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by Julie Murphy

online tenant screening headachesOne unreliable tenant can cause extreme headaches–non-payment, damages, even leading to eviction.

With the easy process of online tenant screening, it’s possible those problems can be avoided.

Basic tenant screening, like a tenant credit check, protects your investment as a landlord against tenants who make dishonest remarks about their histories. There are many companies online that provide these services and can credit check tenants. It is important to choose a credible organization that does thorough tenant credit checks and other background reports.

Choose a tenant screening service that fits your unique needs whether you have one unit or hundreds, running a criminal background report or a credit check on a tenant.

Costs vary between companies, as does the depth of the screening or credit checks on a tenant. Be sure to understand your present AND future needs as you decide which company serves you best, but be sure to choose a company that does check credit for a tenant.

There are 4 areas of basic screening categories that you should consider when reviewing a possible tenant’s history or tenant credit check:

  • Credit report–basic commercial reporting that states tenants past payment history.

  • Eviction history–notes if tenant has ever been evicted. Watch for area of coverage, either state or nationwide.

  • Criminal history–informs if tenant has any unlawful behavior. Again, can be either state or nationwide.

  • Previous address history–can check how long a tenant has been at different addresses. Great tool for cross-checking and detecting fraud in the application.

Credit Reporting, Online Tenant Screening, and Underwriting

As a result of abuses and an increase in identity theft, the federal government now requires those seeking tenant credit checks to be underwritten.

Because Credit Reporting is at the core of most screening, one of the most important things to know is that AAOA members can apply for this required underwriting, enabling you to credit check tenants and access the best available information on the tenant.

When a property owner asks to credit check a tenant, AAOA will perform a one-time authorization or underwriting of the information that you provide as a property owner. The information that you provide validates that you do, in fact, own certain properties, therefore, entitling you to have access to the prospective tenant’s information. AAOA will keep this information in the data base, and you can have access at any time to run credit checks on a tenant.

AAOA now offers a limited, screening only membership. The low, one-time membership fee covers the cost of the underwriting, and gives you access to check credit for a tenant. AAOA is currently offering to throw in a screening package, including a credit report which normally costs $19.99, as a gift for signing up.

Click here for our library of Tenant Screening Tips

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

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