Screening potential tenants

Wanted to see what services my fellow landlords use for running a credit check on a prospective tenant. I would prefer using an online internet resource if possible. I’ve noticed a few on the internet but not certain of their reputation. Thanks


National Tenant Network (NTN) is a popular tenant screening service. You can pull the credit reports online. There are many others that are good. In fact, all of them should give you about the same result. I’d suggest shopping price.

Good Luck,


I use

I use American Tenant Services (ATS), accessed through


Dusting off an old topic here.

In our IL market, I’m able to go online to the county court websites and find information to screen our potential residents. So far I’ve been able to just take applications with no fee and figure out in a matter of minutes (for free) whether we should rent to them or not.

In our MS market, this information is not available online so now I’m considering an online screening service. In our new house, we have an office completely separate from the rest of the house (with a locking door) so I know we can pass the inspection. Some questions about the screening services… Do you think there are some things the services might miss that I would find if I went to the court house and searched for myself? Do any of you notice lots of people passing on applying for your units because you charge an application fee? For those of you who didn’t get inspected and just use the “credit decision” by the services…do you feel like you don’t have complete control over the process because you’re leaving it up to the company to say yes or no. Our other alternative is driving about 20 miles round trip to the court house to check public records. So far, the LLs we’ve seen there doing lower income rentals there haven’t used written leases (boggles my mind). The lady at the court house acted like we were crazy to go to such a hassle to screen someone. I can’t imagine not checking someone out. didn’t even pull up today.


In my opinion, if you can determine that the tenant has lived in the area for a long period of time, using the online court records and checking their employment, previous landlords, etc, is sufficient. In my experience, most scumbags won’t survive the first click on the municipal court records. Since the vast majority of low income tenants have either no credit or terrible credit, getting a credit score and credit report is all but worthless. Low income tenants are not good at paying their bills. I don’t really care about that. All I care about is whether they’re smart enough to pay their rent and stay out of trouble. I don’t take anyone that has had an eviction in the past 5 years. I don’t take anyone that has had a felony, more than 2 misdemeanors, any illegal drug activity, or any theft/burglary charges in the past 3 years. At this point, my eviction rate is running about .25% (1/4 of one percent) per month, which I believe is very good. That’s not all due to screening, but also to my rapid eviction of deadbeats and the reputation I have among tenants (not putting up with deadbeats).

The value of the national credit services is that they can find things nationwide. That is important for tenants that move around a lot (a red flag for me anyway).

I agree with you 100% that it is CRAZY not to thoroughly screen tenants.