Last updated Dec 21, 2020
Landlords, real estate agents, and property managers can all benefit from the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of a tenant screening service.
But not all of these services are alike. Some differ greatly in the tools and reports they offer.
This article is to help anyone who asks, “What is the best tenant screening service?”
We’ve composed a list of the top screening companies. This guide will help you decide which tenant screening service is best for you and your business needs.
We used a 5-star rating system to measure and compare the best tenant screening services.
Tenant Services Assessment Criteria
- Online Rental Application (The availability of a free online rental application that applicants can fill out online)
- Credit Score and Credit Report (We looked at whether or not you receive a credit report, and, if so, is it a full report and score?)
- Criminal Background Check (This shows the renter’s past convictions. Is the background check nationwide or state-specific?)
- Eviction History (This report shows previous addresses and time frames in the tenant’s resident history. It will show any court actions related to an eviction.)
- Tenant Screening Pricing (How much does the service cost? Are there bundles or a la carte options?)
- Who Pays the Screening Fee? (Does the applicant pay the screening fee, or do you have the option to pay?)
- Turnaround Time (How long does it take to get reports in hand from time of order?)
- Method to Request Reports (What process does the user undergo to receive the reports?)
Let’s see who made the list:
Best Tenant Screening Services of 2021
You’ll want a service that does it all: credit reports, background checks, previous and current landlord history, eviction history, reference checking, and more.
RentSpree is a full-service online tenant application and screening platform with all of these features. Applicants can apply directly online to your property via a LeaseLink™ that you send them. You can collect online rental applications and screen them all at once.
RentSpree provides a fully detailed TransUnion credit report presented in an easy-to-read format that includes:
- the credit score
- payment history
- trade lines
- collections, and more
RentSpree provides access to extensive criminal records including Most Wanted lists and the National Sex Offender Registry.
The background check report searches more than 200 million criminal records (national and state databases).
With RentSpree you receive the best features of tenant screening services. You receive a secure and free online rental application where your applicants fill out their information directly.
Best of all, RentSpree is free for the real estate agent, property manager, or landlord. Today, RentSpree is used in all 50 States and is the most frequently and highest rated reviewed rental screening software on Google.
Does RentSpree Tenant Screening offer additional features? : Yes
With RentSpree PRO ($9.99/month), you can request that the rental applicant upload additional required documents such as proof of income and government issued identification. Additionally, reference checking is also available with RentSpree PRO, which allows references to be sent emails or texts asking them to verify online application information.
Lastly, agents and landlords can purchase a Rent Estimate Report that will provide key information about market trends and comparables.
How does RentSpree Tenant Screening work?
RentSpree protects the applicant’s information via a secure portal and it performs a soft credit inquiry which is not detrimental to the applicant’s credit like a hard inquiry is. The method to obtain the reports is as follows:
1. You sign up for a free RentSpree account using your email address and password.
2. You can then send applicants a LeaseLink which takes them to the online rental application and procures their permission to generate their screening reports.
How much does RentSpree Tenant Screening cost?
The applicant pays the screening fee. Prices for a premium package starts at $30. These reports are available instantly as soon as the applicant authorizes their reports.
2. American Apartment Owners Association Tenant Screening
Does American Apartment Owners Association Tenant Screening offer additional features : No
How does American Apartment Owners Association Tenant Screening work?
The method to request reports is as follows: You provide AAOA with tenant information and pay for the package of reports you wish to purchase. You receive the tenant screening reports in that package instantly except for the credit report because the applicant will need to grant you permission to view their credit report.
AAOA emails the tenant a unique link so that they can verify their identity and release the credit report to you. AAOA emails you when the credit report is ready for viewing.
How much does American Apartment Owners Association Tenant Screening cost?
Tenant screening services are available to both members and non-members. AAOA members do receive a $10 discount on screening services. You can receive a full credit report and score depending on which package you purchase, those credit reports could be in the form of a traditional FICO report, ResidentScore, VantageScore or NRS.
The criminal background check can be purchased with some packages. Be careful when selecting a package because some only include criminal records history for one state rather than the whole United States.
For evictions, you must pay for the most expensive package ($49.95) in order to get a nationwide eviction history. The less expensive packages include only state-specific eviction history, and some do not include the eviction history at all. The packages range in price from $19.95 to $49.95 each. It should be noted that although reference checks are not included in any specific package, they can be included as a separate add-on.
3. Corelogic MyRental Tenant Screening
Does Corelogic MyRental Tenant Screening offer additional features : No
How does Corelogic MyRental Tenant Screening work?
When you want to screen applicants, you can fill in the info about the applicant on the MyRental platform and then submit it for screening.
The applicant grants you access to their credit information and you receive the reports.
How much does Corelogic MyRental Tenant Screening cost?
There are three MyRental plans to choose from. Basic is $19.99 but does not include credit history information. It does have an eviction and criminal background check.
To get a credit report and score, you’ll have to pay $29.99 for Premium and $34.99 (Premium Plus) for statistics about how the applicant scored in comparison with other renters in the area. You decide who pays for the screening fee. CoreLogic MyRental is one of the top tenant screening companies but does not check references.
4. Cozy.Co Tenant Screening
Does Cozy.Co Tenant Screening offer additional features : Yes
Cozy.co has additional features like rent payment collection, rent estimate reports and renter insurance.
How does Cozy.Co Tenant Screening work?
Applicants apply directly to the property and pay for their background check and credit reports online. The reports are then emailed to the landlord.
How much does Cozy.Co Tenant Screening cost?
Rental applicants are required to pay for the background check and credit reports. They can pay for both reports as a bundle for $39.99 or $24.99 each.
5. Experian Connect Tenant Screening
Does Experian Connect Tenant Screening offer additional features : No
How does Experian Connect Tenant Screening work?
The tenant is invited to fill out an online form to verify their identity. Applicants pay for their credit report and grant you access to it.
How much does Experian Connect Tenant Screening cost?
The applicant pays $14.95 for their credit report. Experian Connect does not include a criminal record search or dedicated eviction history reports.
6. RentPrep Tenant Screening
Does RentPrep Tenant Screening offer additional features : Yes
As an available add-on, you may also request a Judgment and Lien search ($4.95) or employment/rental history verification ($12.00). The verification service means RentPrep will check up to three references by phone.
How does RentPrep Tenant Screening work?
Agents and Landlords sign up for a free account, choose a package, order extras (add-ons) if needed, upload verification documents, and pay online.
How much does RentPrep Tenant Screening cost?
RentPrep offers two main screening packages:
- Transunion SmartMove Credit Report for $35
- RentPrep Background Check for $18.95
If you don’t care for a full credit report and score, try the RentPrep Background Check. This includes SSN verification, address history, eviction report, judgments and liens, and bankruptcies. You can also order add-ons if needed. Verification (reference) calls cost an extra $12 and so do national criminal and sex offender reports for $4.
Deciding who pays for the tenant screening fee depends on which package you buy. If you purchase the RentPrep Background Check, you pay the screening fee. If you buy the SmartMove package, then you can choose to let the tenant pay.
7. Transunion Smartmove Tenant Screening
Does Transunion Smartmove Tenant Screening offer additional features : No
How does Transunion Smartmove Tenant Screening work?
The method to request reports is as follows: You create an account and send your applicant an invitation. The applicant receives the invite and completes the online application. After their identity is verified, SmartMove sends the applicant’s reports to you.
How much does Transunion Smartmove Tenant Screening cost?
There are three plans available that range in price from $25 to $40 per applicant.
All of these tenant screening services are upstanding, but some offer more than others.
It’s a good idea to do your homework before choosing a tenant screening company for your rentals. The more you know about these companies and their features, the more money you can save and put back into your business.
Reducing your costs and liability is key in choosing the right tenant screening service.