We recently reviewed 11 of the best tenant background services on the web. ScreeningWorks reviews were included in that breakdown and in this post we’re diving deeper into this service.
For clarity, ScreeningWorks is a product of Yardi Screening so this post also addresses Yardi resident screening reviews.
Full disclosure, here at RentPrep we are a tenant screening service but our purpose of this Screening Works review is to give you perspective on the service from an industry insider who has more knowledge on what to look for and what to avoid.
Every screening service has good aspects and bad aspects.
At a snapshot here are features worth discussing about ScreeningWorks that stood out compared to most other services.
- Credit Evaluation Included
- Public Records Team
- State Dependent Pricing
- Criminal & Eviction Data
- Judgements & Bankruptcies Data
- National Eviction vs. State
ScreeningWorks Reviews – The Good
+ Credit Evaluation Included
ScreeningWorks is a product of Yardi Resident Screening. Most landlords and smaller property managers won’t use this service because it’s meant for large property management and costs a hefty monthly fee.
ScreeningWorks is a way for Yardi to offer their tenant screening services to individual landlords under a different name where a monthly membership fee isn’t required.
Because of that relationship, Yardi screening has a credit check evaluation they offer as part of their screening service.
That screenshot shows an example of what the credit evaluation consists of.
This credit evaluation is not as comprehensive as a credit report from Transunion or Experian but it is better than no data at all.
The fact they include it in their base pricing is nice because typically a credit check or credit report is an additional fee (which is true for RentPrep as well).
Here’s an excerpt from their FAQ page explaining how this credit evaluation differs from a full credit report.
+ Public Records Team
The large majority of tenant screening services are 100% automated. This means that the service is just software that takes your money and collects data from their providers and spits back a report instantly.
The problem with these types of services is that the data provided many times has errors or is incomplete.
ScreeningWorks has a “Public Records Team” which is not offered by other instant solutions.
From their FAQ page, you can see the answer above. At first blush, most people would think the quick 90-second report is good and it is bad to have to wait 24 hours for the criminal.
A general rule of thumb with tenant screening services is that they’re kind of like eating at a restaurant.
You don’t want to see your report come out 1 minute after ordering, you want to have to wait for your report so you know it’s being put together properly.
ScreeningWorks seems to be in that middle space between an instant solution (bad) and a hand-compiled report by a professional screener (good).
+ State Dependent Pricing
As of right now, the pricing ranges $25 – $30 and it might you leave wondering why the difference?
To pull data on eviction and criminal history it varies State to State and even County to County. I think it is commendable that they’ve broken out pricing by State.
On average their pricing falls in the average range of $20 – $40 you see for screening reports.
ScreeningWorks Reviews – The Bad
– Criminal & Eviction Data
The image above is again pulled from the FAQ page on ScreeningWorks website.
They’re basically admitting that they can’t pull data from all states because they rely on “instantaneous access.”
This means that they use automated software to pull your data which is not a good thing.
As of right now, there are 10 states that you cannot access criminal data from:
If your rental is in one of those states I’d suggest not using an instant service because you won’t have a criminal history on the report.
Here’s a snapshot showing the difference from Connecticut vs. Massachusetts.
Basically, if you’re State costs $25 for a report it won’t include criminal data on the applicant.
If you’re State costs $30 for the report you’re being charged extra for that instant criminal data.
Even if you’re paying for that criminal & eviction data for your State there are still 10 states being excluded. You can see them in this graphic.
– Judgements & Bankruptcies Data
If you take a look at a sample report from their site you will see that there is no mention of judgments & liens on the report.
This is unfortunate because as a landlord I would want to know this data.
– Nationwide Criminal & Eviction Data
I find it confusing because there are so many loopholes in the actual data you will receive.
This is from the FAQ page.
Basically, it sounds like you’re getting “Multi-State Eviction” and “Multi-State Criminal” data.
We already know that there are at least 10 states (possibly 11) that don’t have criminal data including two of the largest rental states in the US with California and NYS.
However, when you look at the sample report they provide it shows the following:
Notice the state(s) search for an Illinois report.
For the evictions, it is only IL and then there are only 39 states shown for criminal search.
Why should this matter?
Eviction data is by far the most important data you can see on a report. If your applicant has an eviction you do not want to rent to them.
Using the sample report as an example. Chicago, IL is about 15 miles from Indiana and 45 miles from Wisconsin.
It’s not unreasonable to think that rental applicant may have lived in Indiana and commuted to work in Chicago in the past. You won’t see that eviction history.
I find this concerning when you combine this with the fact that they’re not doing a true nationwide search criminal.
No screening solution is perfect. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a service and what you value.
If you really value a full credit report and don’t care about everything else than I would suggest looking into a service like TransUnion Full Credit Report, formerly known as SmartMove..
The things that are nice about ScreeningWorks I believe can be found in other services.
Here at RentPrep, we’re not perfect either. We offer a credit check which isn’t as comprehensive as the TransUnion Full Credit Report.
However, we have actual FCRA screeners hand-compile your report. This means we dig for data and can do a true nationwide eviction and criminal searches because we’re not “instantaneous”.
Feel free to check out our Pricing & Packages and be sure to check out our sample reports too.