The National Multifamily Housing Council reports that eight out of 10 tenants pay their rent on time. With the rise of the pandemic, the national rent debt has reached a staggering $15 billion. Landlords rely on tenant screening services to protect their properties, keep bad tenants at bay, and save time. Thanks to these FCRA-compliant services, landlords don’t have to collect and check applicants’ information by themselves.
We evaluated multiple online tenant screening providers for track record, compliance, breadth of services, functionality, quality, customer service, and pricing. Here are the best services to hire and protect your investment.
Everything You Need to Manage Your Rentals
RentRedi is an online tenant screening platform that helps landlords identify trustworthy tenants quickly. Its mobile application allows all parties involved to move through the rental process seamlessly. From advertising, tenant screening, and rent collection with customizable payment options to maintenance management, outsourcing contractors, and five-star customer support, RentRedi has it all under one roof.
Success Is a Choice.
Buildium is one of the most feature-rich rental and tenant screening software, offering accounting, business operation, leasing, and tenant screening solutions in one place. With expert knowledge and top-notch customer support, Buildium can help you elevate all aspects of your real estate business.
Great Reports. Great Convenience. Great Tenants.
Established in 2008, TransUnion SmartMove is one of the first web-based screening solutions for smaller landlords. The company relies on the largest eviction databases with 27 million records, promising to predict 15% better rental eviction risk than typical credit scores. Over 400 firms and 3.7 million landlords use SmartMove to make more confident rental decisions.
Managing Your Rental Property Has Never Been Easier.
TurboTenant is property management software that helps landlords create welcoming rental experiences. It allows them to advertise their properties, screen, communicate, set automatic payment reminders, and collect rent from one place. Its business model is structured to pass the costs to the applicants, making almost all of the services free for landlords.
Feel Good About the Way You Manage Your Rentals.
Avail is the go-to platform for DIY landlords, combining a complete set of rental tools and valuable educational content. It allows them to list their properties, find and screen tenants, sign leases, and collect rent all in one place on any device. It also allows tenants to submit maintenance requests and track the progress while connecting landlords with top-notch contractors to solve the issues.
Verify Tenants at Light-Speed.
RentSpree offers tenant screening for realtors, landlords, property managers, and enterprises, helping them simplify and speed up the renting process. If you need to collect online rental applications, utilize reliable tenant background check services, and take advantage of other helpful features, RentSpree can deliver all that, plus top-notch customer service.
Your Credit Report, FICO® Score, and More.
Experian is one of the biggest credit reporting agencies, unlocking the power of data for consumers for over 125 years. Its tenant screening offerings are among the most affordable on the market. The platform is designed for applicants to cover the screening cost and buy their credit reports. Landlords get the information with private access granted by the tenants.
Verify Tenants Faster Than Ever Before.
TenantReports is a leading tenant screening provider with over 25 years of experience. It takes pride in providing quick and easy processes, superior customer care, and unbeatable prices. The company offers a full range of screening services and verifications, allowing clients to build the most detailed and accurate tenant background checks.
Make Background Screening Easy for You & Your Applicants
Established in 1989, InfoMart is a leading background check company built on world-class customer support and responsible business practices. It offers a wide range of services and caters to dozens of industries. By blending expertise and technological innovation, InfoMart consistently ranks as the best background check website.
Tenant Screening Made Easy.
RentPrep was founded in 2007 to provide smaller landlords with quality tenant screening services. It employs FCRA-certified screeners who can assist you from start to finish on your journey to finding reliable tenants. Its 11,000+ Facebook community for landlords, property managers, and investors, and the “RentPrep for Landlords” podcast offer valuable insights on how to be a top-class landlord.
Advance Your Hiring Practices
Established in 1996, IntelliCorp is committed to continued investment in new products and technologies, superior customer care, and forward-thinking leadership. Its screening solutions cover diverse needs from pre-employment to tenant screening. The company offers one the best background checks for employers including reliable healthcare screening packages and add-ons that provide extra protection for this highly regulated industry.
Better Background Checks.
Intelifi is both a software developer and data provider. Bringing together the best of both worlds, it offers comprehensive screening solutions, built-in compliance tools, human and AI record reviews, and seamless functionality. The firm is committed to providing the highest quality data for clients to make more informed hiring and renting decisions. More than 10,000 businesses are growing with Intelifi’s EMERGE screening platform and comprehensive background checks.
Online Rental Applications and Background Screening for Residential and Commercial Properties.
TenantMagic is an online rental platform that provides background screening for both residential and commercial properties. All you have to do is provide an email address from the primary applicant, and TenantMagic takes care of the rest, including screening co-applicants. Tenants and clients praise it for its prompt and attentive customer service, especially over the phone.
We put multiple tenant screening background check companies to the test using a rigorous selection process to curate a list of the most reputable services. Below, we explain our evaluation methodology in detail.
Before diving deeper, we ensure each tenant screening company is legitimate and top-class. We start our evaluation process by going through the service’s website with a fine-tooth comb. We check the companies’ history to ensure they have years of successful work behind them. We also check whether the websites have SSN in place and reputable payment processing options.
Then we look for tenant screening services reviews on third-party sites. We go through customer feedback to understand the most vital points about each company and the areas that need improvement. We don’t expect a clean five-star rank but consider only companies with an overall positive score. We also assess how companies respond to bad customer feedback.
A tenant screening report is considered a consumer report, meaning that compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is an absolute must for tenant screening companies. Keep in mind that people search sites aren’t compliant with the FCRA and you can’t rely on their reports for decisions related to your real estate business. The rules outlined in the FCRA act require both screening companies and landlords to follow specific processes for obtaining and using the information in the tenant background checks. All of the companies on our list respect the FCRA requirements.
We check all companies for the following things since the best tenant screening sites should be on top of the compliance game:
It’s also important that landlords and tenant screening agencies understand and follow the Fair Housing Act and its sub-laws.
Some landlord tenant screening firms cover only the basics, while others offer fully-rounded software solutions for property owners to manage every aspect of their rental business. Some firms also provide tailored screening services for landlords, property managers, real estate agents, and lease guarantors. Others act as fully-rounded background check companies.
Tenant screening providers usually bundle the essential services and verifications to deliver comprehensive and reliable reports. The basic tenant screening services for landlords typically include:
Some landlords prefer to handle the tenant screening process by themselves. But if you feel overwhelmed by the workload associated with your rental business, consider partnering with a company that provides software with a full suite of features that will make your life easier.
If you want to cut the hassle of posting your listing on multiple sites, look for an outfit that does the heavy lifting for you. We sourced the best tenant screening sites and companies that allow you to create an unlimited number of listings and distribute them on the dozens of most reputable rental platforms with a click of a button, all for free. The crème de la crème firms also offer rent price analysis and recommendations, automatic social sharing, prescreening, lead management, and more.
The top tenant screening services provide insightful and comprehensive applications that allow you to quickly screen potential tenants. Some companies even include prescreening questionnaires to help you select the most qualified candidates. You should also be able to add your own questions, invite prospective tenants to apply, manage applications for all applicants and properties from one place, and accept qualified applicants within seconds. On our list, you can find multiple screening companies with seamless experience regarding tenant screening application management.
This option allows you to digitally sign the rental agreement and receive legally binding documents without making the trip. Some services even offer customizable state-specific rental lease agreement templates. Others allow you to upload and store your documents and set up templates based on your needs.
The best tenant screening websites offer client portals and apps to manage rent collection, late fees, evictions, and send rent reminders.
The most reliable screening companies have an automated process that lets tenants submit maintenance requests with photos and messages for any issues that occur on your property. Usually, tenants receive a form back to provide details about the issue and their availability, so you can schedule a contractor to solve the problem. This service also features keeping records of repairs and costs.
Renter’s insurance benefits both the landlord and the tenant. The top tenant screening companies ask tenants to show proof of their policy or allow them to purchase one through their website.
We test each tenant screening service by getting in touch with real landlords, property managers, and tenants. We ask them to order tenant screening reports and review the process they have to undergo to receive the results.
Naturally, we select the services that have straightforward, compliant processes, making it easy for every client to complete the application and obtain the report. The top tenant screening companies should also offer helpful features like custom links that landlords can send to tenants to initiate the process, control over who pays for the service (tenant or landlord), free online rental applications, and email reminders. Mobile functionality is also a must, as busy landlords and property managers are often on the go.
This is a critical factor in our evaluation criteria. We get first-hand feedback from the landlords and property managers as well as the tenants we have partnered with to evaluate these services. We also go through a large volume of tenant screening services reviews to ensure there aren’t complaints about the accuracy of the tenant background checks.
We award a higher grade to companies that rely on state-of-the-art technology to speed up the process and use real humans to conduct research and verify the results. Why is this important? Credit databases sometimes contain mistakes or fail to provide the full picture. They could pull out old information that’s not legal to use any longer and closed loan accounts that still show debt. These databases can also miss criminal and legal judgments from county court records that never make it to national crime databases. That’s why tenant screening companies that use both database algorithms and human research efforts provide the most accurate results.
Some landlords are satisfied with the most basic tenant screening reports, but are there options for those willing to go the extra mile? Do they offer only a tenant screening credit check or a credit score report? And if they do, are clients getting complete credit score reports? Do they provide criminal background checks only for specific states or perform nationwide searches? These nuances can make a massive difference in the results you receive. Our list of the best tenant screening websites features companies that offer both basic and comprehensive tenant background screening, so you can choose whatever fits your needs.
We contact the companies over the phone, email, live chat, and any other channel of communication listed on their websites. We present ourselves as potential clients and ask multiple questions to evaluate the attentiveness of the customer service representatives. Companies that pick up the phone from the first, answer emails promptly, and provide after-hour support receive more points during our evaluation of the best tenant screening services.
Tenant screening report prices typically range between $18 and $75, depending on the services and verifications you need. Given that the cost to evict a tenant ranges between $4,000 and $7,000, it’s better to perform detailed tenant screenings than make a poor decision because of a lack of information. The top services further you to have your applicants pay for the reports. This way, landlords don’t have to waste money on unqualified applicants and don’t have to deal with sensitive information.
Our list of top industry options will for sure cut days of research and frustration. But you might still struggle to recognize the best tenant screening website for your business. To that end, we created a short guide to help you avoid decision fatigue with a step-by-step process.
You have to screen tenants, but is that all you need? Many of the best commercial tenant screening services continuously improve and add more features and services to their arsenal. They act as fully-rounded rental platforms, providing the same resources that big rental companies use to individuals and smaller real estate businesses.
Are you interested in automating your rental business? Maybe you don’t want to make those trips to collect rent anymore. Maybe you don’t even want to pick up the phone and remind your tenants that rent is due. What about maintenance tracking and the ability to outsource to a vetted network of contractors when issues arise? If renting is your side hustle and you’re busy with a full-time job, maybe an all-in-one tenant screening software and rental management tool will be the best option for you rather than just tenant screening services.
If, on the other hand, you’re an old-school landlord with your own tenant screening checklist, you might prefer to meet the tenants in person, collect a fee and obtain screening permission in person. Most modern services pass the cost to the tenant, but if physical contact and complete control over the screening process matter to you, stick to providers that allow you to pay and initiate the tenant screening process yourself.
Another thing to consider is the depth of the tenant screening background checks. Are you satisfied with the basics or wish to perform detailed criminal background checks, get a full credit score report and human-verified results? Then, you should eliminate tenant screening services that rely solely on data algorithms.
Once you outline your needs and criteria, you can shortlist the firms that meet those requirements.
While it may seem that almost every tenant screening company offers the same, the details will help you decide which service is the best for you. Maybe some packages have more attractive prices but lack services and features that are important to you. If you’re on the lookout for full rental management service along with the best tenant screening services for landlords, reach out to sales teams and request demos to see different software in action. If you need a basic tenant screening service, you can simply pick the most valuable package, no fuss, no muss.
Once you do your research and get an idea of the average industry price range, you can outline a budget that corresponds with your needs but won’t break the bank. From here, pick the tenant screening services that provide the best overall value. Don’t base your decision solely on the lowest price point, as it’s better to spend a few extra bucks in the beginning than pour thousands of dollars to fix the mess your tenants have created.