Finding the best resident screening service for your rental community is no easy feat. Beyond the credit report and background check, it can be difficult discerning if a screening company is doing all that they can to protect you and your property. To ensure you get the best resident screening service possible, make sure the company you pick has these 4 vital things.
- Eviction and Criminal History Data that goes Above and Beyond
When reviewing resident screening services to find the best one for your community, first and foremost you should make sure you’re getting the information you need to make an informed decision. This includes a reputable credit report (with credit score), criminal background check, eviction history check, and a sex offender registry search. While most resident screening companies utilize credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (with either a VantageScore or FICO credit score), you will want to investigate whether their eviction and criminal history derive from large and reputable databases. This means, rather than pulling an applicant’s eviction records from just a few states, you’ll be able to see records nationwide, straight from the landlord-tenant courts.
For criminal history, check your resident screening contenders if their criminal databases not only scan nationwide, but from more than one local database as well. With a resident screening company that utilizes multiple criminal databases, you’ll be able to see if your applicant has any jail or prison records, wants and warrants, or is on the sex offender registry. Don’t forget to ask if they scan the terrorist watch list (OFAC) and the international police database (INTERPOL)!
Quick Tip: You should be wary of screening companies that draw from only a few criminal databases or non-governmental databases!
- A High Accuracy Rate
This might be self-explanatory, but your future resident screening should be accurate. The best resident screening service should be able to show you how their algorithm successfully matches your rental applicant (with information like their SSN, previous address history, etc.). They should also have measures in place to identify potential aliases (alternate names the applicant has used) and have procedures to minimize false criminal hits. Doing things like updating criminal and eviction records every 24 hours can provide the freshest results and highest possible accuracy on your background screening reports.
If you’re between two potential screening services, ask them to show how they’re better. Their willingness to prove to you how accurate they are will not only show if their resident screening reports will help you accept good renters (and not high risk, repeat offenders) but showcase their level of customer service.
- Easily Integrates into your System
When it comes to managing multiple properties, simplifying your everyday process into one or two softwares can be a necessity. Ask the resident screening services you’re interested in if they integrate with your current property management software. Additionally, knowing if there are any set-up fees (as well as the average time it takes to get set-up and/or trained) can help narrow down your list.
- Highest Tier Security Measures
No one wants their applicant’s personal information to be stolen, especially not you. With any resident screening provider you choose, it’s vital that the information they provide is secure and the technology they use is up-to-date. If you’re curious about CIC™, we use a 3rd party Qualified Security Assessor to annually review our physical and computer infrastructure. We’re also EI3PA Level 1 certified (similar to the PCI compliance that credit card processing companies abide by).
Quick Tip: If a provider you’re interested in doesn’t talk about their high security measures, then that’s a big red flag!
While making sure the resident screening services you’re eyeing has all of these 4 things can seem a little unnecessary, at the end the day it’s worth it. As resident screening is your first defense from potential liabilities – like property damage, lawsuits, and even a loss in reputation – you want to make sure your screening company is accurate enough and robust enough to help you select the perfect tenants. Good luck in your search!
Have you found the best tenant screening service for your property? What feature is the biggest priority for you?
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About the Author
Becky Bower is the Communications Executive here at the Resident Screening Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.