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Frequently Asked Questions
Who can request Credit Reports and use this service?ANY individual landlord or real estate property manager may use this service. There are no membership fees, no monthly minimum, nor monthly dues with this service. A nominal site inspection fee is required if credit reports are requested. Any landlord or manager, who desires to request a credit report on an applicant, must first sign a Landlord Agreement that you will abide by Fair Credit Reporting procedures. Click below to be able to review that agreement. In addition, there are a couple of additional FCRA requirements we will need from you to setup your service account and assign you a user name and password.
What is a site inspection and how much is it?This is a quick and nothing-to-fear inspection. A licensed inspector approved by the bureau will visit your home or office (wherever you primarily operate) to verify the following: 1.Measures are taken so that consumer credit files are protected from identity theft and can be stored securely in a locked (room, drawer, filing cabinet, safe, or password protected computer, etc) and shredder. 2.You are not operating an unauthorized business. A site inspection can be scheduled within 24 to 48 hours. A site inspection fee for running credit reports is only $59. Others sites charge from $75 to $99 and as much as $199 for an on-site inspection. And some companies charge a subscription or registration fee IN ADDITION the site inspection. NTS does not charge any membership, subscription nor registration fees.
Why shouldn’t I use another tenant credit check service that does not require a site inspection?Because of tougher required guidelines by all major credit bureaus, be very leery of any tenant screening company that does not require an-on-site inspection. In almost all cases, the credit report that such a company will provide you is not the actual and complete credit report. The report is most likely only some type of summary and/or recommendation based on information from the credit report. To best judge and screen your applicants, you need to see more than just a “recommendation”, you need to see the actual report in order to best analyze the payment history and type of payments an applicant has paid or not paid. Do not settle for just a summary or recommendation; make sure (before you mistakenly pay any money) that you will get to see the actual complete tenant credit reports. Also a company that does not require inspections, supports and allows Identity Theft to occur. Do you want your credit to be freely accessed.
What if I only have one or two vacancies a year, is there a cheaper alternative - like No Inspections?There are some services that don’t require the site inspection as mentioned above, but as stated, they do not provide you with the actual credit reports. Credit helps determines the frequency on paying on-time and if they owe past landlords, power companies, water companies. Credit helps determine the likely hood if the tenant will file bankruptcy, which allows the tenant to remain in your home rent free and you can't evict them during this long process - up to six months, sometimes 12 months.
Once my service account is set up, will I have to go through the sign-up process each time I want another tenant credit report?No, for one of the major credit bureaus, which provides the credit reports, this is a one-time process. Once your account is setup and user name and password assigned, you will be able to request instant online tenant reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Do you offer credit reports from more than one major credit bureau?Yes. you may select from one of two major credit bureaus when requesting a tenant credit report or request a premium report package which includes credit reports from TWO major credit bureaus to increase the odds that you are best informed of negative credit findings of applicants.
Can I charge the prospective resident an application fee to cover the credit report?That is the normal practice for most landlords. They charge each applicant a screening, application or credit check fee to more than cover the cost of the credit report.
Do I have to use the sample rental application available to get a credit report or can I use my own?We recommend the sample (1) rental application in PDF or sample (1) rental application in Microsoft Word is available on Nationwide Tenant Screening. The sample application also will help you identify many factors why an applicant is or is not acceptable as a qualified resident. However, if you have a rental application that contains the required statements granting permission to run a credit report and you prefer to use your own, you are free to do so. We also attached another sample (2) rental application as an option that we found used by many landlords. If you are a new landlord and need a sample application, click here. *we are not a law firm therefore we can't guarantee or warranty that these forms are up to-date and/or legal.
How long has your screening company been providing credit reports to rental owners?The Mark Mgmt (LandlordScreening.com) has provided credit report services to landlords Nationwide for over 25 years. In 2012, we expanded by adding a West Coast Support and launched a New Website www.NationwideTenantScreening.com & offering additional reports.
What if a credit report I receive on an applicant has negative information, and I choose not to rent to him or her?You will need to send or give the applicant a Denial Notice and keep a copy in your file to document why you are denying the applicant. This is extremely important for full compliance with Fair Housing Laws. Also, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you a required to notify a denied applicant in writing. You are also required to provide certain information to each denied applied applicant. Click here for a sample denial letter. If you accept the applicant, Click here for a sample approval letter.
What if my applicant wants to know what the report says and disagrees with what is on it?A denied applicant may within 60 days of the date of the report, request a copy of the rental report. Where to request the report should be on the denial notice you give. Upon receiving this report they have the right to submit a 100-word statement regarding any disputed information. We have a Microsoft Word Denial form - that you can type his or her name on it or use our PDF Denial form and just hand write their details.
How is the SCORE determined on the Tenant Credit Reports?The FICO SCORE is a number that is calculated through credit reporting agencies using formulas developed by Fair, Isaac & Company. The score will appear on your credit report as “Isaac Risk Score”. A mathematical formula is used that evaluates many types of information on the credit report by that agency (i.e., Payment history, amount owed, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit in use, etc.) The score is determined by comparing the applicants information to the patterns in millions of past credit reports. This score serves as an objective standard that can be applied equally to all applicants to help you in selecting a resident that will pay all their debts to you. Using the objective FICO score as part of your screening process also shows that you are attempting to follow Fair Housing guidelines and not illegally discriminate. This is an important safeguard.
How do I use or interpret the SCORE on the credit report? Is the report easy to understand?Yes, the report is provided in a very easy to read format. The FICO scores for each applicant will range from 300 to 900. The lower the score the higher the risk. If a resident has a low a score, you may want to require a higher security deposit (within state limits) or a cosigner. The higher the score, the more likely an applicant will NOT have money problems. Use this number to compare the scores of different applicants. You may also wish to set a certain score as the minimal acceptable score for your selection criteria. For example, many lenders set cutoff points — 700 or above, for example — as the minimum scores they will accept for their most attractive low-interest loans. Click here for additional information on how to interpret the score. Remember, however the FICO score is just one factor in the selection criteria, so be sure to read and review the complete report. And if you need help the first time, our Customer service will be glad to assist you by phone.
Why is it recommended that I get an eviction report along with a credit report?The eviction reports are a great tool for discovering if prospective residents have been served and sued by previous landlords for not paying their rent, information that most often does NOT show up on credit reports. Therefore, if you’re relying only on the credit report to make your screening decision, you may be missing vital eviction information to identify potential deadbeats. Did you know that a major study discovered that most major sources which provides eviction reports most often only finds 50% of the evictions connected with applicants? This means, if you only get the results from one eviction source provider, (which is all that most tenant screening services offer), you will probably miss half the eviction cases on any of your applicants. It is therefore highly recommended that you obtain eviction reports from TWO sources to increase chances you get more complete eviction history. And that is what you get (Two Eviction Reports for the price of one) when you request eviction reports from Nationwide Tenant Screening!
Do I need special software or equipment to access the credit reports?No, the only thing you will need to run credit reports at NationwideTenantScreening.com is Internet access. There is no special software to download nor any special hardware to buy. Just use any computer with internet access from the convenience of your home or office 24/7.
Who is AOA?They are our Support Company on the West Coast, providing Customer Service & our computer software capabilities.
Do you offer FAX SERVICE for these reports?Yes. Click here for the form and Fax to 818-245-9332, between 9am and 3pm pacific time. Typical turn around time is less then 2 hours. Please keep in mind internet access is 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, but Fax service is limited to business days, excluding holidays.
If I still have questions about using the credit check service or need assistance in getting started, is there a phone number I can call?Yes. Call toll-free, 1-855-24/7-CKIT (2548), between 9am and 5pm pacific time.
Is there any other services offered through the Nationwide Tenant Screening that I should be aware of?Along with criminal reports, there is one extremely valuable & low cost service that you should be aware of that will be of help if a former resident leaves owing you money. You can report any resident debts to all three major credit bureaus right through the website for only $13.00.
Let’s do it. How do I sign up and get my free username and password so that I will be able to receive quick, low-cost, tenant credit reports and/or eviction reports or report resident debts on line through this web site?Sign up NOW! Again, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please call toll-free 1-85524/7-CKIT, between 9am and 5pm pacific time, Monday-Friday.