When it comes to securing the best tenant for your rental property, credit screening plays a huge part in determining which renters are best suited. However, if you’re a first-time landlord, you might not know how to start finding tenants who might be a good match for your rental.

In this article, we’ll break down the basics of credit screening for landlords & what to know before getting started.

What are credit screening reports for landlords?

Credit scores are composed of several factors: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and credit mix.

Credit screening reports for landlords are run via a credit check system and reveal the credit score of a tenant. Landlords typically use this information to determine the likelihood of a tenant paying rent in a timely manner. 

How to determine the best credit score for my tenant?

After you’ve run the credit check, you can then use this report to see a tenant’s credit history and determine if you think they’re a good fit for your rental.

When trying to decide what credit score is best for your tenant, note that this answer will depend on individual preferences. In general, a “good” or “fair” credit range is considered to be 600 to 800.

If you have many applicants interested in your rental, you can easily sign up for property management platforms that will enable you to prescreen tenants based on your requirements for a credit score. These credit scores are usually self-reported by tenants. If you decide to move forward with a tenant, you can then request a certified tenant screening to verify the tenant’s credit score.

What’s the difference between tenant screening and credit checks for landlords?

Though it might sound similar, there is a key difference between tenant screening and credit checks.

Credit checks are just that. They pull a tenant’s credit score so the landlord can determine if that number meets their criteria for a credit range.

Tenant screening, however, provides a more holistic picture of the renter’s history. Credit scores, for example, might be affected by one or more late payments on a bill or student loan. SO full tenant screening reports can be used to father information around a tenant’s credit, criminal, and eviction history to gather additional context.

Best credit screening for landlords?

There are several systems that tenants use to check their credit score, but what’s available for landlords to get a credit report? 

You can get a credit check on a tenant fairly easily!

There are many programs available for landlords but the one we recommend is using RentRedi’s property management software for full background reports & credit screening.

RentRedi’s credit reports are TransUnion-certified. As a bonus, RentRedi offers full tenant screening, so you can get credit, criminal, and eviction reports all at once AND a customized leasing recommendation.

  • Full Credit Reports: TransUnions’s tenant credit checks use ResidentScore to predict rental eviction risk 15% better than traditional credit scores, helping you make a more confident rental decision.
  • Tenant Criminal Report: Over 370 million criminal records from state and national databases provide you with comprehensive information.
  • Tenant Eviction Report: One of the largest eviction databases subject to the FCRA with 27 million eviction records, covering all 50 states plus Washington D.C.

Why use a property management app for tenant screening?

The advantage of using a full, end-to-end property management software, especially as a first-time landlord, is that you can manage the entire renting process from one centralized location that supports your real estate investments as a professional business. You can easily list units, find & screen tenants, send & sign leases, collect rent, and manage maintenance & accounting—all from one app. 

This helps you not only find and screen tenants—but also manage everything that comes after signing the lease!