online tenant screening

Choosing tenants is an essential part of your rental business. With the right tenants in your properties, your business will be better managed and more secure than if you are stuck with tenants that don’t align with your business model.

Do you know how to choose tenants effectively? Do you take the necessary time to screen each option? Do you ever feel like your tenant screening could be done more effectively?

Many landlords struggle through tenant screening because they aren’t aware of the options that they have available to them to make the process easier. Online tenant screening is a great way to streamline your process while simultaneously making it more effective.

By learning about the best online tenant screening services currently available to landlords like you, you will be able to make more confident choices as you select future tenants. That could make a huge difference in your stress levels and your bottom line.


Best Online Tenant Screening Services

When it comes to choosing the right tenants, landlords can greatly benefit from having the best online tenant screening services on their side! It’s true that any amount of tenant screening is better than none, but there are some huge bonuses to choosing a service that provides tenant screening.

As the rental industry grows stronger than ever before, more tenant screening services become available. Landlords who aren’t yet familiar with these services and how they work might be overwhelmed by the options, but having so many options gives you the opportunity to find just what you need in a screening service.

Here are some of the best options.

#1 RentPrep

Here at RentPrep, we pride ourselves on our high-quality tenant screening services and all that they offer. Every aspect of the products we offer was designed to make the process of tenant selection more simple than ever before for landlords. Your time is precious, so you deserve to use a service that prioritizes efficiency and easy choices.


  • Well-priced
  • Comprehensive background checks
  • Easy to understand pass/fail measures
  • FCRA-certified screening


  • Cannot bill tenants directly for certain services
  • Credit is a pass/fail

#2 SmartMove

SmartMove run by the credit giant TransUnion, is a service specifically designed by the credit monitoring company to run tenant screening reports. The SmartMove product can be used as part of RentPrep’s larger tenant screening package, and that’s a sign of how great we think it is!

On its own, however, it has its own set of pros and cons.


  • Full credit report
  • From a reliable “big 3” credit company
  • The tenant can pay directly


  • Priced high for the services provided
  • Does not include any manual checks
  • Limited criminal check availability

#3 Experian Connect

Experian Connect is another credit check service that is run by one of the big three credit bureaus, Experian. This service was set up specifically for renters and landlords. With the service, the tenant pays a fee to set up their profile, and then they can grant landlords like you access to their report for up to 30 days.

The tenant credit report provided by Experian Connect includes credit data as well as some additional background information, but it isn’t as thorough as Rent Prep’s background check.


  • Charges tenants directly
  • From primary credit bureau
  • Includes some background information


  • No eviction data
  • Not all 50 states covered equally
  • No FCRA-certified review

#4 Cozy

Finally, let’s take a look at Cozy. Cozy is a product designed for landlords that is largely free; most of the services are paid for by tenants as needed. The tenant screening offered by Cozy includes a background check and credit report that is requested by the landlord and then shared by the tenant.


  • High-quality site design
  • Cozy has other useful tools for landlords
  • Easy to integrate with other tools
  • Simple for tenants to use


  • Limited customer support options
  • Limited eviction data
  • Limited criminal court date

Additional Information

For more complete investigations of the best online tenant screening sites, check out these complete reviews that we have assembled for some of the best tenant background check sites currently available for landlords.


Are Free Online Tenant Screening Options Worth It?

Many landlords seek out a free online tenant screening solution because they want to make sure they aren’t spending any unnecessary funds as they get their business up and running. While that is a completely reasonable mindset to have, you should also consider the larger picture.

When screening tenants, you want to be absolutely sure you are basing your decisions on reliable information that you are allowed to consider in your decision. Landlords who do the background research themselves may not be certain about these factors, and that could lead to problems down the line.

By paying for a reliable service that confirms the data included in the screening, you can act with certainty as you choose which tenant to rent to.


Online Tenant Application And Screening Process

If you have never used any online tenant screening for landlords and tenants before, you might be confused on how it works!

Generally speaking, here is what you would do:

1. Set up an account on the relevant screening website.

2. Either enter the key information about the tenant to start the report (with a signed permission form) or send the tenant an email that links them directly to the screening site so they can give permission and enter their own information.

3. Pay for the service (either you or the tenant, depending on your choice and the service in question).

4. Wait for the report to come back.

5. Examine the results of the report.

The overall process is relatively simple; the key is deciding which tenant screening service site is going to work best for your needs. Our experience as landlords pushes us to favor a site like RentPrep, which gives easy pass/fail measurements for most categories so your decision can be quick, easy, and confident.


Online Tenant Screening For Landlords FAQs

What Is The Best Site For Tenant Screening?

Among the options available to landlords today, the offerings put out by RentPrep offer both a fast tenant screening or a more comprehensive package, which includes a full credit check. Additionally, there are add-ons you can consider with either package.

Between these options, most landlords will find the appropriate level of screening information that they need to be able to make the best tenant selections.

How Can I Get A Free Tenant Screening Report?

If you use any type of subscription property management service, find out if they offer any type of free tenant screening for using their services. It is very common for free background check packages to be included on rental listing websites or property management sites.

If you do not have access to that type of free report, the best way to handle a low-cost tenant screening is to have prospective tenants pay an application fee to cover the cost of screening. This is legal so long as you do not make any type of profit from handling the screening.

How Do I Do A Background Check On A Tenant?

The best way to do a background check on a tenant is to use an online tenant application and screening service. These services give you comprehensive information about tenants that will help you to be able to make the right final choice for your next tenant, and you can even customize what type of information you want to receive.

What Website Do Landlords Use To Check Credit?

There are many different tenant screening and credit check websites a landlord might use to check credit. If you are a prospective tenant who wants to see exactly what your landlord is seeing, ask them to disclose which service they are using. Most are required to do so when asked, and you can even ask for a copy of the report to check for errors.