Tenant Screening Service
Tenant Credit Reports, Criminal Checks & Eviction Reports
(Free for Landlords)
Pricing: What’s Free & What Costs Money?
- Rental application: Free
- Tenant screening reports: $40 (inludes tenant credit report, nationwide criminal check, and nationwide eviction report. Can optionally be charged to the renter.)
Full Tenant Credit Reports
SparkRental offers full credit reports, complete with credit score, debt summaries, payment history, public records such as bankruptcies and judgments, and more.
No inspection required, either. Most independent landlords don’t want to go through the hassle of a site inspection by the credit bureaus in order to run credit reports.
As part of the process, we verify the applicant’s identity, too. We confirm they’re the person they claim to be in their rental application.
We email your prospective tenant a link where they approve your request for screening reports. As soon as they do, the tenant credit reports are released to you.
You can choose to pay for the reports yourself ($40), or have the applicant pay directly.
Nationwide Criminal Background Checks
Want a violent ex-con living in your rental property? What about a sex offender? Or hey, how about a check fraud artist?
We have you covered, with our nationwide criminal background checks. Federal, state, and local criminal records — all compiled into one report.
And yes, we check the sex offender registry and terrorist watchlists.
Not only can criminal tenants be dangerous to you, they can be dangerous to neighbors. Physical danger aside, fraudsters who have stolen from others in the past hardly look trustworthy to pay your rent on time!
Nationwide Eviction Reports
In some ways, the eviction history report is the most important tenant background check of all. It gets to the heart of what you really need to know: whether a renter has ever violated their lease agreement before, and needed to be evicted.
After all, just because someone was late on their credit card payment five years ago doesn’t necessarily make them a high-risk tenant. But renters who broke their lease so egregiously the landlord had to file eviction? Raise the red flag.
Find out if your applicant has a clean rental history — or whether they’re a professional tenant bouncing from one lease to the next, staying as long as they can without being evicted.
Free Built-In Rental Application
Tenant screening starts with a detailed rental application. After all, what good is a credit report if you would never have accepted the renter anyway, based on their 90-pound pit bull?
Our rental application is 100% free (good start, right?). You can opt to include it at the same time you request the background screening reports (credit, eviction filings, and criminal background reports). Or you can just request the free rental application by itself.
Just enter your applicant’s email address, they fill out the rental application online, and as soon as they finish we email you to let you know it’s ready for you to review.
Happy tenant screening!
What Do the Tenant Background Checks Cost?
Transparent pricing: refreshing, right?
You or your potential tenant pays $40 for the bundle of tenant screening reports. These background checks include a full credit report, nationwide criminal history report, and a nationwide eviction history report. You select who pays when you request the prescreening questionnaire & tenant background reports.
Note: Any landlord can request tenant-authorized credit reports, no site inspection required.
- Up to 3
- $40, chargeable to either applicant or landlord
- Tenant pays $2.50/payment
per month ($15 if paid monthly)
- 3 included, then $1/month apiece
- $40, chargeable to either applicant or landlord
- Tenant pays $2.50/payment
Tenant Screening 101 with Brian & Deni
Our co-founders Brian Davis and Deni Supplee review the six parts of the tenant screening process that landlords should do with every single applicant.
(Most are quick and easy!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who pays for the tenant screening reports?
Prospective renters pay for the rental background check. It’s free for you as the landlord or property manager.
How do you verify rental applicants' identities for tenant screening?
Very carefully. Let’s face it, with technological progress, we will see an advance in fraud. That makes identity verification a must in tenant screening reports.
Our tenant background check screening service uses credit bureau Transunion’s identity verification for all rental applicants. This verification happens not only through the renter applicant’s identifying information (name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, etc.) but also through their recent credit history and transactions.
SparkRental takes privacy and security extremely seriously.
What's the application process like for my renter?
Once you invite an applicant to complete a tenant background check:
- They receive an email with a link to where they can fill out their personal details.
- If you selected to include a rental application, the prospect provides information including their address history, employment history, any other income, assets, liabilities. They also supply references, along with their pets and vehicle information. All topped off with the names of all occupants, and an electronic signature providing authorization to run all tenant background checks.
- We ask them a series of questions provided by Transunion to verify their identity.
- They pay the screening fee and you receive copies of their tenant credit check, criminal report, eviction history report, and rental application.
Is the credit report pull a "hard inquiry" or "soft inquiry" for my renter? (E.g., does it ding their credit?)
The credit check is a soft inquiry on your applicant’s credit, so it doesn’t hurt their credit score, or even show as an inquiry on their report.
My applicant has a good credit score. Do I really need to check references?
Yes, yes and did we say yes? A good tenant credit report score is an excellent measure. However, it should never be the only one.
How will you know if your renter applicant will take good care of the property? How do you know if your tenant applicant has a good, strong employment history? How do you know their rent payment history with previous landlords? A credit score will not provide these answers.
That is why we strongly urge landlords and property managers to not only speak to the current landlord but also the one before.
Make sure you ask these landlords questions such as:
- How did the applicant care for the property?
- Did you have to make any deductions from the security deposit?
- Did the renter cause any nuisance complaints?
Ask similar questions of their employer. Besides just income verification, ask other important questions like:
- How long was the prospective tenant employed?
- Do they show up for work every day?
The idea is to get as much background as possible to prevent problems later.
Can I print the rental application form?
Of course. We make it easy to save a PDF version of the rental application or print it directly. When viewing the online application, there is an option to “Download (PDF)”.
Do I need to have an onsite inspection to run credit reports?
No, unlike many other screening companies, you don’t need a site inspection by a consumer reporting agency. Since your prospective renter approves the screening package themselves, it counts as a consumer-initiated credit report. You don’t need to hassle with inspectors or other red tape.
Where’s my criminal search and sex offender status for New Jersey & New York background checks?
The states of New Jersey and New York have banned property owners and property management companies from using criminal records in their screening criteria for rental decisions. By law, we cannot provide criminal background checks for prospective renters in these states.
These states impose extremely tenant-friendly laws, beyond standard Fair Housing laws. As a general policy, we recommend real estate investors avoid states and cities with anti-landlord laws.