Finding the best tenant screening service for your rental property is no easy feat. Beyond the credit report and background check, it can be difficult discerning if a screening company is doing all that they can to protect you and your property. To ensure you get the best tenant screening service possible, make sure the company you pick has these 4 vital things.
- Eviction and Criminal History Data that goes Above and Beyond
When reviewing tenant screening services to find the best one for your rental properties, first and foremost you should make sure you’re getting the information you need to make an informed decision. This includes a reputable credit report (with credit score), criminal background check, eviction history check, and a sex offender registry search. While most tenant screening companies utilize credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (with either a VantageScore or FICO credit score), you will want to investigate whether their eviction and criminal history derive from large and reputable databases. This means, rather than pulling an applicant’s eviction records from just a few states, you’ll be able to see records nationwide, straight from the landlord-tenant courts.
For criminal history, check your tenant screening contenders if their criminal databases not only scan nationwide, but from more than one local database as well. With a tenant screening company that utilizes multiple criminal databases, you’ll be able to see if your applicant has any jail or prison records, wants and warrants, or is on the sex offender registry. Don’t forget to ask if they scan the terrorist watch list (OFAC) and the international police database (INTERPOL)!
Quick Tip: You should be wary of screening companies that draw from only a few criminal databases or non-governmental databases!
- A High Accuracy Rate
This might be self-explanatory, but your future tenant screening should be accurate. The best tenant screening service should be able to show you how their algorithm successfully matches your rental applicant (with information like their SSN, previous address history, etc.). They should also have measures in place to identify potential aliases (alternate names the applicant has used) and have procedures to minimize false criminal hits. Doing things like updating criminal and eviction records every 24 hours can provide the freshest results and highest possible accuracy on your background screening reports.
If you’re between two potential screening services, ask them to show how they’re better. Their willingness to prove to you how accurate they are will not only show if their tenant screening reports will help you accept good tenants (and not high risk, repeat offenders) but showcase their level of customer service.
- Highest Tier Security Measures
No one wants their applicant’s personal information to be stolen, especially not you. With any tenant screening provider you choose, it’s vital that the information they provide is secure and the technology they use is up-to-date. If you’re curious about ApplyConnect®, we use a 3rd party Qualified Security Assessor to annually review our physical and computer infrastructure. We’re also EI3PA Level 1 certified (similar to the PCI compliance that credit card processing companies abide by).
Quick Tip: If a provider you’re interested in doesn’t talk about their high security measures, then that’s a big red flag!
For independent landlords and real estate agents like yourself, the best tenant screening service for your property can be the most cost-efficient one. While you should be looking for a tenant screening company with quality eviction and criminal data and top-tier accuracy and security, you should also look for one that doesn’t break the bank or have an extensive set-up process. At ApplyConnect® we pride ourselves on offering tenant screening with zero set-up fees or screening costs. Unless you choose to absorb the cost, each ApplyConnect® report is paid completely by your rental applicants – there are absolutely zero costs on your end.
While making sure the tenant screening services you’re eying has all of these 4 things can seem a little unnecessary, at the end the day it’s worth it. As tenant screening is your first defense from potential liabilities – like property damage, lawsuits, and even a loss in reputation – you want to make sure your screening company is accurate enough and robust enough to help you select the perfect tenants. Good luck in your search!
Have you found the best tenant screening service for your property? What feature is the biggest priority for you?