What is a Background Check?

A background check is a method to confirm an individual's identity using financial, criminal, and commercial data. 

A background check is a method to confirm an individual’s identity using financial, criminal, and commercial data.

The Purpose

The primary goal of a tenant background check is safety. Confirming a person’s identity helps protect you and your renters from harm, as well as your rental property itself. It also lets you, the landlord, feel confident that your renter is trustworthy and dependable enough to pay rent each month and not damage your property.

How Long Does a Background Check Take

The length of time required to do a background check depends on a number of factors, including where the background check is being run. When you purchase a screening report from TurboTenant, you get trustworthy results in 5 minutes or less.

What is Included in a Background Check

Landlords want to avoid potential issues with tenants, so it’s important to know what goes into a background check. The following items should be included in a background check while vetting a tenant, no matter where you purchase it: criminal record, eviction record, job history, and financial history.

Criminal History

The tenant’s criminal history may be disclosed to the landlord, along with details on whether the offense was severe enough to deny a tenant’s application. There are some jurisdictions around the US that do not allow criminal history to be a part of a landlord’s screening process. We recommend you to always be aware of your local landlord-tenant laws.

Eviction History

The tenant’s eviction history and the reasons for the evictions will be revealed in a background check, providing the landlord with valuable insight into the tenant’s previous renting behavior.

Employment History

A tenant’s employment history can tell you a lot about their financial history and trustworthiness. If they’ve been at the same job for a few years, they may be a more desirable tenant than someone who stays 6 months in each role and moves cities frequently. TurboTenant now offers Income Insights as part of our Premium subscription, which allows you to use a third party to verify the income reported by your tenant.

Financial Information

credit check can show the tenant’s credit score, which gives insights into their financial history. Many landlords have a threshold for credit scores and will not rent to anyone who doesn’t meet that threshold.

Types of Background Checks

Landlords may collect the information they need before accepting a tenant using a mix of background check methods, which might differ depending on where in the world they are doing the check.

Other common kinds of background checks include:

Federal Background Check

This background check is conducted to find criminal records from other jurisdictions, such as federal ones. A landlord may investigate a prospective renter for federal offenses such as tax evasion.

Universal Background Check

A universal background check is the most effective method for checking private gun transactions. It is used to reduce gun violence and stay out of trouble with the law.

Level 2 Background Check

Fingerprints are processed through the FBI’s database in level 2 background checks in order to check for ineligible crimes for tenants. Regarding the real estate industry, a level 2 background check is employed to safeguard minors, the disabled, and the old.

Level 3 Background Check

A level 3 background check is a comprehensive background check that provides a very complete analysis of a person.

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