Each money-saving suggestion you get could cost you dearly down the road. Doing it right the first time to protect your liability is what you should be concentrating on.
I wouldn't trust any 'free' system for credit reporting. How will you ever know how thorough their records are? You're getting a free report; that could be what it is really worth. Now that you are a landlord, perhaps you might want to consider becoming a member of the California Apartment Association. I use their screening and credit reporting services for new tenants. They also will keep you up to date on any changes in landlord tenant law and have a library of forms that are are up to date with current California statutes.
And your support for CAA means they can lobby for you and other landlords in Sacramento to balance out that tenant rights issue that Andrea mentioned earlier. Hopefully you are providing Megan's Law, Lead Paint, and a few other mandatory disclosures with your lease agreements as well. Not doing so could also be very expensive.
How about the credit history? Is that the same as the real one?
The member fee for CAA is around $200. It's not necessary for joining two counties, is it?
BTW, I don't think we can find eviction & crime records in a regular credit report, am I right?
I do have the potential tenants to sign the application form. But sometimes they don't want to pay $25 for credit check. So I asked them to use freecreditreport.com to check their credit and I can view it from that website.
I found this one : http://www.citicredit.net/tenant_screening.html
The price(Basic Plus Package - $39.95) is similar with http://www.ntnonline.com/.
Which one is better? Maybe http://www.ntnonline.com/?
you can get a very generic report (not records) from http://www.crimereports.com. It will not give you the names of the offenders, but it will show you what the crime is like in a particular area.
I don't know of any Free reports that will give you eviction records.
I don't know of any company offering such information for free, after all most companies are in business to make a profit. As you probably know, there are many websites that provide this service for a fee. However, if it is public record you should be able to contact the local courts and attempt to find the information on your own. Here is the website for Santa Clara, CA superior court.
Lookup case data online here:
Mark Burns, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Elite - Top 1.5% Worldwide
member - Tri-County and California Apartment Association
DRE #00896552 licensed since 1985