Where Do Real Estate Agents Go To Screen Their Lease Clients?

Written by Joe Killinger

I have been in the real estate business for almost 30 years, when I originally started I worked in a residential real estate company in Los Angeles that handled mostly sales but also had a good number of Agents that would also do leases.  I watched many of them fill out the application for lease and collect all the data from the potential tenant and then they would call a friend  ie: typically a lender and give the applicants information over the phone or fax it to them. I always thought this was the typical way we pulled a background and credit check for our applicants so when I had a lease come up I did the same thing.

What I now know, is that this is illegal and made both me and the lender friend subject to a fine, suspension of our license or both. The Federal Credit Reporting Act has specific guidelines laying out how a lease applicant’s information is to be handled, you cannot give their information to a third party to run a report on your lease clients. Many agents now ask the potential tenant to supply their own credit report; however with today’s technology, it is easy to falsify the data in the report, to the point that one would not be able to tell what is real, and what was fake.

Luckily, there are many companies that have legal options for an agent to run a credit and background screening report on their clients and can save them the potential of any fines or suspensions, while looking out for their clients. theRRD (www.theRRD.com)  offers one of the most comprehensive tenant screening option through their Instant Tenant Screening feature, which was designed just for this as it pulls a full credit, national criminal background, and an evictions, liens and judgement report;  Experian Connect (www.connect.experian.com) gives you an Experian credit report but not a background check; SmartMove (www.mysmartmove.com) pulls a credit, criminal and eviction reports from TransUnion.

Please give one of these companies a try and best of luck with your leases!

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