Portable Tenant Screening Report: A Comprehensive Guide

renter filling out a portable tenant screening report and paying for it online

Portable tenant screening reports (PTSRs) might not be the most common topic in landlording circles, but as more states look to recognize these reports, they’re bound to become more prevalent.

In in-demand markets, landlords often receive multiple applicants for their vacant properties. Applicants whom landlords feel could be a good fit are screened to illuminate their credit, background, and eviction history. If the renter passes muster, the landlord can approve their application, but of course, not every person who applies will move in.

Renters could lose a chunk of change if they experience a string of denials and have to pay a new fee for every application. So, legislative bodies have introduced the concept of portable, aka reusable, screening reports offering renters a reprieve.

For landlords, the new legislation can be confusing. To help ease the burden, we’ll discuss what these reports are, tips to avoid fraud, which states currently have legislation on the books, and how you can move forward.

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What are Portable Screening Reports?

Portable screening reports, or reusable tenant screenings, are credit and background checks that tenants obtain themselves and then share with potential landlords rather than going through individual, landlord-directed screening processes. These self-service reports are usually good for 30 days.

Renters can also receive reports from landlords who deny their applications. In this case, the individual can simply request that the landlord email the report. Once they have it, prospective tenants can easily submit it to other landlords when looking for housing, simplifying the application process.

That’s the goal, at least. Landlords don’t always have to accept the report, as we discuss below in our states section.

Standard Information on Reusable Tenant Screening Reports

Just because renters can submit reports multiple times doesn’t mean the data on them differs from a standard tenant screening. You’ll still find critical information like:

  • Identity verification
  • Credit history
  • Employment verification
  • Criminal history (where allowed)
  • Sex offender registry checks
  • National terrorist watchlists (where allowed)
  • SSN verification
  • Income information

Five Tips to Avoid Tenant Screening Fraud

As this new way of screening becomes more widely used, there is potential for misuse. Here are five tips to help you avoid fraud.

  1. Scrutinize the Report: Check for inconsistencies and verify the source by making sure the report comes from a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)-compliant agency or third-party website. Look for any signs of tampering, including inconsistent formatting and fonts.
  2. Verify Independently: It’s crucial to confirm employment (with renter approval) and contact past landlords to validate the information on the PTSR. This step assures you that the information provided is accurate and reliable. Be wary of applicants who seem reluctant to undergo independent verification.
  3. Go Beyond the Report: If there is any doubt, run your own credit check (with renter approval). You may have to foot the bill to complete this process, but it’s better than getting duped.
  4. Contact Previous Landlords: Reach out to past landlords mentioned in the report to verify the renter’s rental history, including payment habits and compliance with lease agreement stipulations.
  5. Stay Informed: Check with landlord associations or government agencies to stay current on the latest scams and red flags associated with tenant screening.

Reusable Tenant Screening Reports by State

Let’s take a look at six states that currently allow portable reports. The common thread is that if a landlord accepts a reusable report, they cannot charge an application fee.


In TurboTenant’s home state, landlords must accept reusable tenant screening reports, provided the renter pulled the report within the last 30 days. There are exceptions, which we’ll get to below.


In California, PTSRs are called reusable tenant screening reports. They also stipulate that the report must be no older than 30 days, and it must include the following information:

  • A criminal history check going back seven years
  • Eviction history check seven years preceding report submission
  • Verification of employment
  • Applicant’s last known address

TurboTenant’s Approach to Tenant Screening

TurboTenant facilitates portable tenant screening by centralizing reports in a single location within the platform. From there, you can locate individual reports and save them as PDFs. Just go to print the report, but instead of printing it, save it as a PDF.


How do I get a portable tenant screening report?

Renters in reusable tenant screening report states can use SmartMove to screen themselves. If you apply for a property, but get denied, ask the landlord to send you the report so you can use it to apply to another property.

Where can I get a portable tenant screening report?

TurboTenant is a great place to screen tenants. After you’ve screened a renter in the platform, you can access the report from your dashboard, save it as a PDF, and send it to would-be tenants so they can use it again.

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