Best Tenant Screening Company

26 Replies

Hi all I am wondering what everyone is using to screen their tenants. What is the best tenant screening company for landlords that manage their properties?

NTN National Tenant Network has a good reputation. But always go the extra mile to verify employment and landlord references. 

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I'm also using NTN, however, MySmartMove looks much nicer. I wonder if there is a benefit of using one over the other.

What I like about NTN is that once you accept a tenant, you report it to NTN and they monitor that person for you. So, if a tenant is looking for a new place and you don't even know about it , you would receive a notification that he or she is getting a credit check for the purpose of renting a new place, as long as the new place is also using NTN. Many local complexes that even have hundreds of units use NTN.

I find NTN also more expensive than MySmartMove.

I wonder if MySmartMove provided by Bigger Pockets is the same as the one directly from MySmartMove. Is the pricing the same?

Hi @Account Closed

I’m a representative with TransUnion SmartMove. To clarify the SmartMove pricing, the $35 screening package includes a full credit report, a criminal report, an eviction report, a ResidentScore built specifically to predict the likelihood of a bad outcome on a lease, and a leasing recommendation. The landlord can choose whether to pay the screening fee or have the applicant pay. You can find more information about the screening packages here: Also, BiggerPockets members get a discount off the retail price which you can find on the BiggerPockets perks page.

If you have any other questions please let me know. Thanks!

Hi @Andrea Collatz ,
Thank you for the message. So, Bigger Pockets users receive $5 off. Is there a difference between using regular MySmartMove account and entering the coupon vs having account?

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@Andrea Collatz Reading the details on the SmartMove tenant background check. It says it runs a criminal background check on 45 states. Which states does it exclude? We landlord in Idaho; a background check that excluded the state of Idaho would not work too well for us. 


Sara Barb

I've been using Smartmove for the past few years an I like it. I am not screening tenants that often so it is good for when I need it. I make the applicant pay for the service and they get a copy of everything I see. This makes them more willing to pay for it and it keeps me from having to collect and record application fees.

They do give you the credit score but you always need to look at the accounts anyway. Don't rely completely on the number. 

Also, don't set up a renter profile and run it on yourself so you can see what it looks like. It's not allowed. I know because a friend tried to do it.....

It depends on the level of screening you're looking for. 

Tenant screening can consist of just a background check (eviction history, credit reporting, criminal background) or it can be enhanced with additional screening. For example, there are tools that will take it a step further and actually require your leads to answer specific questions before you show them the property. They will be scored for quality based on the answers of their questions.

So you can either go with something like TransUnion, or you can take it a step further and use a tool (such as NowRenting) that incorporates the TransUnion background check, plus pre-screening questions that you can set up.

For example, you can ask, "What type of pets do you have, if any?"

If you set a possible answer as "large dog" and assign a substandard value to that answer, your lead will be assigned a sub-standard score. These scores make it easy for you to eliminate tenant leads that aren't worth your time.

Originally posted by @Andrea Collatz :

Hi @Sara Barb

Instant criminal results are not available for Wyoming, Delaware, South Dakota, and Massachusetts. If you have any other questions feel free to send me a note. Thanks!

 I'm curious, do you know why this information is not available for Delaware? Of course that's the market in which I invest :)

I read about the TransUnion "resident score".  It looks very similar to a credit score, using even the same range.  TransUnion says it is similar to a credit score and relies on the credit report, but run through a different formula to provide data more pertinent to a renter.  Does anyone know specifically what is different in the computation of a resident score?

I read this:

@James Mc Ree Great question! I hope I can be helpful.

SmartMove's ResidentScore is explicitly engineered for rental screening and is designed to provide landlords with a more accurate assessment of risk for your future rental property income than a typical credit score. With ResidentScore, you aren't stuck basing your decisions with models that are intended to predict how likely you are to repay a student loan, a mortgage, auto loan, etc. Instead, you're using a score that specifically analyzes predictors of a bad rental outcome. 

How does ResidentScore work? We review the tenant's credit history, just like a credit score. But, then run the credit history through a different formula to compile a ResidentScore. Unlike other scoring models, TransUnion's ResidentScore is powered by a sophisticated analysis of more than 500,000 actual resident records. ResidentScore then assigns a score from 350-850, with 850 being the best score possible. This score is designed to take credit report data into account when determining a tenant's score. According to TU research, ResidentScore predicts evictions 15% more often in comparison to a typical credit score!

Keep in mind that ResidentScore is only offered by TU SmartMove. 

Let me know if you have any additional questions, I am happy to help!



@Samantha Decker I read that in the site, but it doesn't say what is different in a material way.  What does "powered by a sophisticated analysis of more than 500,000 actual resident records" actually mean?  It is followed 2 sentences later by, "This score is designed to take credit report data into account when determining a tenant's score."  How does the credit report data relate to the resident data?

How well does Resident Score predict tenant performance?