Paying multiple tenant screening fees before finding a landlord who will accept them is a significant hardship on low income applicants. In extreme cases it can result in homelessness.
Low income housing advocates have long sought a portable tenant screening report to address the problem – a single report (for a single tenant screening fee) that can be shared with multiple landlords.
Under the traditional tenant screening model the landlord orders a tenant screening report from their tenant screening company. The tenant screening company returns the report to the landlord. The landlord decides whether to accept, accept conditionally (e.g. with an increased deposit or cosigner) or decline the applicant – based on their rental criteria. The traditional model requires prior “certification” of the landlord by the tenant screening company – a costly and time consuming process. Traditional tenant screening reports are not portable – meaning the tenant screening company cannot (for legal & contractual reasons) share reports prepared for one landlord with another.
The only practical way to achieve portability (under current law) is to flip the traditional tenant screening model on its head – for the applicant to order a report on themselves – which they can, of course, share with anyone they like. In order for an applicant initiated tenant screening model to work:
- There can be no question as to identity of the applicant or landlord.
- There can be no question as to the authenticity of the report – whether the report has been modified;
- The report must contain the services required to meet the needs of the majority of landlords – credit (including a score), a thorough criminal and eviction search, and rental and employment verifications; and
- The report must be accurate – thorough with no false positives (erroneous public records hits).
Portable tenant screening reports have numerous advantages over the traditional tenant screening model – beyond the economics or portability. They are:
- Available Now – to independent rental owners (with only one or very few rental units) – who may otherwise lack access to quality tenant screening reports due to the cost associated with certification.
- Transparent – giving applicants an opportunity to dispute content they believe is being reported in error, creating a strong incentive for accuracy on the part of the tenant screening company.
- Educational – keeping applicants informed regarding their credit standing and the factors affecting their credit score.
- Empowering – providing applicants with the information they need to manage their credit profile, discuss derogatory content with prospective landlords, and determine whether they qualify before parting with application fees or holding deposits.
- Compliant – with state and federal consumer reporting law. The combination of transparency and control (by the applicant) dramatically reduces the risk of the legal and regulatory problems (for the landlord).
MyScreeningReport.com® (MSR) is the industry’s first (and thus far only) high quality, comprehensive and inherently portable tenant screening report. It was borne out of collaboration with the Low Income Housing Community – driven by the need to address the multiple tenant screening fee problem, as well as the need for access to a quality tenant screening product by independent rental owners. MyScreeningReport.com®:
- Leverages state of the art authentication technology to confirm the identity of landlords and applicants;
- Provides the means for applicants to grant direct access to there tenant screening report via MSR’s secure systems – leaving no doubt as to the authenticity of the report;
- Reports contain credit (including a score), criminal and evictions searches (including AKA’s and additional addresses), rental and employment verifications.
- Services include additional name and address searches, as well as record matching – no false positives!
MyScreeningReport.com® reports have been embraced by a large and growing number of independent rental owners and property managers. MSR delivers on the promise of availability, transparency, education and empowerment. The product is by its very nature compliant – substantially reducing the risk of legal or regulatory action.
Visit MyScreeningReport.com for more information about this innovative new product.