The best online background checks for small-time landlords

3Written by Tenant Screening Services, LLC

According to US federal law, consumer information is protected to ensure that the consumer is safeguarded. However, landlords are allowed to view credit reports, because under law, they fall under being a “legitimate business need… in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer.”

A ruling requires that screening companies take reasonable measures to ensure that their landlords are legitimate and that requires the screening company to do an “on site inspection”. Usually an employee from the screening firm will visit the landlord at their home and confirm that they have a lockable filing cabinet, a password protected computer and a shredder.

Online background checks for small-time landlords who want to avoid the hassle and the time spent on an “on site inspection”, here are a number of screening companies that will omit this process.

Credit Bureau Associates Northeast (no website, 978-682-2199)
National Tenant Network
TransUnion MySmartMove
MyRental Premium

Although all these companies provide a good service, the most cost effective background checks on tenants have been Experian and SmartScreen. However, Experian requests its payment from the tenant and provides no criminal background information. If your tenant is willing to pay for this charge, this service would be worthwhile, but if not you may lose a shortlisted tenant, since they may look for a landlord that doesn’t charge for credit reports.

SmartScreen on the other hand offers the lowest price and the landlord has to pay the charge. However, the company does not offer Massachusetts criminal records.


Tenant Screening Services, LLC provides variety of background checks and services for landlords and employer. Get a landlord credit check before your rental.