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Tenant Screening & Management System Integration

February 3, 2015 12:01 am

Integrations are inherently appealing – promising to reduce or eliminate duplicate data entry, improve accuracy and control.  Integrating a tenant screening solution with a property management system is no exception.

The benefit associated with an integration depends on several factors, however.

  1. The type of report – Quick v. Comprehensive;
  2. The information required to initiate a (tenant screening) report;
  3. The management system itself – types of data accommodated and availability via the integration; and
  4. Whether there are alternatives to data entry by site staff.

Integrations can be expensive to deploy – in time and in treasure.  So it is important to assess the true benefit.  A good place to start is to compare the data entry burden with and without the integration – the results of which are often surprising.

Report Types

“Quick Reports” require very little data to initiate – typically name, address, date of birth and SSN – data which the majority of management systems (and integrations) either require or will accommodate.

“Comprehensive Reports” require considerably more data to initiate – including previous addresses, current (and on occasion prior) employment information, current and prior landlord (contact) information – information the management system may or may not accommodate.

Generally speaking, there is little data entry associated with “quick” reports – making them much easier to integrate but delivering less savings in terms of keystrokes.

Comprehensive reports, on the other hand, require additional information to initiate.  The following is a comparison of workflow associated with a comprehensive tenant screening model in both integrated and nonintegrated environments.  Data entry is italicized for comparison purposes.

Integrated Environment

  1. Applicant…
  • Finds property – (online, in a print ad or by dropping by); and
  • Confirms availability (online, by calling or dropping by).
  1. Leasing person…
  • Sells the applicant on the property;
  • Enters guest card information – in the management system (if not entered online by applicant);
  • Takes a paper application and enters the application information into the management system (or has applicant complete online application); and
  • Enters any additional information required by the tenant screening program – that is either not stored or not passed by the management system to the tenant screening program via the API.
  • Faxes or uploads the application, including signature – when required by landlords and employers.
  1. Tenant screening company…
  • Completes the report and returns a recommendation (only) via the integration.

Nonintegrated Environment

  1. Applicant…
  • Finds property – (online, in a print ad or by dropping by).
  • Confirms availability (online, by calling or dropping by).
  1. Leasing agent…
  • Sells prospective tenant on the property;
  • Enters guest card data information in the management system (if not entered online by applicant);
  • Enters data required into the tenants screening system or directs applicant to an online application.
  • Faxes or uploads the paper application, including the signature, to the tenant screening company.
  1. Tenant screening company:
  • Completes and returns the full report (or summary and recommendation ONLY, as desired).


As you can see, there is little or no reduction in data entry attributable to an integration in a comprehensive tenant screening environment – since so much additional information is required (and may have to be entered) to initiate the process.

The burden is substantially less, obviously, if the tenant screening company offers an online application or will accept completed applications via facsimile or secure upload – so that site staff only enter the basics – name, address, date of birth and SSN.

There are other potential benefits that are worthy of consideration – such as better utilization of site staff, better control of workflow and improved data security – by limiting the data that is returned (to the site) to a recommendation.

The completeness and accuracy of the tenant screening report is perhaps the most important consideration – since even a modest decrease in resident profile can hammer NOI and have a profound impact on equity.

Bottom Line

Integrations between property management systems and tenant screening programs are inherently appealing and make sense in some instances.

There is little reduction in data entry required, however, to initiate a quick report.  Comprehensive reports may actually require an increase in data entry – depending, of course, on whether an online application or data entry services are available through the tenant screening company.

The best arguments for an integration are generally those associated with its indirect benefits – better utilization of site staff, improved workflow and data security.

Trading report quality for an integration is a bad idea.

Visit Moco Incorporated or for more information on this and other important topics.

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