Looking for advice on how to do a credit check on new tenant.

Hi all

We’re about to rent out a house to a family who seem okay but we’d like to do a credit check. We’re in the USA. Can anyone recommend a company they’ve had good experience with? A Google search reveals many candidates both in search results and ads. This is hopefully an infrequent need so we don’t need any sort of annual subscription type service.


No recommendations but I did have a job years back that basically involved pulling credit reports for landlords doing tenant checks and explaining to to them. While the credit report can tell you a lot, you may also want to look into getting an eviction report. Not sure how much more they run but they will tell you if eviction proceedings have ever been pursued against the person. Sounds like you feel pretty confident about them though so it might not be needed, but it’s a good thing to think about in the future. I saw more than a few people who had perfect credit but several evictions against them for non payment of rent.

I’m sure that the opposite is also often true; those that might have paid rent on time every time for years, but had a credit card charge-off or collections account. I’ve done that in the past, that is miss a non-essential bill payment to make sure I had a place to live.

I’ve not done a credit report though these guys yet, but this site is pretty good for getting state-specific advice from seasoned landlords. We’ve learned things here that have saved us countless headaches WRT Missouri landlord/tenant issues .

We have had rentals for 15 years. It can be a headache and a heartache if you get a bad one and they destroy your house. It’s better to find out before they move in.

Check the family out before you rent to them. Get references and call them ALL. Around here, what hubby and I do is first search their names in MO public records (MO casenet). That usually will tell us what we need to know about prior evictions, property damage, before we move on to creditworthyness. One really nice-seeming lady had three recent evictions under her belt! Like, in the space of one year.

Perhaps your state lets you search public records for free, or for a small fee. It’s well worth it. I’d google around to see if that’s the case, but I have to run now.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

I used the following about 2.5 years ago :
to run credit and other checks and they were useful. I was lucky, got a great tenant, and haven’t had to run any further checks.

One thing to be aware of is that a year or 2 ago the rules (at least through them) changed for credit reports directly from the big 3 agencies (Experian, etc.). In order to get those type of credit reports, you needed a home office with a lockable door and all credit records had to be kept under lock and key - and you had to have an on-site inspection ($199) to verify that. This may have been landlord2landlord rules, or it may be a more general industry rule. They do offer a service where they pull the credit reports and just give you an approve/disapprove recommendation based on what they can pull.

We’ve used these folks: http://www.amerusa.net/

Since the law change that UncleMoose alluded to went into effect, they won’t give out an actual credit score or list specific delinquent accounts. They will give out a letter grade that corresponds to a credit score range. They also verify SSN, previous address and things like that. They’ll also tell you yes/no if there have been bankruptcies, judgements or liens, but not any of the specifics.

$199?! I know a mystery shopping company that handles these for one of the big 3 - I did one, once. It paid around $15 (possibly less) and was not worth the effort, so I’ve never done one again. Jerks.