background investigation......somebody's gotta do it

what is the best methods for checking the background of a prospective tenant?

such as credit, residential history, job history, etc.
(Obtaining all this with prospectus’ written consent of course)

All of the above! I validate most every item on the rental application.


actually… what i meant to ask is:

in order to do all this background check, what sources, if any, on the internet are reliable and if possible inexpensive - or free.

I use a local credit bureau that pulls reports for me at $10 a pop. I’ve tried couple of internet things, but I prefer this local agency. If I have any questions someone will help me read it.

I use a company called for background info. I think background checks are somewhat regional - so depending on what area of the country you’re in - you’ll want to find a service that keeps up-to-date records for your area. (I’m in Texas)

That costs me, total, about $11.00 per applicant. I charge $18.00 application fee (cheap in my area). Your application fee can cover your actual expenses in doing the checks, plus a reasonable amount for your “costs” (time, using computer, fax, phone calls, etc.) My app. fee is up-front, non-refundable.

Then I call former landlords, and anything else that I’m curious about. I call current employer to verify income and dates of employment. I’ve pretty much stopped using anything in the way of a personal reference - including current boss.

My application is a compilation I’ve made over time. If you’d like a copy I’ll email it to you…click on the link to IM me, or whatever it is. My application gives them plenty of opportunity to “fess up” if they’ve had any credit or other problems in their background. The biggest red flag for me is if/when they indicate NO bad credit or other problems and then stuff starts showing up on the credit report and in the calls I make…

Personally, I don’t do eviction reports and all of the other 25 kinds of reports that are available. A lot of that stuff only shows up in reports if the previous landlord (whoever) reported it.

Does that help?
Karla in Amarillo

I use Works for me. I think it is $6 a pop.


it did help,