Rental Basics in Lincolnwood>Question Details

Aviator, Other/Just Looking in Lincolnwood, IL

I am the owner of a house which I plan to rent myself. How do I go about getting a credit report and background check on a prospective renter?

Asked by Aviator, Lincolnwood, IL Tue Aug 31, 2010

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I recommend - it is a great screening resource for independent rental owners. As a landlord, it doesn't cost you anything to use. Take a couple of minutes to create your account and begin inviting applicants to apply right away! The applicant verifies their identity, fills out the online application and orders their report. Once the report is complete, they (applicants) can share it with your directly through the secure sharing platform.

Reports are very comprehensive and include all of the necessary information to make the most informed decision. I would recommend that you set your criteria for tenant selection before you start screening, then make sure you apply the SAME criteria to each applicant in order to avoid discrimination issues. provides a rental criteria checklist as well as other landlord resources on their website - very helpful!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 27, 2015
I agree with the other agents that there are many options on the internet to find companies who will run background checks. You definitely want to charge an upfront fee to the applicant before submitting the application.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 8, 2014
There are many tenant screening services out there. Some of them require a monthly contract and/or setup fee. This is not what you would want as a landlord of one or a few properties. Key is to use a service that gives you a comprehensive report on a pay-as-you-go basis. I have used for my tenant screening. Almost instant results found me a few perfect tenants. The report included credit history, national criminal and eviction check and SSN trace. Best of all it did not cost me anything. The tenants got charged directly.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2014
Welcome to the world of property rental. Others have provided good answers for where to obtain a credit report. I would also recommend checking out your local landlord associations - like the Skokie Independent Landlord Assoc http://( - for advice and support. Additionally, they can provide referrals for renters, tradesmen and often discounted services.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 8, 2014
That link should read just
Flag Thu May 8, 2014
Good Evening,
As a property owner and investor and property manager who has renters, please know that the best time to avoid a bad tenant experience is to avoid renting to them at all...which many times has nothing to do with the credit score. Jeffrey Taylor is a great source for rental property owners including a multitude of reports such as: background check, credit report, terrorist report, sex offender report, judgement report, and more.

Good Luck fellow landlord.


Michael Hobbs
PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 25, 2011
There are plenty of screening services out there. Here's one as an example:

Go to Google or some other search engine and type in "tenant screening" and you'll get plenty of hits. Check them out to see what they offer and charge.

Many counties allow for free criminal background checks online. Go to your county office and explain what you're trying to do. I know several Landlords that do a criminal background in a matter of minutes for free. Then you should verify employment and income, talk to previous Landlords, etc. Most importantly, meet with them in person and go with your gut. If something seems wrong, it probably is.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 2, 2010
Dear Avaitor,

I suggest you use a credit check service. I have used Metro western Cook Credit Services in the past. You'll want a full Credit History, Eviction Search and Criminal Background Search. You can make your determinations from there. I would also recommend getting an employment verification.

You should contact them ahead of time so you can get all the required authorization paperwork to give to prospective tenants and set up an account. If you want the prospective tenant to pay for the service, let them know there is a non-refundable application fee when they submit their application to you. When you decide you are sure you want to rent to the tenant, make sure you use an enforceable lease.

Best of Luck.

Wayne Beals
Keller Williams CCG
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 31, 2010
1. Require prospective tenants to complete written rental applications with their credit history, employment status and names of former landlords.

2. Consider charging rental application fees to cover the costs of running credit checks on prospective tenants.

3. Verify the applicant's employment status and bank information by contacting employers and financial institutions.

4. Contact former landlords to check on the applicant's payment record as a tenant.

5. Order credit reports on applicants from a major credit reporting company such as Equifax or Trans Union to verify their credit history and possible evictions or convictions.

6. Contact an agency that specializes in screening tenants, such as National Tenant Network, to receive reports on the applicant's payment history as a tenant.

7. There are several online sites that can assist you with this. Here are a few.


Hope this helps..

Jason Stevens
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 31, 2010
There are a lot of services you can subscribe to that will charge you either a monthly fee or per instance to get all three credit bureaus. You can check the internet or ask a few rental agencies who they use. You need to have the potential applicant sign a release to allow you to check their credit and background. You will need their ssn and last two years addresses. You should also ask for at least last month's pay stubs and check their employment. Lease applications usually provide all necessary sign offs and information you need for all.

You can also ask a potential applicant to present this information to you with any offer or charge them a portion or all of the fee. You may eliminate some applicants, but decent rentals are flying off the market in most areas, so it is competitive. If they are using an agent, they will often check their credit anyway and have that all to submit. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 31, 2010
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