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    Finding the best tenants for your rental is critical to the success of your business in the long run. Not only are you trusting them to take care of your property but also to pay rent on time. If screening tenants is not your strong suit, you might want to consider hiring the best tenant screening services. This is so you can be sure you are renting to the right people.

    According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, 8 out of 10 renters make on-time rent payments. This data reiterates the importance of knowing your tenants and checking their rental background. Look also for significant information like credit reports, criminal background, and eviction history.

    But, requesting such records should strictly follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Remember that tenants can sue their landlords for illegally obtained information. It is also illegal to use information that does not adhere to the FCRA to reject applications. So, it’s important to rely on trusted service providers that know how to pick tenants and rightly get their records.

    As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Don’t fall victim to delinquent renters by not knowing the best tenant screening services for landlords.





    RentSpree has it all. Its screening contains credit reports, eviction history, reference checking, and background checks. They also provide detailed TransUnion credit reports with payment history, inquiries, and more. Plus, RentSpree gives you access to criminal records on both state and national databases.

    Probably the best part is that this service is free for property managers, landlords, and real estate agents. Applicants, however, will have to pay a screening fee. Prices start at $30 for a premium package.



    First Advantage


    Located in 26 locations in 14 countries, First Advantage is considered one of the most competent screening companies in the industry. The company uses its own database to store records like initial filings, payments, lease disputes, and more. This allows First Advantage to provide significant information in a snap. Expert customer service is also used to reduce false positives. Plus, they utilize regularly updated public sources like criminal records to give timely reports. This helps landlords assess applicants and determine which ones qualify as tenants.

    The only downside is they don’t disclose their pricing online. You must call to get a quote.





    Perfect for landlords with multiple properties, RentPrep offers bulk background checks. At $9.95, you can enjoy the standard plan. This supplies you with dates of birth, addresses, aliases, Social Security numbers, and eviction records. You can also go for the advanced bulk plan reports. That offers all information from the standard plan plus records on the U.S. National Sex Offender Registry, the Global Homeland Security Database, and the nationwide criminal search.


    Aside from bulk background checks, RentPrep also has two plan options for tenant screening. The first one is priced at $21. It confirms Social Security numbers, evictions, bankruptcies, address history, liens, and judgments. Add $6 and the report will include a nationwide search of criminal and sex offenders. For another upcharge of $11, you gain access to a credit decision report.

    Another advantage of going with RentPrep is that it’s associated with TransUnion’s SmartMove reporting. For $38, you get a SmartMove Full Credit Report which you can have your hands on within minutes. This is unlike the RentPrep reports that usually arrive in an hour during normal business hours.





    What’s great about SmartMove is that there are no registration fees, no monthly service charges, and no hidden fees. Landlords can have their first applicant screened within minutes after setting up an account. And they even have the liberty to charge the screening fee to the applicant or shoulder it themselves.

    There are different plans you can choose from. At $24.99, the Basic plan gives you information about credit-based resident scores and a nationwide criminal background check. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the Plus plan for only $39.99. It offers additional full credit reports and national eviction reports aside from the records provided in Basic. Lastly, priced at $41.99, the Premium plan gives you all information from the previous packages plus an income insights report.

    Criminal background check form


    Unfortunately, criminal results in some areas are not available in SmartMove. Some of these places include Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey, Wyoming, Massachusetts, and Kentucky. This is due to federal and state laws that prevent SmartMove from reporting on some criminal records.



    AAOA tenant screening


    Available for members and nonmembers, AAOA tenant screening offers different packages. Each screening report varies from one another and it starts at $19.95 up to $49.95. 

    Priced at $19.95, the basic screening gives you state-specific eviction and criminal records as well as previous address tenant history. But, for a more complete report, consider going for the most popular package at $39.95, the Blue package. It offers a credit report, credit score, TeleCheck verification, state-specific eviction history, and nationwide criminal report. Additional features include sex offender search, terrorist check, federal search, LeaseGuarantee analyzer, and tenant pay options. Lastly, you can get all of these plus an SSN Fraud report in the Gold package for $10 more.

    It’s worth noting that members receive discounts per package depending on their membership type. And AAOA is also offering larger discounts to landlords and property managers with a high volume of screening to conduct.





    For E-Renter tenant screening, there are three packages available ranging from $21.95 to $36.95. All three options include SSN validation, OFAC/Patriot Act search, evictions and suits, liens and judgments, and bankruptcies, as well as criminal records and sex offender search.

    In the Premium and Ultimate screening, the applicant will have to pay an additional $2.49 for credit check verification. The best pick, Ultimate, gives an advanced background check. It includes an applicant identity check, address verification, SSN name match, Rent Check Advisor®, and social security death index.

    All packages are available in all 50 states. And the company guarantees to release reports within one hour during office hours.


    Up next: California tenant screening laws



    Final thoughts


    Maintaining a rental property is already hard enough. And it is even more stressful to find the most qualified tenant you can rent to. From criminal and eviction reports to identity verification, all of these will help to determine who to pick as your next renter. Good thing these best tenant screening services are available for landlords. Each and everyone has their own unique offer, so it is best to do your homework before you choose a package.




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