One of the most crucial parts of managing a rental property is ensuring that you are choosing only the best tenants to occupy the home. 

Whether it’s a single-family home or an apartment complex, dealing with a problem tenant can cause a long list of issues for not only yourself but the property owner and even the property itself. 

From lost funds due to unpaid rent, to damage resulting in extra property maintenance, to angry neighbors, managing a property with a difficult resident is never ideal. Additionally, eviction is a lengthy and complicated ordeal, and as a property manager, you should always do whatever you can to avoid evicting a tenant.

But how do you avoid dealing with irresponsible tenants? Well, the best way to ensure that every resident is reliable and qualified is to implement a thorough and effective tenant screening process

While this may seem daunting at first, we have provided you with a comprehensive guide to help you feel more at ease with this important responsibility. The best way to screen tenants before signing a lease agreement is to invest in high-quality tenant screening services. 

This will greatly help you to cut down on time while feeling confident about your tenants. So, if you want to implement effective tenant screening for your property management business, keep reading to see our top picks for the best tenant screening services available!

Two people reaching across a desk to shake hands

What to Think About When Choosing a Tenant Screening Service

When trying to determine which screening service to invest in, there are several different things to consider before making your choice.

Here are the main factors that you should think about when choosing a tenant screening service:

1. Fair Credit Reporting Act Compliance

Before committing to any of the top tenant screening services, you want to make sure it’s compliant with FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) regulations. 

Adhering to FCRA regulations and having knowledgeable and adequately trained staff are absolutely essential to any tenant screening service. This will make sure that any credit history screening that is done is compliant with both state and federal laws. 

2. Pricing

Pricing is an important factor when it comes to choosing tenant screening services for your property management company. There are many different pricing models to choose from, and you want to make sure that whichever service you choose has a tenant screening cost that works for you. 

Most tenant screening services offer users options that will typically include monthly pricing, wholesale pricing, or pricing per tenant report. Our recommendation is to calculate the number of tenants that you plan on screening each month and base your ideal pricing model on that average number. 

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Additionally, it is important to check if the tenant screening companies implement any hidden fees that you have not financially prepared for. 

3. Human-Verified or Guaranteed Results 

There are several tenant screening services that are computer generated. This is typically to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the results. However, our recommendation is to work with a service that uses human verification methods to check the validity of the full credit report and criminal background check. 

While they are reliable sources of information, databases can also be flawed, outdated, or mistaken. To truly cover all of your bases when it comes to screening potential tenants, the service that you choose to work with should be human-verified, or at the very least, include a guarantee. 

The 5 Best Tenant Screening Services

Now that we’ve talked about what exactly to look for when choosing a tenant screening service, let’s dive into our top picks! We’ll go over what services they offer, pricing, customer ratings, and overall reviews. 

1. RentPrep

Founded in 2017, RentPrep was designed to provide rental property managers and owners with thorough credit reports and background checks. RentPrep is extremely beneficial to property management companies as it features a variety of specialized services, paired with an accessible pricing model. 

While working with RentPrep, you have access to a professional team of in-house screeners that are FCRA-certified. This team conducts over 3,000 screenings a year across the country. 

Close up of someone using a laptop with an external white mouse and keyboard to perform a tenant screening

Because RentPrep conducts screenings done by real humans rather than simply relying on software to get the job done, you can count on their accuracy. RentPrep’s reputation in the industry is nothing but extraordinary, and it is often rated the top screening service in the United States.

RentPrep offers users two different pricing models that depend on what your individual needs are, so you will be charged per screening. 

There are two different types of screenings that you can access through RentPrep. The first type does not require credit check consent from your prospective tenant and provides a standard tenant screening report. The second type requires credit check consent and provides you with full credit reports. 

In addition to all of this, RentPrep also offers users one of the most extensive criminal record screenings that you can find, as they provide access to many databases at the county, state, and federal levels. 

RentPrep is known for their high-quality work and quick turnaround time. In fact, users can expect to receive their tenant screening results in less than an hour during standard business hours. 

While this may be a slower turnaround than your standard computer-based screening service, this turnaround time is incredibly impressive for a service that is vetted thoroughly by real humans. RentPrep has designed an incredible system for reliable accuracy and a quick turnaround time. 

Focused person sitting at a desk working on their laptop researching tenant screening companies

The following is a list of different screening services that RentPrep can provide:

  • Social security number and identity verification.
  • Rental history and rental background check.
  • Criminal background check.
  • Nationwide information regarding a tenant’s judgment, lien, bankruptcy and eviction history.
  • Applicant’s credit score checks and income verification.
  • Full credit history.
  • Sex offender registry check.
  • Credit decision report.

2. E-Renter

E-Renter is an extensive database for online records that was founded in 2003 by two rental property owners. E-Renter is currently one of the most comprehensive and reputable criminal background check services on the market.

Due to the founders’ extensive experience in rental properties, E-Renter is skillfully tailored to fit the needs of any property manager looking for a high-quality tenant screening service. 

E-Renter invests in highly trained, FCRA certified and bonded employees. This means that you can relax knowing that all of your criminal background checks will be thorough and accurate. E-Renter can provide users with an accurate and thorough teant background search in less than a few minutes. 

As for the service’s pricing, E-Renter offers three different plans with different costs. These plans allow rental property managers and owners to choose a tenant background check package based on their own individual needs. 

The three plans offered by E-Renter are the Basic plan, the Premium plan, and the Ultimate plan. The Ultimate plan is one the most advanced and intensive tenant background check services available. 

Person in a blue blazer talking on the phone

Depending what your tenant background search needs are, E-Renter is often able to generate your results in just a few minutes. E-Renter is the best tenant screening service option for property managers who only require screening occasionally, as there are no minimum orders, no signup fees, and no monthly fees associated with using the platform. 

E-Renter is a unique service that offers accurate criminal background checks for anyone using the entry-level plans. This makes their services more accessible for newer property management companies that may not have the largest portfolios. 

E-Renter is always compliant with both state and federal regulations and can access local and nationwide databases. 

Reports are generated quickly and users can access the results via their online portal, so you can save endless amounts of time while receiving the results you want. Their customer service team is available through email, phone, or online form from Monday through Friday. 

Here are the background checks that are provided by E-Renter:

  • Social security number verification.
  • Rental history and previous addresses.
  • Criminal background checks.
  • Income verification through prospective tenant’s credit score.
  • Rental background check through access to nationwide data regarding eviction history, judgments, liens, and bankruptcy.

3. Tenant Reports

Tenant Reports has over 25 years of experience when it comes to providing property management companies with quick and accurate results. This service offers users four different screening methods to fit the individual needs of every property manager. This is helpful for property management companies of any size. 

A property manager signing a lease in a house with a family of two adults and one child

Tenant Reports provides a user-friendly online portal, allowing rental managers to easily access results and process new tenant screening reports. Through this portal, users can send applications to a prospective tenant and collect e-signatures. 

Tenant Reports makes applications easy for interested tenants, allowing them to apply directly on your website. This also allows them to easily provide consent for further tenant screening. 

Tenant Reports offers customizable pricing that allows users to choose which types of reports they feel are relevant to the property. This makes Tenant Reports stand out compared to other tenant screening services. Each tenant screening report is priced accordingly, and you can even access discounts if you use the service often enough. 

Ultimately, Tenant Reports offers a more “as-needed” pricing model. This pricing model is perfect for smaller property management companies. 

If your company needs a larger number of tenant screening reports, Tenant Reports can help you save time and energy by offering users their fax-in and fax-back services. This allows property management companies to fax rental applications from prospective tenants directly to Tenant Reports. Users can then get results back in less than an hour. 

In addition to providing high-quality results, Tenant Reports also offers their users exceptional customer service. Through their website, customers can access many different resources including frequently asked questions, an online portal, comprehensive information regarding their services, and more.

A key in an open door

Here is a list of the different background checks provided by Tenant Reports:

  • Verification for social security numbers.
  • Full credit report and tenant scorecards.
  • Criminal background check that includes county, state/multi-state, federal, and global databases (including sex offender search). 
  • Verification of employment history.
  • Banking verification.
  • Tax return verification.
  • Motor vehicle records.
  • Verification of previous landlords.
  • Rental history and previous addresses.
  • Access to nationwide databases regarding eviction history, liens, judgments, and bankruptcies.

4. Rentec Direct

Rentec Direct provides property management companies with quick and reliable criminal and credit checks. As one of the fastest-growing tenant screening sites today, they even offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you find any mistakes in your report. When you use Rentec Direct, you can access comprehensive tenant screening reports in an instant. 

Using a nationwide criminal records search, TransUnion credit report, national eviction report, and many verification databases regarding social security numbers and address histories, you can rest knowing that you are only receiving the most thorough screening reports. 

Rentec Direct even provides property managers with direct access to a tenant’s credit report. This means that users can instantly see a prospective tenant’s comprehensive credit records and history. 

This is a feature that sets Rentec Direct apart from its competitors, as they are one of the few online tenant screening services that provides reports that are as in-depth as this. 

Rentec Direct offers managers a monthly membership for comprehensive tenant screening services. The fee is only $15 and is charged by year. Once you become a member, you will be able to order one complimentary premium tenant screening package per month. 

Four people in a living room, one adult is shaking a child's hand

You will also be able to access wholesale pricing, which is $15 for each premium screening and report package, for any other tenant screening packages that you may need to order. The premium package includes a full credit report, eviction history, and criminal background check. 

Depending on the size of your property management company, Rentec Direct’s unique pricing model may be the right fit for you. In addition to these premium packages, Rentec Direct can provide users with income verification, and reports regarding bankruptcy, liens, and judgment records. 

Rentec Direct promises prompt results that are accurate and reliable. The service delivers all reports directly to you in 60 seconds. When using Rentec Direct’s preliminary services, tenant involvement and consent are not necessary. 

Rentec Direct also offers users flexible service packages depending on how many units are being managed and how large your property management company is. As an added bonus to Rentec Direct, they offer online rent payment services for your residents. 

Here is a list of the services offered by Rentec Direct:

  • Social security number verification.
  • Criminal record checks that are thorough and nationwide.
  • TransUnion credit check. 
  • Verification of previous landlords.
  • Prospective tenant’s address history.
  • Thorough eviction record.
  • Access to nationwide databases regarding judgments, liens, and bankruptcy (for an additional fee).

5. TenantCloud

TenantCloud is a unique service that features the ability to integrate into any pre-existing property management software that you may already be using. 

Couple standing in front of a house, happy after completing their tenant screening

This service is entirely online and gives users the ability to streamline their tenant screening process. TenantCloud offers property managers instant and reliable data, including national criminal background checks and TransUnion credit reports. 

TenantCloud offers flexible monthly subscription pricing that depends on the number of units your company manages. There are three tiers of pricing, including the free basic tenant screening plan, a Standard plan for $9 per month, and an Advanced pricing plan for $35 per month. 

TenantCloud is one of the best tenant screening services because its system is extremely easy to use. They offer the following tenant screening services:

  • Social security number verification.
  • Nationwide criminal record checks.
  • TransUnion credit check.
  • Tenant’s address history.
  • Records on eviction history.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, no matter how big or small your property management company is, one of the best tenant screening services on this list can help you save time and money when it comes to choosing qualified tenants for your rental homes. 

By using a thorough and effective screening service, you can prevent future issues with tenants and continue to grow your property management company successfully. Hopefully you’ve found our list of the best tenant screening services on the market helpful!