Screening Tenants

15 Replies

Can anyone recommend an online screening service for tenants so we are confident we comply with all laws as well as information we should have?

MrLandlord.com

The one I used was a local screening/collection service that had a discount agreement with the local Apartment Association.  You could choose to have them check everything, including employment and previous landlord verifications, or just pull your own credit or eviction reports online.  

If you are going to have access to the reports, you will have to have your office inspected to be sure you have the applicant/tenant info in a secure location to protect them from identity theft.  It's no big deal.  I had the files in my bedroom in a locking filing cabinet.  You just basically need to show that the filing cabinet can be locked and that you have a shredder.

NTN National tenant network

Originally posted by @Sue K. :

...

If you are going to have access to the reports, you will have to have your office inspected to be sure you have the applicant/tenant info in a secure location to protect them from identity theft.  It's no big deal.  I had the files in my bedroom in a locking filing cabinet.  You just basically need to show that the filing cabinet can be locked and that you have a shredder.

An additional requirement is that your computer requires a password to gain access. 

Originally posted by @Matthew Rue :

Can anyone recommend an online screening service for tenants so we are confident we comply with all laws as well as information we should have?

Hate to burst your bubble, but the screening service cannot be expected to see to it that you are complying with laws. You will have to learn things like the Fair Credit Reporting Act and adverse actions, and there is also fair housing so as to not be guilty of discrimination. As well as state landlord tenant law, and the local municipal ordinances that regulate rental property. 

Another vote for NTN National Tenant Network. I paid a one time membership fee of $35. So worth it as I have screened all my tenants using their service and have yet to be disappointed. Strongly recommend.

mysmartmove.com

Thank you guys for the information!

@Steve thanks for bursting our bubble I need all the information you are willing to share.

I appreciate the help.

As Steve B said above, it's worth becoming familiar with your state's Landlord-tenant law.  Most states have their statutes online and it isn't any big deal to read through it.  You ought to do so with a file open and cut-n-paste important factoids to save for yourself as reminders.  For instance, you'd be amazed how many tenants i talk with have no idea what the limits are on their security deposit, how much time landlords have before returning it to them, etc.  So many low-income people think of the security deposit as a tax that landlords inflict on them; they have no idea that there is interest due them, that they have to apprise the LL of their new address when they move, and that they are due an accounting of their deposit upon return.  And there can be special rules regarding senior citizen tenants, too.  Read through it. Most of it's legaleese gobbledygook, but it's important gobbledygook and you'll be a better building owner for it.  Does your state require the tenant or the LL to keep the stairs and hallways clean?  You need to know!  

Thank you David I appreciate the advice and will use it!

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