A landlord’s top priority is to make sure that a prospective tenant can pay the rent. That’s why most landlords require applicants to complete a credit check and provide proof of income before accepting an application. A high credit score is a good indication that a potential renter is financially solvent. However, it’s not the only factor that determines whether an applicant will be able to afford the rent. In addition to a tenant’s financial history, landlords also consider the applicant’s references and employment status.
The best tenant credit checks allow landlords to get a full picture of the financial standing of an applicant. These checks include the candidate’s credit report and their VantageScore, which gives a more detailed look at a person’s history with lines of credit. They can also include details such as the maximum balance they’ve ever attained, as well as the types of accounts a person maintains. Most of these services also run candidates through the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which screens them for any involvement with terrorist activity or illegal drug trafficking.
There are a number of online landlord-oriented services that can perform credit and background checks for tenants. However, if you want to save money and avoid revealing sensitive information about your applicants, you can go directly to the credit bureaus to order a report for free. For example, TransUnion offers a special service for landlords called SmartMove that allows landlords to see an applicant’s report without collecting any personal information from the individual being screened.
Landlords can choose from two plans with SmartMove: the standard version costs $20 and the premium version costs $40, which includes the ResidentScore and a feature called IncomeInsights that verifies an applicant’s reported income. The latter feature is useful because the typical credit scoring system doesn’t give landlords a true picture of an applicant’s ability to pay rent based on their income.
Another service that focuses on landlords is MyRental. The company’s screening parameters include a variety of different data points, such as an individual’s previous addresses, the length of time they resided at those places, and any eviction or criminal convictions they have recorded. MyRental also provides a score that combines all of these factors into one single number, much like a credit score.
MyRental offers landlords a wide range of additional tools, such as the ability to create custom rental applications and an option to add photos of the property. The company also has a community forum where landlords can ask questions about issues related to their business.
One of the things that sets MyRental apart from other tenant credit checks is its highly accurate reports. The company manually reviews its reports, which are available within minutes, to ensure they’re comprehensive and free of errors. In addition, it also has a feature called the Tenant Prep Score that uses machine learning to predict an individual’s risk of defaulting on a lease. The score is then compared to other renters in the same area.