RentSpree’s tenant screening services offer only basic reports and require a lengthy application process for renters. However, they have become one of the more popular options because of their fair pricing, beautiful reports, and smooth processes.
Sample Reports: Tenant Screening Report ($38)
What is RentSpree?
RentSpree is a service for property managers that provides credit and background checks on rental applicants. While RentSpree provides many resources for landlords, this review will focus on their tenant screening services.
RentSpree Features and Facts
|Time to Get Results
|Immediately after authorization is given
|Options for either landlord or tenant
|Type of Application
|Online through their portal
|Nationwide Criminal & Eviction Check
|Felonies & Misdemeanors
|SSN Fraud Check
|Sex Offender Check
RentSpree Pros & Cons
- Flexible Application Choices – Landlords can send invites to apply, post links online, or even print out information for open houses.
- Inexpensive Screening – At $38, RentSpree is among the cheaper options.
- Applicants Can Receive Reports – This is a nice touch that delights applicants.
- Lengthy Application – RentSpree’s application begins with the disclaimer that it takes “30 – 60 minutes” to finish.
- Asks for Creditor Information – Unnecessary steps can make applicants give up and apply elsewhere. Asking for creditor information that will already be supplied by a credit report is redundant.
- Requires Too Much Info For References – In addition to regular contact information, the application requires addresses for multiple personal references. Likely that most applicants will need to stop the process here and gather this information.
- Too Few Reports – RentSpree’s reports cover the basics and nothing else—excluding reports such as terrorist check, sex offender check, and income verification.
RentSpree Tenant Screening Pricing
RentSpree offers a single tenant screening package for $38. Landlords have the option to select which screening reports they’d like added, but they can be included at no additional cost.
Their service provides:
- Credit Report (including TransUnion’s ResidentScore)
- Nationwide Criminal Report
- Nationwide Eviction Report
- SSN Verification
- Address History
- Employment History
- Collections & Public History Reports
Here’s how RentSpree’s application process looks like for both landlords and renters, as well as what landlords will see in the tenant screening reports.
1. Create Application
First, you’ll create your account with RentSpree:
You’ll get a verification notice:
Once you’ve clicked the link in your email, you’ll select what your role is with renting properties. For this walkthrough, we’ll select “A Manager.”
Then, you’ll agree to some standard agreements:
In order to see reports, TransUnion requires information from you as the landlord:
This is an interesting page. First, you can select whether you or the applicant will pay. Then, you’ll see multiple options. You can have the renter just fill out an application. Or, you can select which tenant screening reports you’d like—however, we’re not sure why there’s an offer to exclude criminal and eviction checks, considering they’re free.
There are some locations in the U.S. that don’t allow landlords to consult background checks when choosing a renter. That’s why they’re going to tell you to consult an attorney.
Now, you’ll see 3 options for getting applicants for your property:
- Send an email invite
- Get an application link to share online
- Print out handouts for an open house
2. Tenant Application Process
Right from the start, the process seems to deter applicants. We understand the importance of setting good expectations, but predicting a 30 – 60 minute application process isn’t the friendliest thing to see up front.
The process is broken into a few steps, starting with rental specifics:
The applicant will put move-in date and rent price. This is the only time we’ve seen an application ask the applicant what the rent price would be. It’s a little odd, but perhaps it’s their way of ensuring that the applicant understands the cost.
Continuing on, the applicant can fill out who they will be on the lease, as well as input information about themselves.
Now, the application asks if they are working with an agent:
Then, there are a few questions about who is living at the property and in what capacity:
Many applications start here, but now we’ll get to personal information portion:
Here, the applicant will provide more information in order to have their identity confirmed:
The application now asks for an emergency contact. Requiring a full address might seem like a lot, but it can be useful if the landlord needs to mail something and doesn’t have a next address for the tenant.
Now, we’ll move onto rental or ownership history:
Next up is job history:
Included in this section is requiring contact info for a supervisor or HR Manager. We’re always in support of applications that ask for this information rather than a landlord having to reach out and ask for this information.
Then, you’ll learn if your applicant has other sources of income to strengthen their viability as a renter:
This section is strange because creditor information will be pulled in by the credit report. However, this section is optional, and it’s likely that many applicants will skip this.
Applicants are then asked to put in their references. It seems excessive to require a street address, which can slow up the process and frustrate your applicants:
Then, they do it all over again with another reference:
Now, you can put in pet information:
Next is vehicle information, another piece of information that’s helpful for you to have.
Now, you’ll find out more about any negative marks about the applicant (selecting “Yes” gives them the option to expound).
We’re just about done! Luckily, the process didn’t seem to actually take 30 – 60 minutes, but potentially could if you were to fill out all the optional parts.
Now, the applicant gives their approval for tenant screening reports to be pulled:
Then they pay!
3. Landlord Reports View
You’ll get an email that reports are ready to be viewed:
Now they want to validate your information before accessing your first report:
This screen popped up, but it was gone almost immediately and the reports were available.
The interface for viewing reports looks nice, with the ability to click to different sections in the top bar:
4. Credit Report
You’ll notice that, like other services that use TransUnion, they don’t provide a credit score. Rather, you’ll see a ResidentScore, which is their proprietary metric that measures the applicants’ quality as a renter, and not their overall credit situation. It’s likely more accurate than a credit score.
Next, you’ll see an address history:
That is followed up by a summary of tradelines, collections, inquiries, and public records. We liked how the tradelines (or credit accounts) distinguish between “active” and “closed.” It’s not a huge deal, but it’s a distinction that few (if any) other screening services make.
Here, you can see the total monthly debt payments made by the applicant. With this you can calculate a debt-to-income ratio.
Next, you can take a closer look at each of the open tradelines. For example, here is an open mortgage debt, with monthly payments disclosed. This can be useful to gauge what your applicant has been paying for housing recently.
Then, you can see any inquiries made recently:
5. Criminal & Eviction Report
They provide a simple Background Check (criminal) and Eviction Related Proceedings next:
It’s clear that RentSpree has spent considerable resources to make their signup and application processes look nice, as well as their reports.
Should You Use RentSpree?
The biggest problems for landlords will be that their reports give you the basics and nothing more. As with every other service, landlords will see credit reports, eviction data, and criminal history. However, they don’t provide other reports and checks, such as income verification, sex offender, terrorist watch list, bad check history, and more.
Despite the downsides, their price is fair ($38) which entices more applicants, and their reports and process look great. Their tenant screening is a good enough service that it’s a viable option for landlords who also want to use RentSpree’s other rental management tools.
RentSpree Frequently Asked Questions
These are the most common questions asked about RentSpree:
1. Is RentSpree a Legitimate Site?
RentSpree is a legitimate website. They provide a suite of property management software along with their tenant screening services, and are valued as one of the trusted names in the industry.
2. Does RentSpree Run a Hard Credit Inquiry?
Credit checks from RenstSpree are done via soft inquiry and will not affect the applicant’s credit score.
3. Are RentSpree’s Tenant Screening Reports Accurate?
Powered by TransUnion, RentSpree reports are thorough and accurate.