Background checks without tenant authorization

1 Reply

Hi BP,

I recently used to complete my first background check on some recent applicants. I liked the site and the price ($60 for 2 tenants which included past address history, nationwide criminal record search, eviction records, and credit report with credit score), but I did not like that they would not give me the report until the tenant logged into their e-mail and authorized the credit/background checks even though I had the tenants' social security numbers. 

I've rented before, and I never had to go into my e-mail and authorize a check. This really slows things down, and I already have the tenant's authorization to run checks on my application. Is there a site I can use that will just let me run the report without any actions on the tenants' part? 


Hey @Nicole Heasley , there are a couple options, depending on your preferences.

You can have a one-time, on-site inspection done and then you can get direct access to the applicant's credit file and full credit report with no involvement needed on the part of the applicant.  Accessing the reports will be instantaneous too, so no waiting around for a third party company to send you the information you need either.

Unfortunately, there's no way around the site inspection if you want direct access to the detailed credit reports.  All three credit bureaus require it, as a result of the FTC requiring them to implement tighter controls to cut back on identity theft. 

Fortunately, it's not a difficult process.  I've been through two inspections with two different companies and they are quick (less than 10 minutes), relatively inexpensive ($50-60 depending on the company), and easy. They only check to make sure you have things like: a shredder, a locking file cabinet where the tenant/credit information is stored, a password on your computer, and a lock on the door to the office/part of the house where you conduct your tenant screening.

On the other hand, if you do not want to have a site inspection, there are ways that you can still run credit checks without any involvement from the applicant.  However, you will NOT get detailed credit information on the applicant. You will just get something along the lines of a "recommendation" or "rental decision" (yes or no), depending on the company and certain criteria contained in the applicant's credit file (which you don't actually get to see). 

In my opinion, the first option (full detailed credit report) is the way to go.