Choosing the Right Tenant Screening Company

There are so many different background screening companies to choose from these days. How do you evaluate them to find the best service? How do you know which company is going to provide you with a complete and accurate tenant screening report that will allow you to make an informed leasing decision?

Do your research

You are providing, or asking your applicant to provide, a third-party company with someone’s consumer information. You should know A LOT about that company.

When you come across an ad for a tenant screening company, consider the following: What do you know about this company? Where are they located – the actual location isn’t the issue but rather, do they disclose it? If it is a subsidiary, who is the parent company?

Look for an About page that gives you more information about the company and a documented privacy policy. Make sure you ask about online and physical security for your account information and your applicant’s personal information.


Many landlords worry about the cost to their prospective tenant.  Even though standard practice is to pass the cost of the tenant screening on to the applicant, price is still a high priority.  Market rate for a tenant screening report ranges from about $30 - $50 nowadays, depending on the type of screening report you order. Anything less than this is not likely to be a complete or comprehensive screening report.

How® compares:® report fees are comparable to market rate. What makes our reports stand out is the ability for applicants to share their reports with as many landlords as they like within 30 days of their order.  Applicants automatically receive a report receipt as well, which helps keep you compliant in states such as Washington, where landlords are required to provide a receipt for the cost of an applicant screening fee.

Screening Services

Type of screening services available should be a major consideration. When researching a company, look at full range of services and ask about providers. For example, if a company offers a credit report, find out which credit bureau they use.  If a credit score is included, ask what scoring model is used to calculate that score.

Beyond the standard credit and criminal searches, consider adding rental verifications to your reports. The Landlord-Tenant industry is seeing increased regulatory activity around what credit bureaus and consumer reporting agencies (tenant screening companies) can and will report. For example, in July 2017 NCAP began limiting reporting of tax liens and civil (eviction) judgments on credit reports.[1]  Rental verifications, which include detailed information such as dates of residence and payment history, can assist in making an informed leasing decision.


How® compares:

All® reports include an Experian Credit Profile with a Vantage 3.0 credit score. We offer a full range of package options, including Comprehensive reports which verify rental history provided by the applicant, as well as any additional addresses found on the credit report.


Have you ever wondered how some tenant screening companies can return “instant” reports and others don’t? The difference between the two is accuracy. Instant reports are compiled by entering your applicant’s identifying information into a database to see what public record matches are instantly returned. That means your instant report contains raw data that has not been checked for accuracy. Database information is often out of date and very incomplete. It’s also important to note a name match does not necessarily mean a record belongs to your prospective tenant. Human intervention is necessary to ensure you are receiving quality report information.

How® compares:

Each® report is processed and reviewed by an investigator. Any potential derogatory public record information is verified through real time, live court searches to ensure the information reported is the most up-to-date available.  Average turnaround for a basic report is generally 1 to 3 business hours. Comprehensive reports include rental and employment verifications and are returned in 1 to 3 business days.

Customer Service

No matter how great your screening service is, chances are you will need to talk with customer support at some point. In fact, one might argue that good customer support is invaluable if you are using an online screening service. You can get an idea of what type of support a company offers by how much contact information they provide and what information they offer on their website. First impressions are important – what kind of response do you receive when you submit your initial inquiry of interest?

How® compares:® offers customer support via phone and email with a team of individuals readily available to assist with any questions.  Our customer service department is open during business hours 7 days a week!

For more information, visit our website at