How do you screen potential tenants in the quickest, easiest, cheapest, and most thorough way possible? It’s simple: you choose from the best tenant screening services available and allow the company to do the legwork on your behalf.
Tenant screening services are provided by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that find important background data on tenant applicants so you know exactly who you would be renting to. This service is ideal for landlords, realtors, and property managers.
Keep reading to find out all of the following:
Established company with a great reputation
One-hour turnaround time
This New York-based company has spent the last decade earning a name for itself. It’s an industry leader that provides its users (and website visitors) with a wealth of resources. RentPrep has an A+ BBB rating, and its FCRA certified agents are available to assist you seven days a week, preparing your report within an hour.Read full review
Ease of Use
One simple fee
Experian’s very own screening service
Reports are generated immediately after tenant confirmation
This California-based company provides potential tenants with the ability to easily share their important financial background data with would-be landlords. It offers a simple solution for a common problem and reports are generated in minutes. They are available for viewing for 30 days.This California-based company provides potential tenants with the ability to easily share their important financial background data with would-be landlords. It offers a simple solution for a common problem and reports are generated in minutes. They are available for viewing for 30 days.Read full review
Ease of Use
Incredibly well known
Simple pricing structure
FCRA certified team
The Washington-based company has been around for the longest and that is clear from its impressive turnaround time, trio of package options, and reasonable pricing that help this screener company to stand out from the rest. Great customer service is provided by FCRA certified screeners and you can access this service 24/7.Read full review
Ease of Use
Both packages are affordable
One-hour turnaround time
This San Diego-based company’s services are available 24/7, reports are generated within one hour, and both packages are affordable. In addition to its screening capabilities, the award-winning company also offers articles and resources to its users. Although the reviews on this service are positive, they are few and the company is not rated on BBB.Read full review
Ease of Use
Fast turnaround times
Different tiers to pick from
The Boston-based company enjoys a well deserved A+ BBB rating and is the only screening service on this list that is BBB accredited. It’s an end-to-end solution for property managers that provides instantaneous reports that contain everything you need to know.Read full review
Ease of Use
Packages and a la carte screening services to pick from
International background checks available on request
There’s an option to customize your package
This Florida-based company has spent the last fifteen years honing its craft and the results speak for themselves. It’s a simple company that offers a no-frills approach to background checks. Pick a package or customize your own and get the support you deserve whether your first language is English or Spanish.Read full review
Ease of Use
Discounts for more than 10 screenings
Operating since 1988
More pricing bundles to pick from than any other company
An old and well established company, TenantAlert is perfect for those managing a large portfolio. It's affordable, has an impressive service offering, and provides underwriting to those who need it. Results are instant and the customer service team is very responsive.Read full review
Ease of Use
Omnichannel customer service
Various plans and services to pick from
This Colorado-based company enjoys a solid A+ rating and stellar customer reviews. Their responsive customer service, free plan, and advanced service offering make this company stand out.Read full review
Ease of Use
An abundance of positive reviews
Bundled pricing plan
An assortment of online education resources
The Chicago-based business boasts an A+ BBB rating and is known for its extensive resource center, bundle pricing model, and comprehensive reports.Read full review
Ease of Use
User-friendly website and a wealth of resources at your disposal
Reports generated in just a matter of minutes
24/7 support available
This company is TransUnion’s platform and that makes it infinitely credible. With a turnaround time of less than 20 minutes, and three service tiers to pick from, SmartMove is a tenant screening service worth considering.Read full review
Ease of Use
There are many companies that offer tenant credit and background check services which makes picking the right one a challenge. We’ve done our best to make this easier for you by examining countless companies and narrowing them down to 10. The 10 that you see on this list have been included based on the following factors:
Founded way back in 2007, RentPrep was founded by Fidelis Screening Services to make sure that small landlords didn’t get “lost” in the hustle and bustle of big firms. RentPrep is the best of the best and its customer reviews back this statement up. This FCRA certified company performs more than 30,000 screenings every year and is the official screener for Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
RentPrep offers tenant screening, rental background checks, and a tenant credit check. The company provides users with different pricing packages:
RentPrep’s reports are thorough and are compiled by hand in one hour. The agents are certified with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and manually compare and check records before compiling the report.
If you ever need help, you can find it in the form of a thorough knowledge base. You can also take advantage of the live chat support option or reach out to customer service via email or telephone from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, Mondays through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
RentPrep is one of the most affordable tenant screening services available but it’s also one of the quickest, most convenient, and most comprehensive options
Experian Connect is a platform created by Experian, the credit bureau, that provides you with all the financial information you need to know about a prospective tenant. It’s a bare-bones background check for renters that most users are totally happy with. If you’re only looking for financial data on a potential tenant, Experian Connect is all you need.
For $14.95, tenants can purchase and view their credit report and provide you with the authorization to view it for a period of 30 days. The report consists of:
Amongst the best tenant screening services available in California, this is a perfect service for those who aren’t concerned with criminal checks or who are solely interested in the potential tenant’s financial status. It must be noted that, although Experian is heavily endorsed, Experian Connect doesn’t have much in the way of online customer reviews.
Experian’s customer support can be contacted via online form or telephone from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also a fantastic online education center that landlords and tenants alike can learn from. Overall, the tenant verification services offered by Experian are simple, secure, and swift.
If you’ve ever heard of a tenant screening service, you’ll probably have heard of E-Renter. The company has been around since 2003 and has earned an impressive reputation during this time. Its fast results, streamlined screening process, and no-frills approach to background checks make this the perfect choice for property management companies or even tenant screening companies.
The E-Renter pricing options are divided into different packages. The Basic package costs $19.95 and includes identity verification services and a background check. The Premium package costs $29.99 and includes the above with the addition of a credit check (note that the tenant will need to pay $1.99 as well). The Ultimate package costs $34.99 and includes all of the above plus name history, address history, and a Rent Check Advisor assessment.
An E-Renter tenant background check will furnish you with information pertaining to bankruptcies, evictions, SSN validation, liens, judgments, previous addresses, and sex offender records. You can also opt for a criminal report that details everything from traffic violations and misdemeanors to felonies and incarcerations. The company promises that you’ll receive your report in an hour. It’s probably good to note, however, that landlord tenant screening reviews indicate that you’re likely to receive your report in around 15 minutes.
Customer service can be contacted by email or phone Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. Although the hours are limited, the level of customer service supplied is incredible. E-Renter is perhaps the best-known option on this list and its well-deserved reputation cannot be ignored.
Since 2010, MyRental – a CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions product – has been assisting property managers and realtors in screening potential tenants. Similar to RentPrep, MyRental has a reputation for being one of the best online background check providers and its users are largely satisfied with the overall experience. Although anyone can use it, its commercial tenant screening services make this the ideal option for realtors, property managers, and portfolio managers.
MyRental has two options for you to pick from – the basic and the premium plans. The basic plan costs $24.99 and requires no credit consent from prospective tenants. It covers eviction history, previous address history, terrorist alerts, and multi-state criminal history searches. The premium plan costs $34.99 and covers everything the basic plan does but with the addition of a credit report, applicant payment option, landlord acceptance rate, SafeRent Score, and location comparison. Individual credit reports are also available at $14.99.
MyRental can be accessed 24/7 and reports are generally available within the hour.
Customer service is available via live chat, email, or telephone from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday.
Buildium is an end-to-end property management software company that has been in business since 2004. The company offers by far the best comprehensive tenant screening services available which is why they’re the first choice for medium-sized property managers. Individual landlords may find the features on offer overwhelming while larger corporations may find its offering sparse. Its user reviews indicate that it is perfect for middle-sized businesses.
The company offers everything that a property manager needs. In terms of its screening services, you can pick from 3 different subscriptions: Essential, Growth, or Premium. All plans offer tenant screening, but to various degrees. The Essential plan costs $50 per month and only has ticket support available. The Growth plan costs $160 per month and the reports it provides are standard, while the Premium plan costs $460 per month and the reports are more advanced plus no tenant involvement is needed for this service.
Reports are generated instantly but in the case of the Basic and Essential plans, they need to first be accessed by the tenant. These reports offer credit, criminal, and eviction data. Note that no credit score is provided. However, Buildium notifies you as to whether or not a potential tenant meets your predefined credit score requirements. It also lets the applicant know whether they meet your requirements, which is an intuitive feature we appreciate.
Depending on the plan you pick, customer service can be reached via live chat, their contact form, or telephone. Its subscription-based pricing model is incredibly unique and makes this company stand out from all the rest. It’s regarded as one of the best landlord tenant screening services on the market for a reason.
Since 2005 Verify Tenant has been providing landlords with the peace of mind brought by knowing that they’re renting their properties to upstanding citizens. Verify Tenant is best for large property management companies or property managers with large portfolios, and it does not cater well to individual landlords. Its user reviews show that it’s compliant, convenient and yields thorough results quickly. It’s an exceptionally convenient tenant screening service that makes light work of a tough job.
Verify Tenant offers two tenant screening packages – the Silver package at $20 or the Gold package at $25. Both packages yield instant national criminal record search results, check the sex offender registry, and the terrorist watch list, but the Gold package also provides you with eviction records.
Note that ONLY professional property managers or members of homeowners’ or condominium associations can obtain credit reports from Verify Tenant and this service is withheld from individual landlords. In addition to the reports mentioned above the company also offers background check reports, DMV driving record reports, rental history verification, employment history verification, and reference verification.
Customer service can be contacted via their online form, phone, or email, although the hours of operation are not specified.
TenantAlert is the oldest screening company on our list, it was founded all the way back in 1988 as part of Application Research, Inc.’s service offering. To date, it has been used to perform millions of background checks. It’s a fabulous resource for bigger landlords who manage numerous properties as they offer more than 10 screenings per month at a heavily discounted cost.
It might not be one of the cheapest tenant screening services around but its prices are definitely affordable. It has four plans to pick from – Basic, Plus, Pro, or Premier. Here’s a brief overview of the different plans:
Basic ($24.95): Includes a credit report, credit score, previous address history, TeleCheck Check Verification, and the ability to charge tenants directly or allow the landlord to pay.
Plus ($29.95): Includes all of the above with the addition of a LeaseGuarantee Analyzer and a statewide eviction report.
Pro ($39.95): Includes all of the above plus a federal search, sex offender check, and terrorist check.
Premier ($49.95): Includes all of the above plus a nationwide criminal check, eviction check, and SSN fraud check.
Reports are instant and can be accessed the moment the tenant permits you to do so.
The TenantAlert customer service can be contacted via phone, email, or through the online form or live chat on its website. Customer service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST, Monday to Friday.
TurboTenant has been on the market since 2015 and has helped more than 250,000 landlords during this time. It has a great reputation and its users praise its interface’s versatility, ease of use, and intuitive layout. TurboTenant is one of the best tenant screening services for landlords who have smaller portfolios to manage.
This all-in-one property management tool offers numerous services from tenant verification and background search reports to marketing and eviction. TurboTenant has three plans to pick from – landlord, tenant, and a la carte. The landlord plan is totally free, while the tenant plan costs between $35 and $45 per application and you can pick any of the following services:
The $35 TurboReport includes a full criminal background check, collection history, inquiries, civil records, fraud indicators, payment history, a full credit report (with score) from TransUnion as well as a recommendation as to whether you should accept or deny the tenant. The $45 TurboReport Pro includes all of the above plus an eviction report that informs you of failure to pay rent, unlawful detainers, writs and warrants of evictions, judgments, and a full eviction check.
On top of its tenant-screening capabilities, TurboTenant offers an assortment of online rental applications and rental marketing tools.
TurboTenant’s customer service can be reached seven days a week via the online form, email, live chat, or telephone. In addition, all customers have access to an extensive help center. Customers, specifically those who are taking advantage of the free tenant screening services on offer, are satisfied with the level of customer service.
This company is on our list because it’s a valuable tool for landlords of all sizes. If you’re after an all-in-one solution with additional features, you’ll appreciate TurboTenant. Its free plan, advanced service offering, and responsive customer service make it truly stand out.
Avail is a property management software for landlords that have been operating since 2013. It’s currently used by 150,000 landlords or more. The platform has a fantastic reputation and Avail’s tenant screening services have overwhelmingly positive ratings.
It offers a range of renter background check tools for renters and landlords alike. It helps you screen your tenants and provides you with an assortment of credit, criminal, and eviction reports. Avail has a bundled pricing structure that starts at zero dollars for landlords and increases up to $5 per unit per month. A fee of $30 is charged for credit, criminal, and eviction checks or you can bundle them all for $55.
Avail has a quick turnaround time and its reports are pretty comprehensive. It covers the tenant applicants’ credit score, red flags, account summaries, and tradelines. The criminal history report cross-references the applicant against state reports, federal watch lists, OFAC watch lists, and the National Sex Offender Registry.
Users have access to the Avail community, the Avail blog, and an all-encompassing landlord education center. There’s also a help center, and you can also ask your questions via online chat or the online contact form.
This company is a great option for landlords that have smaller portfolios – and smaller budgets.
A TransUnion web-based tenant screening platform, SmartMove has been the option for landlords in a rush since 2008. Regarded as one of the best tenant screening sites around, SmartMove has a formidable reputation.
SmartMove provides the following services: credit reports, criminal reports, eviction reports as well as income insights, recommendations, and ResidentScore. Pick from three service tiers: Basic ($25 per applicant), Plus ($38 per applicant), and Premium ($40 per applicant). The Basic plan includes a nationwide background check and a ResidentScore, the Plus plan covers this and full credit reporting, nationwide eviction reports, and landlord checks, while the Premium plan covers all of the above with the addition of Income Insights and landlord advice. These costs can be paid either by the landlord or the prospective tenant.
Credit reports are pulled directly from TransUnion, which is why reports are generated in 10-15 minutes. In terms of support, agents are apparently available 24/7 via their contact form. User reviews indicate that the support agents aren’t always very friendly or knowledgeable, though.
TransUnion SmartMove is one of the few services that are directly tied to a credit bureau, and many people like the fact that the one-time fee can be paid by tenant or landlord.
Have you ever wondered, ‘Who pays for the background check: tenant or landlord? How do tenant screening services charge you?’ Or perhaps, ‘What does a rental background check consist of?’ All of these questions are about to be answered.
As you can tell from the tenant screening reviews you’ve just read, this service is considered to be affordable by the majority. So, how much does tenant screening cost? On average, screening costs between $18.95 and $75 per person, some services offer monthly payment plans, while others operate on a one-time-fee basis. If you only want to pull one or two individual reports you can expect to pay as little as $5 per report. And when we say “you”, in most cases we mean your tenant applicant as the person applying is responsible for paying the screening fee for many of these services.
Some tenant screening credit check services offer a plethora of services while others only offer a one main service. It’s entirely up to you to decide what you need – and what you’re willing to pay for. Some of the best tenant screening websites, like TurboTenant and Buildium, offer a wealth of additional services like property listing, advertising, management, and more. But if your needs are simple, all you really need is a report. Which brings us to our next point.
The screening reports provided by the online tenant screening services listed in our review help inform you as to what kind of tenant an applicant will be. At the very least you want to see how much the applicant earns and whether they can afford the rental or not, but we recommend you to consider pulling the following reports:
The problem with companies offering instant results is that these instantaneous results are seldom accurate. Reviews of even the best tenant screening services indicate that you will have to wait a bit, with time frames ranging from a couple of days to RentPrep’s 1-hour wait. Be mindful of the fact that not all companies stipulate their time frames so you may need to source this information from tenant background check reviews relating to a specific individual company.
When you are paying for a service, regardless of what that service is, you have the right to reach out to someone when you need assistance or when you have questions that need answering. This is why we recommend that you compare tenant screening services and see what their customers say about the quality of the customer service they provide.
Mostly, companies and platforms that offer renter background check services keep it simple and perform the task they’re designed to do. When it comes to exclusions or limitations most tenant screening services offer everything needed, however, keep your eyes opened for the following:
Different tenant credit screening services and tenant background screening services are needed in different scenarios.
Whether you’re looking for tenant screening services for realtors, property managers or individual landlords, you can find exactly what you’re looking for in the options we presented to you today.
If you need to check your potential tenant’s credit score, employment verifications, criminal history, and ensure that only the very best tenant ends up on your property, make use of any of the best tenant screening services we’ve introduced you to today.
Absolutely. Tenant Background Search is a reputable background check company that offers complete tenant screening services thanks to its partnership with data warehouses like TransUnion and CoreLogic. Even though it didn’t make the cut as one of the best tenant screening services on our list, it’s still a certified tenant screener worth considering.
That really depends on what there is to find. Credit checks go back around 7 years while bankruptcies stay on reports for as long as a decade. Criminal records are reportable for up to 7 years under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rules.
Consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) get their data from the tenant applicant (such as name, SSN, and resume) which the company will then verify against sources including public birth records, the DMW, and a database of employment verifications. Credit reports are pulled from credit reporting bureaus and criminal history is checked with either the Department of Corrections or the U.S. District Courthouses.
Use any one of the best tenant screening services we introduced you to today to check a potential renter. All you need to do is adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and get your potential renter’s permission.