How long does it take to get a TenantTracks Screening Report?
The reports are quickly processed through a secure internet connection and return information usually in 30 seconds.
Another great TenantTracks feature is your background reports are automatically stored in your account for you to review up to 60 days after the report is run. Reports older than 60 days are dismantled and archived. If an archived report is needed for any reason, there is a $7.50 fee to unarchive the report.
Can I share the information on a TenantTracks Screening Report with others?
A TenantTracks Screening Report belongs only to you as our customer, the individual end-user.
While a tenant applicant, cooperating Realtor or landlord-client MAY VIEW OUR REPORTS, you may never make a copy or send a TenantTracks OPTIMUM10 Screening report via fax or email to anyone including both the tenant applicant or the client property owner (if Realtor or Property Manager).
The reason is to help guard against identity-theft as you can not guarantee the security and afety of that report once it leaves your office. You should either shred the report or lock it in a securefiling cabinet when your review is complete. Reports are held in our system for 60 days and then disassembled and removed from our server. If you need to obtain a report older than 60 days, a $7.50 fee applies to un-archive that report.
All TenantTracks Screening Reports must be safeguarded. You are subject to penalties per the Fair Credit Reporting Act for violation of this policy.
What info is needed to process a TenantTracks Screening Report?
To verify your applicant is the person they claim to be, we suggest that you get at least one form of a photo ID from them.
The information needed to process a TenantTracks Screening Report is:
• Applicants First and Last Name
• Date of Birth
• Current address including, Street Name and Number, City, State and Zip Code
• Social Security Number
Do I need to print out each TenantTracks Screening Report?
The decision to print a report is yours to make.
Our system stores every report you process in your secure account for 60 days so you can always go back and look at it again. After 60 days, the reports are still available but put in cold cyber storage; there is a fee to access reports older than 60 days.
How you decide to store your reports is your choice, but if you do print them, remember you must keep them locked in a secure filing cabinet to prevent others from viewing the sensitive information contained in the credit report or shred them after reviewing them.
What is the Credentialing Process?
Credentialing is an industry term to determine if you can receive a full credit report.
Credentialed users get a complete credit report showing all the trade lines and account information, non-credentialed users get the personal information, employment history, warning messages and the FICO Score.
To be credentialed you must operate your business from an office location and this can be a home based office but must be a separate room used exclusively as an office.
To be a credentialed user you need,
- Password protected computer that the screen does not face a doorway preventing others to view the monitor
- Locking file cabinet
- Document shredder
- Basic paperwork proving you have permissible purpose to obtain credit reports
We will inspect the physical office location and if you qualify, we will enable your account to the status of "Credentialed User."
What "Permissible Purpose" do I need to obtain a TenantTracks Screening Report?
Permissible Purpose means one must have a legitimate reason to request credit sensitive data on a 3rd party.
Our customers need a legitimate reason to investigate another persons background, renting an apartment is one such legitimate reason. You also need the applicants written permission to obtain a credit report.
We supply a sample Apartment Rental Application and a Credit Release and Waiver form that contain the required written tenant authorization language.
Our customers whether they are rental property owners, property management companies or real estate rental agencies all would qualify for receiving credit reports and have a "Permissible Purpose" to obtain such information but all are subject to the credentialing process.
One needs a legitimate reason to investigate another person's background, renting apartments is such a legitimate reason.
What laws govern TenantTracks Screening Reports?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides a framework detailing how we all must comply and use TenantTracks Screening Reports.
The law is very strict and details how one complies with the requirements of accessing 3rd party sensitive data. Many of the items are common sense but due to the growing problem of Identity Theft, we take these obligations seriously and so should you. Click here to get a copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Must I send a rejection letter in writing to deny a tenant's rental application?
Yes you must provide a rejection letter called an "Adverse Action Notice" to all applications that you deny.
We provide an automated process for you to comply with this requirement. You simply select "Applicant Denial Letter" and click the applicants name from the picklist and our system automatically fills out the form for you. All you have to do is drop it in the mail or hand it to your rental applicant.
This Adverse Action Notice includes the required language allowing a tenant to contact our company if the wish to dispute any information on the TenantTracks Screening Report.
How can a TenantTracks Screening Report help me avoid discrimination claims?
We do not let our customers pick and choose which report components they run, we provide a comprehensive report containing the information needed to make an informed rental decision.
By providing a comprehensive package instead of a picklist to choose report components we lessen the risk of a discrimination claim so our customers use a consistent, level and uniform screening process for every application.
We know of some individuals being accused of discrimination by selecting certain types of applicants they perform a complete background check upon and others they did a limited search on. If you pick and choose which applicants to process, you absolutely put yourself at risk of being accused of a Fair Housing Act Violation.
For example, some people may only use a credit report to evaluate a tenant's ability to pay if they have a job, but they might ask for a criminal report and eviction if that applicant is on Section-8. This is a dangerous practice and to avoid discrimination acquisitions you need to gather the same information on each and every rental applicant and process each application in the same consistent manner. Professional property owners and managers always get a complete background check on all their perspective rental applicants, and so should you!
We also suggest that you write down your screening policy on your rental applications so everyone is subject to the same process and it is clearly stated. We encourage you to get a TenantTracks Screening report on every applicant over the age of 18 to assure maximum safety for your property and other tenants living on the premises.
How long does tenant information stay on a TenantTracks Screening Report?
In general, negative information is limited to 7 years on your credit data and public records once the file has been closed.
Certain items like bankruptcy report for 10 years and Tax Liens remain until paid.
What type of data is in your Tenant Performance Database?
This information is supplied by property management companies and landlords who provide valuable information regarding their own tenant's rental performance, including;
• Notice to Quit Served
• Summons and Complaint Served
• Paid Rent after the Grace Period
• Partial Rent Payment Made
• Notice of Lease Violation Sent
• No Rent Payment Made and No Legal Action Commenced
• Cash for Keys
Cash for Keys is a rapidly growing problem for all of us in the rental housing industry. Imagine what message we give a tenant that stopped paying rent and is living for free only to be rewarded for this negative behavior and paid money by the owner and to move-out an dno be evicted!
This practice is growing in use because it's quicker and less costly than a formal eviction but it is also the most dangerous activity in the apartment rental business. This non-paying tenant tenant will not show up in any court record search or other database and that is why we encourage all our users to report, "Cash for Keys." into our Tenant Performance Database.
What information is included in a TenantTracks Screening Report?
We provide our customers with a comprehensive package of information allowing them to make intelligent decisions regarding perspective tenants.
Each TenantTracks Screening report is actually a package of six different reports combined into one, a TenantTracks Screening Report includes:
• Trans Union Credit report with summary box and a FICO Score
• National Criminal Report including a sex-offender search
• Terrorist Watch-List Search
• National eviction report
• TenantTracks CT Eviction Database (including the offline courts)
• TenantTracks Tenant Performance Database
This combination of information, especially the TenantTracks Eviction Database provides a comprehensive package of information allowing our subscribers to make informed decisions.
Why should I choose TenantTracks over another tenant screening company?
TenantTracks prides itself on having the best available data for more accurate tenant background checks.
In Connecticut, our reports include eviction data from all 15 court locations that process weekly evictions, not just the six Housing Courts that other screening companies typically provide. In addition to more data, we update our records more often; every two weeks, while others services may only update their records every few months.
BETTER DATA, BETTER RESULTS!
Why should I screen a Tenant Rental Application?
To be successful in the apartment rental business you must mitigate risk.
For operators of multi-family property the risk of renting to an individual who has a high probability of non-payment of rent or creating a criminal nuisance in your apartments is your biggest threat.
Tenant Screening is the best tool available to separate the fact form fiction concerning the information supplied on your rental application; good decisions yield good results, use TenantTracks Screening Reports.
FICO vs. Vantage Credit Score
One of the most frequently asked questions is what's the difference between a FICO Score and a Vantage Score?
The simple answer is today, there is little difference between the two scores. Fico stands for Fair Isiac Corporation and is a privately owned company whereas Vantage is owned by all three major credit bureaus.
They both use a score range of 300 to 850 but they difer in how thaey weigh some aspects of a consumers credit profile and history. For instance percentage of available credit, number of recent Inquiries, late payment history each has a different measure on the consumers score but in the end, the overall credit score for that consumers score is fairly consistent.
It is our experience that Vantage is becoming the more popular model as afterall it is owned by the credit bureaus themselves.
Fraud Alert vs. Credit Freeze: What’s the Difference?
Placing an alert or a freeze on your record with credit bureaus can help prevent fraudulent activity and identity theft from damaging your credit history and score.
A credit freeze eliminates access to your credit reports until you lift the freeze with a credit bureau account and a PIN. A fraud alert requires that creditors verify your identity before extending you additional credit.
Credit freezes and fraud alerts are free and a freeze offers better protection. A fraud alerts expire after a year unless you extend it and a credit freeze last until you lift them and a credit freeze may be reinstated for free.
A fraud alert is a warning placed on your credit record that tells potential lenders to contact you and verify your identity before extending new credit. If someone tries to open a new credit card or borrow money in your name, a phone call from the lender will tip you off, and you can prevent the new account from being opened.
A credit freeze is also known as a security freeze and prevents lenders from accessing your credit report without authorization. Credit card issuers and lenders usually want to see your credit history before approving you for financing, so they can’t issue a new credit to you or someone pretending to be you until you authorize them to access your credit report.
You can unfreeze your credit to allow lenders see your credit report if you want to open a new account. This might also be necessary if you’re renting an apartment or applying for insurance, both of which usually require a credit check.