tend to be very light on features or available only as part of an expensive suite of property-management tools.
The final category that we consider when reviewing background and credit check services is how much attention they pay to providing good customer service. Every reputable background check company has a full-time customer support team. Some also have fantastic online repositories of knowledge in the form of detailed FAQ pages, self-help guides, and blogs. Whatever the options, good customer support often makes the difference between satisfied customers and horrible online reviews.
Best Tenant Screening Services for 2021
- MyRental - Free online rental application
- SmartMove - Unique Resident Score and Income Insights
- RentPrep - Most affordable option
- LeaseRunner - A la carte system for background checks
- Buildium - Great property-management tools
- VerifyTenant - Detailed criminal checks across all states
- E-Renter - Excellent value in the basic plan
- TurboTenant - Great free rental property management tools
Tenant Screening Services - Reviews of the Top Companies
CoreLogic’s MyRental has been around for almost a decade. In that time, this tenant background screening service has gained immense popularity because it offers terrific features at a reasonable price. Aimed at both independent property owners and real estate agents, MyRental offers an extensive background and credit check for renters that can be broken down into individual a la carte services or purchased together across one of three main packages.
Pricing and Features
When it comes to pricing, MyRental keeps it simple. There are two main plans. With the $24.99-per-month Basic plan, you get previous address and eviction history, multi-state criminal and sex offender database cross-referencing, and even a check against the national terrorist database. Clearly, the focus here is on safety.
The more expensive plan is called Premium. It comes in at $34.99 per month.
The Premium package includes a lot of goodies in return for the extra 10 bucks, starting with a credit check for your tenant. You also get the option to pass the bill to your renter, as well as getting access to the renter’s unique SafeRent score.
The score is a three-digit number that predicts the likelihood of a lease default. It’s based on all of the data that MyRental has collected on the potential renter, all rolled up together and presented in a single number like a credit score. You can also see what percentage of local landlords have accepted tenants with similar scores as well as comparing it to others by location.
If it’s specific services that you need, you can put together your ideal package through MyRental’s a la carte system. The least expensive is a rental background check, which checks a person’s eviction history for only $7.99. A tenant credit report costs $14.99, while criminal reports range from $9.99 for a statewide check to $19.99 for a detailed multistate check.
MyRental uses TransUnion credit screening services. Because prospective tenants can supply the data through a free and easy-to-use online application, the credit check for tenants can simply perform a “soft” inquiry that won’t negatively affect their credit score. Just be aware that the credit check for renters is only a part of the overall info shown, and the main number that will be highlighted in the report is MyRental’s SafeRent score. Your tenant’s actual credit score is in there too, it’s just not as prominent.
Once you’ve reviewed the tenant report, you can accept or deny the tenant’s rental application. MyRental helps by giving you a screen where you can fill out an acceptance or adverse-action letter. The provided letters are only samples, so be sure to check for compliance with current local law, especially if you’re denying a tenant’s request.
Tenant screening services for landlords tend to offer a variety of ways to reach customer support - and MyRental is no different. You can use a toll-free phone number to talk to the helpful customer service staff Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time. Agents can also be reached via email at email@example.com. You can also call a different number from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday to work on resolving disputes. MyRental also has a large FAQ database and plenty of useful information hidden away in blogs on the site.
- Free online rental application
- SafeRent score predicts lease default
- Flexible pricing scheme
- Limited income information
- Very few customer reviews
Although you can get a TransUnion background check from any number of online tenant screening companies on our list, SmartMove is the only way to get it directly from the credit bureau itself. With 10 years of experience and millions of landlords behind it, SmartMove is a household name in the industry.
The service is split into three pricing plans, starting with the $25 Basic plan. Notably, eviction reports and residential history are reserved for one of the two premium plans. Still, this tenant credit and background check provider features credit-based Resident Scores and a nationwide criminal background check across all of its service plans.
Pricing and Features
As far as pricing goes, SmartMove has some interesting priorities. When performing a rental background check, many companies do not reference criminal records or run a credit check on the tenant in their basic plans. SmartMove does both. Unfortunately, that leaves something that most landlords consider the principal feature of tenant screening out of the scope of the starting plan: residential history and eviction notices issued previously to your potential tenant.
Paying $25 per screening for the SmartCheckBasic plan gets you SmartMove’s proprietary credit-based ResidentScore and a nationwide criminal background check that’s available everywhere except for Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The ResidentScore is similar to a traditional credit score, but TransUnion SmartMove reviews rental performance rather than the chances of paying off a loan. It is graded from 350 to 850 points, and based on a comparative analysis against more than half a million resident records.
The $38 SmartCheck Plus plan gets you a full credit report in addition to the ResidentScore and, more importantly, a national eviction report.
Finally, the top-tier SmartCheck Premium plan costs $40 per screening. It includes Income Insights, a proprietary feature that helps you avoid manual income checks by analyzing whether your prospective tenant’s financial behavior matches their reported income. It’s a handy feature, but it can be misleading: Credit scoring generally doesn't favor people who save most of their income.
Doing a tenant credit check with the credit bureau directly is always a better option than going through a middleman. That said, standard tenant credit reporting is available only from SmartMove’s SmartCheck Plus plan. For the Standard plan you get the ResidentScore - which is, frankly, more useful in our opinion. The checks are initiated and authorized by the person being vetted, so they will always be a “soft pull.” All reports, including the premium IncomeInsights feature, are generated pretty much instantly.
One area in which TransUnion falls short of the competition is customer support. While the agents themselves are very helpful, you can reach them only by filling out a form on the website and waiting for a reply. The best tenant screening firms tend to offer a choice of methods, including live chat on the website and a dedicated phone line. On the upside, the site does feature a detailed FAQ section and lots of blogs with useful information about tenant screening and other property-management topics for landlords.
- Unique Resident Score and Income Insights
- Nationwide criminal checks
- Get data directly from a credit bureau
- No eviction information in all plans
- Criminal background reports restricted by state
Fidelis Screening Solutions’ RentPrep is a very simple and affordable tenant screening service that offers two main plans and paid add-ons for criminal reporting, income verification, and other needs. It’s a great tool for finding out about your applicant’s eviction history and verifying Social Security numbers on the cheap. Credit reporting adds a significant premium to the cost of this service.
Pricing and Features
RentPrep’s basic background check for renters costs just $18.95. It includes verification of the prospective tenant’s SSN and address history, a nationwide check for evictions, as well as checks for bankruptcies, judgements, and liens.
You can augment the basic check with a nationwide criminal search that covers all 50 states plus Washington, DC, for an additional four bucks - or pay another $10 to verify your tenant’s income. You can also opt for a $9.95 Credit Decision report that simply gives a pass/fail grade based on a credit standard that you set, with a score range instead of an exact FICO credit score.
After RentPrep reviews your tenant, you will receive summary codes from the credit report if the applicant fails to meet the credit score requirements that you’ve set. These will help you to understand why the tenant failed. If the applicant passes, only the pass grade will be shown.
The other option is the $38 SmartMove Full Credit Report. As the name implies, this one is done in collaboration with TransUnion’s excellent SmartMove service. For 38 bucks, you actually lose the Judgements & Liens feature from the basic plan, but gain an extensive credit report combined with SmartMove’s proprietary ResidentScore and a full rental background check.
In addition to the excellent tenant credit and background checks, you can add $10 for income verification or $4 to add back the judgements & liens checks to RentPrep’s basic tenant check. It also adds the option to charge the bill to your tenant instead of paying it yourself.
We’ve already talked about SmartMove’s excellent ResidentScore, so we won’t go into detail here. The reports come directly from TransUnion. They are “soft” inquiries as long as they are initiated (and thus approved) by the tenants. Reports are very professional, and a lot of care is taken to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Live screening and manual verification of all tenant-given information is just icing on the cake.
Top tenant screening services in the industry have only the best customer service agents, and RentPrep is a great example. The very helpful and knowledgeable staff can be reached through phone, fax or email - or even by filling out a handy form on the website. The Resources page is also rich with information that’s bound to be helpful to landlords and property managers, and there’s a great FAQ page to consult in case you need an answer to common questions. Overall, top marks for RentPrep here.
- Most affordable option
- Criminal reports include all US states
- Manual verification of tenant information
- Potential hard credit inquiry
- Limited income information available
LeaseRunner’s tenant background check services have been offered to landlords and property managers since 2011. It’s owned by a company bearing the same name and operated out of Denver, Colorado. The main draw (or drawback, depending on how you look at it) is that it provides an a la carte service as opposed to the defined packages that most tenant verification services offer. If you know exactly what you want your tenants screened for, it ends up being cheaper than the competition. If you’d rather check everything, the costs will quickly mount up.
Pricing and Features
LeaseRunner offers four tenant background and credit check services, all of which are offered separately. As there are no bundled packages, you have to decide which checks are most important to you. Every service can be paid for by the landlord or the costs can be passed along to the tenant. The cheapest is the $10 financial report. It gets you an overview of your prospective tenant’s financial health by providing their latest bank account balance details, documented in a full three-month report.
As with the best tenant screening services in the business, LeaseRunner provides detailed accounts of your wannabe tenant’s previous rental history - provided you have $12 to pay for the service, that is. It’s an extensive report, covering a period of seven years in a nationwide search that includes up to 10 addresses in one inquiry. The service checks for past court actions and monetary judgements on property damage claims, unlawful detainers, and more.
Next up is a criminal record check for $15. It’s probably the most detailed tenant check of any company on our list, giving you records from all 50 states and Washington, DC, checking the sex offender registry, terrorist watch lists, traffic records, and much more.
The final option is also the most expensive, providing credit checks for landlords who want a detailed look at their tenant’s credit and financial history. For $20, you get a full Experian tenant credit check along with VantageScore 3.0, which includes payment history, highest balance attained, credit limits, and more. You also get a detailed look at your tenant’s current and previous employers, as well as the phone numbers and addresses they’ve used in the past.
While most of the competition works with TransUnion, LeaseRunner sources its credit reports from a competing credit bureau, Experian. It also uses the very detailed VantageScore 3.0, which cross-checks data across multiple credit bureaus to give the best background checks for landlords who want to know everything about their prospective tenant’s financial situation.
In general, all of the reports are incredibly detailed and you’d be hard pressed to find a competitor that offers more across any of the four chosen report types. The credit checks are also soft inquiries, so they won’t affect your applicant’s credit rating. Reports are produced very quickly, and the entire process can be done in a very short period of time, providing your prospective tenants cooperate.
Good customer service goes a long way towards retaining customers. LeaseRunner knows this well. As with the best tenant screening websites on the market, you have several options for getting in touch with the customer-support team. The support desk works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time, Monday through Friday. You can also reach support engineers by phone or consult the extensive FAQ list on the site.
- A la carte system for choosing background checks
- Extremely detailed reports
- Paperless state-specific rental agreements with e-signature support
- The lack of a specific score for lease default prediction
- Website can be difficult to navigate
Buildium was launched as a property-management service in 2004. The company later added tenant screening for landlords who want to vet potential tenants. The Boston-based company targets major players with plans that feature extensive property management toolkits in addition to tenant screening. It’s not the best option for small-time property owners, but it represents excellent value for anyone seeking a unified property-management package.
Pricing and Features
Tenant screening is just a small part of the Buildium toolkit. The focus is on property-management tools such as rental listings, accounting, a residence center for tenants to submit bills and maintenance requests, and more. Buildium has also recently changed its pricing scheme and plans. Tenant screening reviews come in two flavors, depending on which of the three packages you choose.
The first plan is called Buildium Essential, and it comes with the option to purchase basic tenant screening. The main features include a marketing website, balance sheets, income statements, buyable e-leases and property inspections, and a ticket support system. It starts at $50 per month with basic tenant reports costing $15 more - $30 if you pass the bill along to your prospective tenant.
Other plans include Growth ($160 per month) and Premium ($460 per month). In addition to e-leases and advanced analytics, they come with the option of purchasing premium tenant screening for $18 per client.
Although screening is a secondary feature at Buildium, the company has one of the best online background check systems we’ve seen. It’s powered by TransUnion’s SmartMove credit check services for landlords. All three plans give you very comprehensive screening packages if you opt for them. The services include a full credit report with a rental recommendation from SmartMove; full identity, background, and criminal checks; and an eviction notice history.
The Premium plan requires that you accredit your business to prove that you are a legitimate landlord or property manager. After going through the verification process and paying a one-time $99 accreditation fee, you will be able to perform screenings by yourself, using information provided by the online rental application.
Buildium’s tenant background check reviews are very detailed. You get a unified report that combines the tenant’s previous credit, criminal, and eviction activity within the United States. If you’re using basic screening, TransUnion sends an email to the client requesting the required data. Premium screening eliminates this step by getting your applicants to fill out all the necessary information as part of their online rental application. In either case, the credit check performed is a soft inquiry, so there’s no risk of lowering your prospective tenant’s credit score.
The best tenant screening services come from companies that acknowledge the value of good customer service - and it’s clear that Buildium paid attention in class. Unfortunately, while the customer-support team is truly excellent, you will get access only to ticket-based support in the Essential plan. Upgrading to the Growth plan gets you a phone support line from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday, and the Premium plan includes priority support for when you absolutely need to talk to a representative right away. As the best background check app, Buildium’s smartphone solution also comes with support features.
- Detailed analytics
- Great property-management tools
- Very helpful customer service
- Add-on fees can add up quickly
- Too expensive for small business owners
This Florida-based tenant background screening company has been around since 2005. In that time, VerifyTenant has run nearly 18,000 screenings, building up a small but loyal following in the US landlord community. With good reason, too: VerifyTenant offers top-rated tenant screening services with a focus on extensive nationwide criminal checks. Unfortunately, eviction notices are not part of the starter plan, and you’ll need to sign up for a membership in order to give your potential future renter a credit check.
Pricing and Features
VerifyTenant offers three basic plans, customized packages that you can get a quote for, and a membership plan that includes access to TransUnion credit reports. The most affordable option ($20) is called Silver. It includes a nationwide criminal check supplemented with a look at the national terrorist watchlist and sex offender registry. Adding $5 gets you the Gold package, which supplements the criminal background checks with your potential tenant’s eviction history. The $30 Platinum package adds employment, residence, and character verification.
A full credit and background check for landlords is available only through site membership. Membership is free, but signing up is a bit tedious. You’ll need to provide a letter of intent that describes what your business is all about, estimates of monthly volume, and whether your business operates locally, regionally, or nationally. You must also provide a business reference and a copy of your business license. Then you’ll have to get a quote about the price of credit screenings.
A quick look at the various tenant screening services in our reviews reveals that TransUnion is by far the most popular credit bureau for tenant credit checks. VerifyTenant uses TransUnion as well. If you’d rather have reports from Experian or Equifax, you’re out of luck.
As a landlord, tenant screening can seem like a needlessly slow process. VerifyTenant does what it can to speed that process up, giving you nearly instant results for criminal, eviction, and other non-financial background checks. The credit reports are TransUnion soft inquiries that let you in on all of the relevant information about your future tenant: credit score, litigations, bankruptcies, and more. Just remember: To get access to the best tenant screening services VerifyTenant has to offer, you need to become a member.
You can reach VerifyTenant’s customer-support staff by email or phone. The company doesn’t specify working hours for the support team, but we recommend making contact during business hours. Remember that the company is in Florida, so you’re dealing with Eastern time. You can also check the very helpful blog posts on the website for various useful forms and resources. And of course the FAQ page is full of useful information which also makes this company one of the best tenant background check service providers when it comes to educational resources.
- Extensive tenant screening options
- Detailed criminal checks across all states
- Fast turnaround
- Eviction record not included with all plans
- Very few user review available online
E-Renter is one of the best tenant screening companies for people who need solid background and criminal tenant reports that won’t break the bank. Including everything from Social Security number validation and searches for all types of lawsuits to detailed checks against the OFAC/Patriot Act, sex offender list, and multi-state criminal archives, E-Renter’s basic plan covers all the bases when it comes to security. High-end plans add credit reporting, excellent Rent Check Advisor software, and in-depth applicant identity verification.
Pricing and Features
E-Renter offers three plans: Basic ($21.95), Premium ($31.95), and Ultimate ($36.95). It is, along with VerifyTenant, probably the best background check site if you’re worried about security above all.
The Basic plan offers thorough criminal verification and searches to discover whether your prospective tenants have had evictions, liens, judgements, or bankruptcies in the past. The Premium package adds credit reports, although you must still pay a $1.99 fee for each credit report. It includes a FICO credit score but not much else.
The $34.95 Ultimate plan requires you to pay $2.49 for a credit report, too. It also includes the very useful Rent Check Advisor software. In our tenant screening services reviews, we like to give credit for useful proprietary features that add unique value to a company’s offer, and this is one such case.
The software performs an analysis to determine whether you should accept a check from your tenant based on a detailed analysis of their check-writing patterns and history (forced account closures, outstanding bad check collections, and so on). The Ultimate plan also adds more personal verification features such as the applicant’s Social Security number name-match check, a look at the Social Security Death Index, and more.
The credit reports here are based on the tenant’s FICO credit score and are done pretty much immediately, as soon as the tenant authorizes them and pays the $1.99 fee. Although E-Renter may not be the best background check site when it comes to turnaround speed, other reports are generated fairly quickly as well.
If you’re a landlord whose background check of prospective tenants hasn’t gone as planned, you can reach out to E-Renter’s customer support representatives via email or a toll-free phone number. The team’s working hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday, plus 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. The E-Renter website features a very well-organized Resources section with a detailed FAQ page featuring the most frequently asked tenant background search-related questions.
- Basic plan offers fantastic value
- RentCheck Advisor software
- Fantastic customer service
- No lease default prediction
- Criminal report excludes 4 states and Washington D.C.
One of the newer companies on our list, TurboTenant is a fantastic platform for landlords and property managers who need a complete set of tools for property management. The company also performs tenant background checks, but those come as part of a premium plan that drives the price up.
Pricing and Features
Like Buildium, TurboTenant offers much more than a tenant screening service. The company’s extensive set of rental marketing and management tools - including online questionnaires and screening applications for your tenants - are offered at no charge.
Where TurboTenant makes money is its two tenant screening packages and optional renter insurance, which starts at $8 per month.
All of the best websites for background checks tend to have criminal record checking across all plans, and TurboTenant is no different. What sets this company apart from the competition is that credit checks from TransUnion are included in the basic package, which costs $35 per screening. Both reports are very detailed, providing a look at not just your applicants’ credit scores and criminal convictions, but a whole list of financial and criminal background checks such as Social Security number verification and employment history.
One obvious thing that is missing from the basic tenant screening service review is eviction reports. To get those, you’ll have to add another $10, for a total of $45. The $10 gets you an incredibly detailed report on potential unlawful detainments, failures to pay rent, warrants of eviction, and more. We should mention here that the site makes a point of allowing you to pass the bill along to your tenant for any of the screening options, thereby making all of TurboTenant’s services effectively free for the landlord.
Unfortunately, while you can get detailed background information about your prospective tenant’s past, there are no checks in place to verify their current income and employment status.
Like all of the best tenant screening sites, TurboTenant provides very detailed reports. Its partnership with TransUnion means you can look forward to quickly processed, detailed, professional credit reports based on soft credit checks that won’t affect your tenant’s credit score. Excellent credit reports are supplemented by very detailed criminal and background-check reports, all delivered speedily.
Customer support is one area in which TurboTenant could use some improvements. Although the company employs very helpful and knowledgeable staff members, you can reach them only by filing a ticket on the website. Unlike the best tenant screening services on the market, TenantAlert has no phone number to call or live chat on the website.
That said, the company has a very well-organized and detailed help center that is bound to answer most of the questions you might have about TurboTenant services.
- Very detailed reports
- Excellent free property-management tools
- Screening process is very quick and easy
- Tenant background checks only available in premium plan
- No phone support
What do landlords use for background checks?
Most landlords rely on tenant screening companies like the ones reviewed here. Check out our reviews as it may help you find the best tenant screening company for your specific needs.
What does a rental background check consist of?
That depends on the service. Typical background checks include rental and eviction history, criminal background and identity verification checks, as well as a credit report and general financial solvency information.
Can I run a tenant screening on myself?
Sure. It may seem strange to seek out the best tenant screening company just to screen yourself, but there are good reasons you might want to do it. One is identity theft - a tenant screening report can help you discover if someone else has been impersonating you. The other is if you are a tenant who wants to help your landlord out.
What causes a red flag on a background check?
Landlords definitely notice discrepancies between information on your application and data from the tenant report. This is especially important with regard to the tenant’s criminal background and previous rental experiences. Suspicious financial activities or unusual credit activity can also be major red flags.
How far back does a tenant background check go?
That depends on the company. The best tenant screening services have very detailed information that stretches back 10 years when it comes to credit reports, and all the way to the potential tenant’s 18th birthday when performing criminal checks.