Newbie help - background checks - unique situation w multistate

9 Replies

Hello all! 

Spent way too much time in the last day reading up on all of the tenant screening resources - wow there are so many options!! Looking for your input and your results!! 

We are landlords in WI - so we’ve always just used CCAP (free criminal records) as all of our tenants have been from WI. 

Well now we have an applicant who works on contract, and moves states every 1-2 years. This applicant has lived in 5-6 different states! If you have experience with this type of applicant and have run a background check that will pull from MANY states please speak up! I keep finding reviews on resources I think are great and then someone posts “they missed X in state Y”. 

On our paper app the applicant appears to be a good pick. But with this background I’m nervous it could be really easy to hide any “bad” history. 

Also want to add - we want to run this background check entirely on our end - I’m worried the applicant might mark “only lived in WI” and then the resource we use will not actually check nationwide records. It will only check WI, and we’ve already done that. We have all of the data already - name, date of birth, SSN, etc. 

Please point us in the right direction - thank you so much for your help and feedback!!! Please if your resource missed data post that below as well. 

Thank you!! 

Originally posted by @Mitch Messer :

Hi @Samantha Teal and welcome to BiggerPockets!

TransUnion's SmartMove service offers multi-state background checking, along with detailed credit reporting. 

Thank you!! Do you know if I can run that report on my own or do I need the potential renter to enter their information?  

Originally posted by @Mitch Messer :

Hi @Samantha Teal and welcome to BiggerPockets!

TransUnion's SmartMove service offers multi-state background checking, along with detailed credit reporting. 

Also according to their website it says “results in minutes” but also I know this potential renter stayed in North Carolina. I know you need to submit a request to the state’s database in order to have records pulled. So is this something transunion will just automatically pull? Or is this something that is skipped due to the manual process required? Sorry on the questions we are just really confused and we do not want to miss out on any data. Hoping we can find a great resource to use moving forward after we figure out this first one. Many thanks for all of your help here REALLY sincerely appreciate it. 

 

I second TransUnion smart move. You send the tenant a link. You can pay or they pay. You don't get their social or dl number, so you don't have to have special Bs for security. Less liability on you. If had food success with it.

Clint

Originally posted by @Samantha Teal :
Originally posted by @Mitch Messer:

Hi @Samantha Teal and welcome to BiggerPockets!

TransUnion's SmartMove service offers multi-state background checking, along with detailed credit reporting. 

Also according to their website it says “results in minutes” but also I know this potential renter stayed in North Carolina. I know you need to submit a request to the state’s database in order to have records pulled. So is this something transunion will just automatically pull? Or is this something that is skipped due to the manual process required? Sorry on the questions we are just really confused and we do not want to miss out on any data. Hoping we can find a great resource to use moving forward after we figure out this first one. Many thanks for all of your help here REALLY sincerely appreciate it. 

 

I imagine TransUnion has direct access to the databases for each state, but you should confirm that with them.

Also, if you know the renter stayed in North Carolina, make it their responsibility to provide you with the address as well as the name and phone number of their previous landlord.

I personally did not like SmartMove, since the tenants enter their own info and unscrupulous ones could circumvent their past misgivings quite easily.  I also found their fee structure confusing, using a duplicate site for BP members to get a discount, which I could not always get to work.

I now use tenantbackgroundsearch.com, where I enter the tenant data myself, the tenants then get an email to confirm their identity and give permission for the check, and then I get the report.

Many of the services out there are using the same data mining system (e.g. TransUnion), so the reports will look very similar regardless of whom you use.

We use Cozy.co for background & credit check (together price is 39.99) or you can do seperately. We use this company for online rent payments as well, and have have good success so far