I almost feel bad asking this as variations of this question has been asked many times. I'm looking for a website to help screen tenants (credit, eviction, and criminal reports). However, I'd prefer to use a site where I can pull the report myself using the tenants SSN, name, address, etc. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
@Kyle R. - I feel the same way, I don't like the smartmove type things, they just aren't as effective for me and take too long. I use Rentec Direct's tenant screening service now. I plug in the tenant's info and they give the reports directly to me.
I pull my own through Mr Landlord tenant screening and have been very happy with them. You get the full detailed report (as opposed to just a recommendation) plus a FICO score.
You need a full screening report. The score by itself tells you nothing. You need to know why and the history including total amount of credit used/available to the applicant.
Why a applicant has the score they have is more important that what the score is in many cases.
@Kyle R. , I agree with Greg S. If you just receive a score, you don't see the full story for how they handle their finances. For example, someone could have a 720 credit score (good right?) but be up to debt to their eyeballs which may make it difficult for them to pay your rent if they get a reduction in work hours or get hit by another bill (medical, new furniture payment, etc.) Assessing your tenant's ability to pay is crucial and you can't minimize it's importance.
For our personal rentals, we use youcheckcredit.com which gives you the option for additional screening for evictions, criminal history, etc. The prospective tenants fill out an application and we use the information on that app to run the report (SS#, DOB, name, current address, email). After plugging in the info, an email is sent to the applicant requesting their consent. Once consent is given, the report is run and sent to us. As a courtesy, we provide a paper copy of the report to the applicant (make sure you black out your name and personal information) along with a letter of explanation of why it was denied (this is required by most states as part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act). It helps them to see what others see and takes the sting out of paying the screening fee if they don't qualify.
You may already know this, but DO NOT EVER accept a report provided to you by the applicant - even if it looks legitimate and is recently dated. This information can be bought online as can payment stubs and employment and rental history. Always do your own checks by searching any personal information provided by the tenant on the internet (name, employment, phone numbers, places of residence, etc.).
Thank you all for the replies! I'll look into the sites mentioned.
No need to feel bad, it's an important question! I always run a full credit and background check on http://www.myrental.com/ and charge an application fee from the potential tenant so the cost isn't out of my pocket. I also always require at least 2 references from other landlords/employers for piece of mind.