No. There are alternatives. If you are a small landlord or small business owner and do not wish to undergo an on-site inspection, you have choices. Ask your screening company what they offer other than the full retail credit report.

Reputable screening companies review an applicant’s background and produce an overall score, much like a credit score, along with a corresponding rental recommendation. Both the rental score and the rental recommendation are a thorough and objective analysis of the applicant’s credit score and his or her history of eviction(s), lease violations, longevity of employment, longevity of residence, etc.

A good tenant screening service should offer you (without an on-site inspection)

  • Verification of the information on the rental application
  • Credit worthiness based on their findings matched to your specific rental criteria
  • Rental history, Employment history, Criminal history
  • If there is adverse information, a rejection letter that complies with the FCRA
  • An alert that there are public records of concern (bankruptcy, lawsuit, etc.)
  • A rental recommendation (that you are, of course, free to override)
  • The ability to customize the report to adhere to additional specific tenant criteria you have (no bounced checks, minimum length of time on job, no evictions, etc.).