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Which tenant screening solution is right for you?

Which tenant screening solution is right for you?Which tenant screening solution is right for you?

Summary

Every tenant screening solution comes with its own set of unique pros and cons. Which solution is right for you largely depends on how you screen prospective tenants and the types of information you're looking to gather. In this article, we're reviewing seven of the most popular tenant screening services available to help you determine the best fit for your screening needs.

Whether you’ve been through an eviction yourself or heard of the horror stories related to them, a great rental experience begins with great tenants. 

Even if you’re a good judge of character, you still need to screen a potential tenant to get the full picture of their financial status, including a comprehensive background check covering criminal background and eviction history.

In this guide, we’ll break down what makes different screening solutions unique and highlight their key features and pricing structures so you can make an informed decision. Whether you’re a new or seasoned landlord, we can help you narrow down which tenant screening solution is right for you. 

Top 7 tenant screening solutions to consider

Here’s our recommended list of the top tenant screening services that are worth evaluating to see if they meet your requirements and expectations. 

1. RentSpree

What’s included

  • Detailed TransUnion credit report including credit scores, payment history, credit inquiries, trade lines, collections, and more
  • Comprehensive background check showing information from the National Sex Offender Public Registry, Most Wanted databases, and criminal records from multiple states
  • Rental history report including access to an applicant's eviction-related proceedings pulled from over 25 million records across the United States

Additional features

  • 24/7 access
  • Liability protection
  • Income verification
  • Rental application review
  • Customizable reports, always presented in an easy-to-read format
  • Online rental application process

Pricing

RentSpree is free for landlords, real estate agents, and property managers to use. For applicants, tenant screening pricing starts at $39.99.  

Who pays the cost of the screening?

Applicants

Why choose RentSpree?

RentSpree, a leader in tenant screening services, is utilized in every state across the United States and is one of the most frequently reviewed and top-rated rental screening software on Google. Catering to applicants, agents, landlords, and renters, RentSpree streamlines the screening process with a suite of features including income verification. Renowned for its user-friendly setup, RentSpree can be accessed from anywhere at any time, making it a go-to choice for efficient tenant screening.

Start screening with RentSpree today.

2. TurboTenant

What’s included

  • Credit score
  • Lines of credit
  • Credit inquiries
  • Debt in collections
  • Criminal record
  • Past evictions
  • Income verification

Additional features

  • Integrated rental accounting
  • Rental advertising
  • Lease agreements
  • Document management
  • Rent payments
  • Maintenance requests
  • Expense tracking

Pricing

Landlords pay $0 for the screening while tenants pay a fee of either $45 or $55, contingent upon whether the landlord has subscribed to the Free or Premium plan. While most landlords have the applicant pay the fee, landlords can pay it instead if they wish.

Who pays the cost of the screening?

Applicants

Why choose TurboTenant?

TurboTenant's combination of comprehensive screening services, user-friendly interface, and affordability makes it a standout choice among other tenant screening solutions in the market. If you're looking to thoroughly screen applicants quickly, TurboTenant may be right for you.

3. RentPrep

What’s included

  • Full credit report with ResidentScore®
  • SSN verification/address history
  • Nationwide criminal & sex offender search
  • Nationwide evictions
  • Bankruptcies
  • Applicant pay option

Additional features

  • Judgment and Liens
  • Income Verification

Pricing

RentPrep offers two different package options. RentPrep’s Rental Background Check package is $21 while the comprehensive TransUnion Full Credit Report is priced at $40. You can also request additional reports like income verification for $10 or judgment and lien reports for $7. 

Who pays the cost of the screening? 

Either the landlord or applicant pays the fee.

Why choose RentPrep?

RentPrep’s flexible options means landlords can choose either a basic package or a more robust one depending on their needs. RentPrep stands out as an ideal choice for landlords managing multiple properties due to its discounted bulk volume pricing and flexible bundle options.

4. AppFolio

What’s included

  • Credit score
  • Criminal history
  • Eviction history
  • Rental history

Additional features

  • Income verification 
  • Customizable criteria
  • Online application processing

Pricing: AppFolio has two pricing packages, with individual screenings ranging from $15-$20. Income verification can be added to either package for an additional $12 fee. 

Who pays the cost of the screening?

Applicant

Why choose AppFolio?

If you're already using AppFolio's property management software, their tenant screening service seamlessly integrates with its other functionalities and streamlines overall property management operations. AppFolio is also unique because it allows landlords to customize the screening criteria and parameters according to their property requirements, helping landlords identify tenants that best fit their expectations.

5. TransUnion SmartMove

What’s included

Basic:

  • ResidentScore®
  • Criminal background

Plus:

  • ResidentScore®
  • Criminal background
  • Credit report
  • Eviction-related report

Pro: 

  • ResidentScore®
  • Criminal background
  • Credit report
  • Eviction-related report
  • Income insights

Additional features

  • Identity verification
  • Integrated communication tools
  • Customized leasing recommendations

Pricing

SmartMove's tenant screening pricing varies based on which of the three plans you select. The Basic plan is priced at $25, while the Plus and Premium packages are offered at $40 and $43 per screening, respectively. 

Who pays the cost of the screening?

Either the landlord or applicant pays the fee.

Why choose TransUnion SmartMove?

SmartMove provides valuable tenant screening services for individual property owners and smaller management groups, and is ideal for someone who doesn't always need to screen tenants. SmartMove offers a cost-effective, online solution and, because it's powered by one of the three major credit bureaus, provides additional security for landlords' peace of mind.

6. First Advantage

What’s included

  • Credit checks
  • Rental history
  • Criminal record reports
  • Identity verification

Additional features

  • Income verification
  • Proprietary records’ database
  • Detailed operational, benchmarking, and reporting data
  • Utility debt histories
  • SkipWatch scan with more automated fraud solutions
  • Insight Advantage, real-time analytics tool

Pricing

Users who are interested must contact First Advantage for a detailed breakdown of pricing options.

Who pays the cost of the screening?

For details, contact First Advantage directly. 

Why choose First Advantage?

First Advantage serves employers in over 200 countries and territories, conducting over 75 million screenings annually in more than 19 languages for approximately 18 million applicants. With a substantial global reach, First Advantage is an appealing option for landlords dealing with international applicants or properties.

First Advantage offers a wide range of screening services beyond the standard credit, criminal, and eviction checks. They maintain an extensive database of initial filings, possessions, judgments, and lease disputes, providing a comprehensive view of an applicant's history. They also maintain their own database updated with crucial information related to evictions, which may not always be reported to credit agencies.

7. RentRedi

What’s included

  • Credit report
  • Criminal report
  • Eviction report
  • Credit-based ResidentScore

Additional features

  • Customizable screening packages

Pricing

The cost of one screening report is $39.99.

Who pays the cost of the screening?

Either the landlord or applicant pays the fee.

Why choose RentRedi?

RentRedi is an all-in-one solution that offers tenant screening as well as property management tools like online rent collection, maintenance tracking, and lease management. Its intuitive interface makes the screening process easy for landlords who may not have extensive experience with tenant screening or property management software. In addition, RentRedi’s pricing structure makes it an attractive option for smaller property management groups, independent landlords, or landlords operating on a budget.

Essential criteria for assessing tenant screening providers

Choosing a tenant screening service involves more than just selecting the one with the most features. It’s about finding a solution that provides comprehensive information, is consistently accurate, and can help you make informed decisions about which tenants to accept for your rental property.

When evaluating the different tenant screening solutions on the market, we strongly recommend taking the following factors into consideration:

Cost

Make sure the price of screening tenants fits your budget and aligns with the suite of features promised by the screening provider. Sometimes saving a few dollars upfront might lead to significant expenses in the future, especially if you end up accepting the wrong tenant because of missing information or inaccurate records returned during the screening process. The cost of dealing with a tenant that could incur property damage, refuse to pay rent, or introduce legal issues far outweighs the initial savings you might've made on a cheaper, less comprehensive screening service.

Data protection

Tenant screening often involves the handling of an applicant's personally identifiable information such as birthdates, addresses, and social security numbers. The tenant screening provider you choose should prioritize data security and have measures in place to ensure compliance with industry standards such as encryption protocols, secure storage practices, and restricted access to personal information to prevent data breaches.

Verification of employment

According toTransUnion research, 84% of landlords say their biggest concern about new tenants is whether or not they can afford to pay rent. When evaluating different tenant screening solutions, look for providers that offer income and employment verification as part of their screening bundle so you can rest easy knowing you've thoroughly vetted each applicant.

Ease of use

Finding the right tenant for your property is challenging enough; don't complicate the matter with a cumbersome or difficult tenant screening solution as well. Look for services that are straightforward and easy to navigate, and generate reports that are easy to read. You may also want to consider service providers that can provide timely deliver of screening reports so you quickly evaluate candidates and fill vacancies with minimal delays.

Legal compliance

Adhering to Fair Housing laws during the screening process is crucial, and the tenant screening solutions you employ should aid in preventing the discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, disability, or national origin. The screening solutions you use should acknowledge these anti-discriminatory laws and follow industry regulations to avoid potential lawsuits or legal issues.

Customer support

When evaluating tenant screening services, look for services that provide reliable customer support to address queries or concerns promptly. While this is likely not a make-or-break factor, it is useful to employ a service with a responsive customer support team in the instance you run into an issue during your screening process.

Integration and compatibility

Last but not least, check to see if the screening service integrates with your existing property management systems or software. Doing so will allow for smoother data flow, reduce the need for manual data entry, and minimize the number of tools you have to juggle when finding a tenant.

Start screening your tenants with RentSpree

Your rental property is too valuable to take risks with, and securing a reliable tenant is paramount for the success of your business. RentSpree's tenant screening services make the process easy, ensuring every applicant undergoes a thorough background check, and gives you the confidence that your next tenant will be your very best tenant.

Not all screening services are created equal or provide landlords with a complete screening report or credit history. RentSpree’s comprehensive screening report includes all the essential information you need so you can feel confident handing over the keys to your property.

Start screening with RentSpree today.

Cap Rate Calculator

rentspree illustration of calculator

How to use

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Commission Calculator

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Rent to Income Ratio Calculator

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Move-in Move-out Calculators

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