How Online Tenant Screening Should Work

At RentPrep we’re eager to educate landlords so they can make the best decision for their investments.

When it comes to online tenant screening services you should avoid any service that boasts about creating instant reports.

We decided to get into the ring for a showdown against the “instant” services.



When you go with an instant service they’re just acting as a toll between you and their data providers.


Why wouldn’t every company use FCRA screeners?

In a nutshell… it eats into their margins.

It’s more profitable to setup automated software to spit back an instant report after collecting your toll.

Every screening company makes a profit from their screening reports… that includes us too.

If they don’t… that service won’t be your screening provider for long.

We made a pact years ago to be faithful to our clients. This means providing the best possible service to our over 21,000 landlords.

Even if it takes more time and money to do so.

Here’s a breakdown of what happens behind the scenes with each and every tenant before you get your report back:


1. Tenant’s identity is “pre-verified”

Before we even run a background check, one of our Screeners will verify your applicant’s identity by comparing certain identifiers such as name, SSN, and date of birth with the information in our database.

  • The tenant may intentionally (or unintentionally) put the wrong information on the rental application.
  • YOU may enter the information in wrong when you place the order (Hey, it happens). By the way, we will find and fix the SSN for you free of charge.
  • We want to make sure the person applying for the apartment is who they say they are. The last thing you want is a tenant who says their name is Dave Barnes, but when we pre-verify the SSN it says their name is Stewart Johnson. Are they trying to hide something, or are they just uncomfortable giving away personal information? We help you find the answer.


2. Results are verified to match the tenant

Once we verify the identity of the tenant, we go ahead and run the information through the databases of the search package you selected. When the results are returned, we will verify EVERY record to make sure that it’s the record of your tenant.

  • Believe it or not, a lot of records such as a criminal records aren’t always recorded in the courts with the person’s SSN.
  • If the tenant has a common name like John Smith, you may get 100 results back. How are you sure which John Smith is your tenant? Do you want a 100-page report?
  • Are you ready to have legal action taken on you if you deny an applicant for someone else’s information?


3. The remaining data is checked for FCRA compliance

Once we find all the records that belong to your tenant, there is one more step in the tenant screening process: check to make sure the data is compliant with the FCRA. All the records that aren’t compliant, we take care of it and, well, you never see them in the first place.

  • Just because a person has a record of criminal activity, or they filed bankruptcy in the past, doesn’t always mean you can use that information when making your decision to approve or deny them tenancy.
  • For example, if a person filed bankruptcy more than 10 years ago, legally you CANNOT use that information as part of your decision. Therefore, you will never see that information on a RentPrep report.

Our goal is to make the tenant screening process easier for you – we only provide you with the information that matters, and leave out what doesn’t. This means less interpreting and decision making on your part. And, if you need assistance running through the report, one of our FCA Certified Screeners is always available to assist you.

Never wonder how to screen a tenant again. Leave the work to us to find out who you’re renting to!

Do you know who you’re renting to?

Find Out Now

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