As homeownership moves further out of reach for many Americans, scammy automated background check services for the rental market continue to boom.
The growth of this segment has been driven, in part, by an explosion of new landlords as well as those looking to cut costs. But these cheap, automated background check providers that are found online do a disservice to all parties (and likely end up costing landlords more money down the road).
The business of tenant background checks looks easy enough when you can go online and use a credit card to purchase a report that will appear within hours if not minutes. If criminal histories, credit scores, birth, marriage, and other records are all available digitally, tenant screening is just a matter of hiring a service to pull all that data together into a single report, right?
Not quite. The background checks delivered by these online providers are not only insecure, but they’re often incorrect. The more common the name of an individual, the more likely it is that their background check will be wrong. The online forms created by these companies are hardly nuanced. When it confuses Jane Smith the wanted criminal with Jane Smith the local kindergarten teacher, it’s leaving you as a landlord at risk of turning down a solid tenant or signing a rental agreement with your worst nightmare.
Professional background check providers that are staffed with real people who will talk with you to establish your customized account and answer questions at any time are far more likely to understand the potential issues of running a tenant screen on Jane Smith. Or have skills in finding out an otherwise solid applicant just ran out on their rent a month ago. Or understand how recent improvements in the financial history of a previously troubled applicant will work in your favor today.
Hire an experienced company like ClearStar to manage your tenant screens and background checks so that any information gathered about your applicant will be used according to Fair Housing Laws and other landlord-tenant regulations in your area. Plus, ClearStar specializes in candidate-friendly tenant screening experiences that make the entire background check process efficient and stress-free for all parties.