Updated March 2022
Finding tools to make your work as a landlord more efficient is essential if you want your business to grow. However, it’s also crucial that any tools you use meet reasonable legal standards that must be followed during tenant screening. To that end, is BeenVerified legal to use for tenant screening?
There are many ways to make tenant selection more manageable, but certain background check sites do not meet the necessary legal standards for professional use. BeenVerified is one of the many sites that do not align with landlord needs, and it should not be used for tenant screening purposes.
Today, we’ll go into detail about why sites like BeenVerified are not the right choices for landlords and what you can use instead, to revolutionize your tenant screening process.
A Table Of Contents For Using BeenVerified
BeenVerified is a simple tool for background checks, but those checks are not the right fit for landlords doing tenant screening. Learn more about why this service isn’t suitable for landlords and how to better streamline your tenant screening with our guide today:
- What Is BeenVerified?
- Why Isn’t BeenVerified Legal To Use For Tenant Screening?
- Landlord Alternatives To BeenVerified
- FAQs: Is BeenVerified Legit?
- Conclusion: Is BeenVerified A Good Site For Landlords?
Even though BeenVerified is not a viable option for landlords, it is still beneficial to learn more about the service and why it cannot be used for professional screening.
BeenVerified is an online information search tool that bills itself as the “everyday information company.” BeenVerified allows individuals to look up publicly available information about others using their name, phone number, or other basic information for the search.
The vast informational database used by BeenVerified is compiled from an array of sources, including public court databases, social media account listings, email address databases, and more. As the user base keeps expanding, BeenVerified continues to match the support through their ever-widening information systems.
Established in 2007, BeenVerified remains one of the most popular consumer background check websites online today.
BeenVerified has several different types of information available to their subscribers, and these searches can be done through several specific avenues:
- People search: learn more about an individual
- Reverse phone number lookup: learn who owns a particular phone number
- Email lookup: find available email addresses for individuals, companies, or phone numbers
- Address lookup: discover the previous and current addresses on public file
- Username search: see what information is available related to specific usernames
- Unclaimed money: find out if you have any unclaimed funds that need to be claimed
- Vehicle lookup: discover the ownership history of a vehicle as well as any related incidents on public record
- Business to business: companies can garner leads and gain information about potential partners with BeenVerified
Many people choose to use the various searches on BeenVerified to look up themselves and their family members. This enables them to keep track of what public information is showing up about them on the internet. Monitoring this information regularly is an excellent way for people to ensure their privacy is protected and that public records are accurate.
As a subscription-based service, it is important to remember that these features are locked behind a paywall. The features given for the subscription cost are great for consumers, but landlords should not pay for this subscription with the intent to do tenant screening.
Individuals can use BeenVerified to look up information about others for personal purposes. However, it’s essential to only use this type of lookup with the understanding that the database may not always have fully accurate or updated information.
BeenVerified can be used to look up addresses, email addresses, public records, phone numbers, and other publicly listed information in databases. This information is accessible to anyone; BeenVerified simply maintains its database and allows subscribers to search that information.
For this reason, BeenVerified can only be used for purposes that do not require information to be checked for accuracy or reported through fair reporting channels. For example, an individual wanting to find out more about a new neighbor could use BeenVerified, because that information will not be applied in a professional setting.
On the flip side, BeenVerified cannot be used when the background check needs to be FCRA-compliant or otherwise compliant with laws that involve how information is processed. For this reason, there are several limitations about how it can be used; BeenVerified includes many of those limitations on their Do’s and Don’ts page.
Businesses that need to do employment or tenant screening, such as landlords and property management companies, cannot use a website like BeenVerified to conduct these searches. Additionally, individuals cannot be evaluated for educational programs, adoption services, pet ownership, jobs, or creditworthiness through this website.
It is not legal to use BeenVerified for tenant screening because they’re not a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), which is governed by the laws of the FCRA.
We have a Facebook group for landlords, and recently a member was giving the advice to use beenverified.com for tenant screening. However, this is not permissible. Here’s a screenshot from their website, in their terms and conditions, explaining this.
Let’s go into more detail about why BeenVerified is never suitable for tenant screening and how that extends beyond the simple statement, “It’s not an FCRA-compliant site.”
BeenVerified gives information about individuals, which can be helpful, but the site can also give out too much information at times. Some information that appears on a BeenVerified search, such as judgments that happened more than a decade ago, should not influence your tenant selection.
However, if you see this information while running a background check, it could alter your opinion even if you do not intend to use it as a determining factor.
Additionally, the information on sites like BeenVerified can be inaccurate at times, and this is due to the nature of how information is gathered into the database. Since they are not a CRA, the site, contrary to its name, is not required to verify or review the information, nor do they need to assist consumers with correcting their information when it’s inaccurate.
Trying to use BeenVerified as a landlord is not only illegal, but it also leaves you open to a lot of risk. Denied applicants may feel they have been wronged if their information was not accessed appropriately, and BeenVerified does not offer any adverse action services to assist when this occurs. As a landlord, it really is best to avoid the site altogether.
The FCRA, which stands for Fair Credit Reporting Act, is a set of laws determining how consumer data must be processed, protected, and used in professional settings. This regulation ensures that information is only used in proper ways. For example, the FCRA made it so that you must be notified when a landlord or company looks up your data.
Additionally, the FCRA requires that consumers are notified whenever information found in their credit report or background check is used to make an adverse decision. For example, you should always send a prospective tenant a letter informing them why their application is being rejected, if the information on their background check influenced this decision.
Essentially, the FCRA dictates when information can be used, how it can be used, and what the consumer must be informed about in the process. Websites like BeenVerified are not FCRA-compliant, and that is why they cannot be used for tenant screening. You can read about FCRA Certified Screening here.
CRAs are Consumer Reporting Agencies. These agencies are familiar and compliant with FCRA rules and practices, and they work to only access, review, and utilize information that is permissible when reviewing applications.
Common examples of CRAs are tenant screening services, mortgage brokers, and employers. Landlords can also be considered CRAs so long as they are following all applicable laws. You can read up CRAs in this post.
There are many businesses tailored to the needs of landlords in terms of FCRA-compliant screening. Some of those services, such as TransUnion Full Credit Report, formerly known as SmartMove background screening, require more legwork on your part as a landlord.
If you’re looking for a landlord-focused site that is ready to assist you and your tenant applicants from start to finish, tenant screening from RentPrep is an excellent option. When using our tenant screening services, we only provide information that can and should inform your decisions.
Denied applicants come to us instead of you, freeing you up to look for the right fit. We’ll work with those applicants to determine if their information is inaccurate and if so, we’ll work with credit reporting agencies to help correct it. As a landlord, this work isn’t yours to handle, and we provide the necessary support to applicants to fill this need.
RentPrep is far from the only option for tenant screening, but we are proud to offer some of the most extensive screening services. When you call in for assistance, our accredited screeners will be able to give you the information needed to make legal, informed decisions.
Here are the frequently asked questions about BeenVerified in regards to screening tenants.
BeenVerified is legal for individuals to gather their information for personal purposes such as locating an old friend or getting to know more about their neighbors. BeenVerified is not permitted for FCRA screening purposes, such as tenant screening.
According to their FAQs, BeenVerified is not an FCRA-compliant site. This means that landlords, employers, and other professional screening cannot be done using this website.
All searches on BeenVerified are anonymous. There is no way to know if you have been looked up on the site, nor will anyone be aware they have been searched. This is possible because BeenVerified creates its database from public records, so no private notices must be sent out when legally using the site.
Sites like BeenVerified use publicly available information to make money, but many people do not like that their data is being used and searched in this manner. For that reason, BeenVerified has made it possible to opt out of their service so that your information will not appear in searches.
To opt out of BeenVerified, simply visit this page. Then, select which listings should not show up and enter your email address for confirmation. Once this is complete, listings will be removed within 24 hours.
No, BeenVerified is not a free service. Sometimes, users will see a small snippet of information for free when checking out the site, but the complete features are locked behind a paywall.
Yes. BeenVerified is a paid subscription site, and this means you have to pay for access to all of the features on the site.
This subscription model varies in price depending on how long you sign up for, but there is always a charge to access the features offered.
BeenVerified is not a tenant screening site, and landlords should not use it for reviewing tenant applications. It is often inaccurate, and landlords need to rely on information that is as accurate as possible. Working with accredited screening sites can help ensure you access that reliable information.