This is a guest post provided by our partner ApplyConnect, -experts in tenant screenings and background checks.

As a landlord or property manager, you need tenant screening. Sure, the general definition is very much indicative of a task that everyone in the industry understands. However, the way that task is completed is not a one size fits all matter. You can go with traditional tenant screening, a process where you can directly request an applicant’s credit report by having their signed authorization on file. This process is quick and easy. Remember, directly accessing a consumer’s credit report has additional legal requirements and costs to gain access which may not be ideal for every portfolio. Alternatively, you can try the newer consumer-initiated tenant screening process where the applicant is involved in providing their authorization online so they are technically sharing their credit report with you.

Whichever process you choose there is one thing that remains consistent – you should always screen your potential tenants. It’s more than a standard of the industry, it is a safety concern, financial check, and preventative measure against property damage. It’s not something to merely check off of a list, so why go with the first option available to you? Consider the different types of tenant screening, and determine which path may be the right one of your rental portfolio.

Traditional Tenant Screening

Traditional tenant screening is what it is: traditional. It’s been the most common option to go with for many years when you set up shop in the rental housing industry. When you go this path to weed out your applicants, you have a lot of options to pick the service you want. There are some things that you can expect when you lean into a traditional service.

They will want an inspection.

To setup a traditional tenant screening, account providers will want access to your office. A traditional solution is required to check over the security of the location you’ll be reviewing credit reports, as you will be handling sensitive information like social security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII). This is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people find the inspection gives credibility and trust towards a long-lasting relationship. Others
find it annoying and cumbersome, as who wants to mess around with their schedule just for a screening service or have the account setup delayed? Not to mention if your office isn’t up to their standards? Whew! Then you have to fix it just for them, not you, and you have to schedule another inspection, and another inspection, and another….

This can work for some portfolios, especially if you have a lot of properties that justify the need for instant access to tenant screening . If it doesn’t, though, what is left? Maybe consumer- initiated tenant screening is a better solution.

Consumer-Initiated Tenant Screening

While not the opposite of traditional tenant screening, a consumer-initiated solution doesn’t have the same requirements as traditional. It simply means that your applicants are more involved in the process of consenting to share their tenant screening credit report and background check.

Fewer Credit Hits

A downside of traditional tenant screening for a renter is that when they go looking for a home,if they don’t make the cut the first time or two, it’ll appear as a hit on their credit score. This might drop their credit score by a few points. With a consumer-initiated screening solution the credit report is considered a ‘soft inquiry’ meaning there will be zero impact to the applicant’s credit score.

Using a company, like ApplyConnect, means you are inviting your applicants to securely share their credit report and background check with you. They remain involved and providing an extra layer of authentication for the credit bureau to keep on file.

No Inspections

Yes, that’s right, no one has to come into your office. No scheduling inspections, no maintenance hauls to someone else’s security preferences. All you have to do is create an account, verify your identity, and you’re done. Sometimes simpler is better, no argument needed.

No Contracts

When all you need is an account, then it’s really all you need. With some tenant screening companies, there really is no paperwork to sign. You log in, look at your information, and you can move on with your day. You don’t have to call a lawyer or find a pen with very specific legal blue ink.

At the end of the day, what works best for you is up to you to decide. Whether traditional or consumer-initiated tenant screening fits your business and portfolio needs best, both will get the job done so long as you rely on a high-quality, reliable screening provider.

What type of screening solution works best for you?

PayRent is on a mission to build a rent collection app that fosters a positive and productive relationship between renters and landlords. We focus less on transactions and more on the people behind them.