Your 2021 Guide to the Top 5 Best Credit & Background Check Tenant Screening Services
In a COVID-19 landscape, tenant screening is becoming an even more vital factor in protecting your rentals. Whether property management is your business, your retirement plan, your rainy day investment, or your backup income you’ve come to rely on during a global pandemic, there is little room for error when it comes to choosing the right tenant. Evictions are nearly impossible as moratoriums continue to be extended across the United States. Don’t take chances – the key to protecting your rental assets is selecting successful renters!
A Few Quick Tips
- Nothing is ever free. More and more screening services are advertising their reports for the low, low cost of $0 to the landlord. While this can seem appealing, all they are really doing is passing on a high price to your tenant directly. Remember, times are hard for tenants, too. High application fees are a turnoff, especially to high quality renters who are more fiscally conservative.
- Bare minimum won’t cut it. Yes, it is definitely important to make sure you aren’t housing a known violent criminal. Sure, a FICO score of 708 looks pretty attractive. However, random data points like these aren’t really giving you a holistic view of how successful a tenant your applicant will be. Comprehensive reporting that validates the identity of your applicant is essential. Reports should include bankruptcies, total debt, monthly debt payments, checking account history, in addition to national eviction and criminal history. This is the only way to be confident that you are selecting the best applicant.
- Support is EVERYTHING. When you have a question or a concern about the screening process or an applicant, you don’t have time to waste waiting for help. Good tenants will go fast! Choose a tenant screening company that answer the phone when you call instead of burying you in long call queues and can provide after-hours support in a pinch.
What is the Best Tenant Screening Service?
|Price||$21.95 – $36.95||$24.99 – $39.99||$40||$45||$35 – $45|
|Landlord Can Pay||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Applicant Can Pay||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Here are the Final Results…
#1 – E-Renter
As this tenant screening comparison review and this E-Renter review will attest, this company has was one of the earliest online screening platforms to make its way to the market. With consistently available support, even after hours, and the lowest prices available by far across all tenant screening services, it stands out among competitors. If you are worried that low price is a compromise for quality, don’t be: E-Renter provides the most comprehensive tenant screening reports on the market. Account setup takes less than 5 minutes for most landlords and reports are typically available within minutes, too.
#2 – TurboTenant
TurboTenant has a quick sign-up process that will get you screening without a lot of fuss, and their interface is simple and easy to use. Background screening reports are also quite comprehensive, but you won’t be able to get an assessment of the applicant’s banking history here. Screening prices are on the higher side, too. They don’t have an instant report option like E-Renter does, but their process is clear to both landlords and tenants, which makes it more likely that results will come quickly.
#3 – Cozy.co
Cozy.co offers many add-on options that may be attractive to landlords looking for a full-service leasing management solution. Be aware that you will HAVE to list your unit on Apartments.com to process applicants and conduct a screening, so if you are a landlord that prefers to control your screening process, this will likely not be the choice for you. There is no obvious option for the landlord to pay the screening fee, which prevents you from being able to establish your own application fee to cover your time in working with applicants. Getting set up can be time consuming because of the additional services you are signing up for when you use this screening solution. Their pricing is fairly competitive, however, when placed against other competitors.
#4 – TransUnion
The credit bureau monolith TransUnion has been providing an applicant-initiated screening solution of their own for a number of years now. While their credit reports are certainly the most comprehensive, some landlords and applicants may struggle with a screening process that can be a little bit cumbersome to navigate. As with Cozy.co, there is not an obvious option for the landlord to pay the screening fee, and the cost of the screening is high compared with other screening companies. While you will be able to see an applicant’s payment history on credit lines, you will not be able to get any kind of indicator as to whether or not their rent checks will clear the bank.
#5 – RentalExpress
RentalExpress has an easy set-up, but unfortunately the high cost of their reports coupled with the lack of information on them make this a difficult choice for most individual landlords and smaller property managers. A lack of eviction history could leave you open to repeat offenders who know how to keep their credit in decent condition while still skipping out on rent, since most rentals do not report payments to credit bureaus. On-Site, the company that owns the Rental Express product, is certainly one of the well-known, household names in the multi-family rental industry, however.
Choose the Best Tenant Screening Company
Just as it is important to you to choose the best tenant, it should be important to you to choose the best tenant screening company. We know we are a little biased, but our competitive edge here at E-Renter comes from the fact that we’ve been a part of this industry for nearly 20 years now. The E-Renter team has consistently tried to put the needs of the landlords and applicants first. We do this by keeping these as our top priorities:
- Giving you and your applicants the lowest pricing possible to keep the search for housing affordable for everyone.
- Providing lightening-fast turnaround time to avoid losing qualified applicants due to slow processing.
- Answering the phone when you call and providing reliable email support into the evening and weekend from highly qualified support staff.
- Making account setup and ordering a screening super fast and easy.
- Delivering a comprehensive, easy-to-read screening report with everything you need to make an informed decision about each applicant.