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10 best tenant screening services of 2024 (free and paid)

best tenant screening services
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

Finding the right tenant can make all the difference between a profitable year and a financial disaster. You want your tenant screening process to be as efficient and expedient as possible so you can narrow your search and land that ideal tenant sooner rather than later. 

The good news is there are lots of tenant screening services available. The challenge is choosing the one that best suits your needs. 

This guide shares some of the top tenant screening services for landlords to consider. We’ll break down their key features, what makes each one unique, and their price differences.

Whether you’re a seasoned landlord or dipping your toes in the rental property market for the first time, we’re here to help you find the right tool to make the tenant selection process easier, faster, and more reliable.


Key factors to evaluate in tenant screening services

Selecting a tenant screening service is more than just picking the one with the most features. It’s about finding a service that provides accurate, comprehensive information to help you make informed decisions about potential tenants.

There are some factors we recommend you consider when evaluating different tenant screening services:

  • Credit score assessment: A prospective tenant’s credit score can provide insight into how responsible they are with their finances. Look for a service with this feature. 
  • Income verification: Ensuring a tenant’s income is sufficient to cover rent is crucial. The general rule is that monthly rent should not exceed one-third of a tenant’s income. 
  • Pricing: The cost of the service is a significant factor, but it’s not everything, especially when you consider how costly it can be to deal with the wrong tenant down the road. Be sure the price aligns with your budget and the set of features offered.
  • Data security: Tenant screening involves handling sensitive information. The service you choose should prioritize data security and have safeguards in place to avoid exposing sensitive information unnecessarily.
  • Rental and eviction history: This information can indicate a tenant’s reliability for paying rent and respecting property. A history of evictions or late rent payments can be a red flag.
  • Employer verification: Confirming a tenant’s employment status adds another layer of security to your decision and gives you peace of mind when moving forward to a signed lease.
  • Report delivery: Consider how quickly and in what format the service shares information. Speedy delivery can help you get back to prospects and fill vacancies faster, and easy-to-read reports can simplify your decision-making process.
  • Background checks: A thorough tenant background check can reveal crucial information about a tenant’s past behavior, which may indicate future conduct.


10 best tenant screening services for landlords

The best tenant screening service for you depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Here are 10 of the top services for screening tenants that can offer peace of mind and contribute to a positive rental experience.


Stessa is specialized asset management software designed for residential rental property owners and is a Roofstock company. Aiming to optimize the landlord-tenant relationship from the get-go, part of their comprehensive platform includes a free application service and an efficient way to screen tenants. 


Key features and capabilities

  • Application management
  • Credit and background checks
  • Income verification
  • Judgments and liens
  • No extra fees for landlords (tenants pay for screening)
  • Automated rent collection
  • Tenant ledger and rent roll
  • Mobile-friendly application
  • Many additional features…

Additional Stessa features for landlords and investors

  • Insurance quotes and policies: Stessa’s partnership with Steadily, a tech-enabled national landlord insurance provider, makes it easy for  landlords to view competitive insurance quotes and select policies through the Stessa platform. This feature helps eliminate the need for time-consuming phone calls and complex paperwork.
  • Tax preparation resources: In collaboration with The Real Estate CPA, Stessa provides tax resources tailored to real estate investors, assisting with tax readiness and deduction strategies.
  • Landlord banking: Stessa offers FDIC-insured checking accounts, ensuring your transactions on  the platform are protected. There are no minimum opening deposit or balance requirements, making it accessible for everyone*.
  • Cash back on debit card purchases: Account holders can earn 1.1% cash back on debit card purchases, credited to their account in the next month’s statement cycle*.


Learn more about Stessa and its tenant screening services here.

What’s missing?

  • Does not yet offer a landlord-pay option for screening
  • No vacancy listing syndication service


Tenant screening on Stessa is free for landlords. However, tenants do pay fees ($40, with optional add-ons for income verification for $10 and judgments/liens for $7) as part of their application process.


RentPrep is a comprehensive tenant screening service that is also owned by Roofstock. They employ FCRA-certified screeners and provide extensive and accurate tenant reports, including credit checks and rental background checks for applicants.

Key features and capabilities

  • Tenant or landlord pay option
  • Customizable credit rating requirements
  • Screening API integration with third-party websites

What’s missing?

  • While RentPrep has income insights, it costs extra. Additionally, not all plans offer a tenant pay option.


RentPrep offers a basic Rental Background Check plan for $21 and a detailed TransUnion Full Credit Report for $40. You can request more reports for additional fees, such as income verification ($10) or judgment and lien reports ($7). (whose screening service for rental property owners was previously part of Cozy) is a rental management platform and marketplace for real estate investors.

Key features and capabilities

  • Customizable data screening
  • Tenant identity verification
  • Rent-to-income ratio reports

What’s missing?

  • Screening reports are limited to income-to-rent ratio, employment status, household information, and rental history.


The service is free for landlords. However, it costs applicants $29 plus tax for the rental application and screening reports, shareable for 30 days with up to 10 landlords.


Buildium is all-in-one property management software specifically created for real estate investors and property managers.

Key features and capabilities

  • Thorough credit reports by TransUnion
  • Customized credit score requirements
  • Prospective tenant notification upon completion of background check

What’s missing?

  • Despite the detailed screening reports, they don’t include a renter risk-scoring model that helps assess a tenant’s risk profile.


Pricing for Buildium starts at $52 per month, and landlords who subscribe to Buildium pay $15 per screening. However, if the tenant pays, it costs $30 per screening. 


MyRental is a tenant screening and management platform for landlords, property managers, and real estate agents.

Key features and capabilities

  • Scoring model to assess a tenant’s potential risk
  • Multi-state criminal and sex offender checks
  • Renter pay option

What’s missing?

  • While MyRental has an applicant pay option, it’s unavailable in their Basic plan.


The Basic plan is $24.99 per applicant, and the Premium plan is $34.99 per applicant. The company also offers a la carte pricing, where you can purchase individual reports for a one-time fee ranging from $7.99 for an eviction history report to $19.99 for a multi-state criminal report. The pricing is available at


Avail is rental management software that helps individual landlords manage their properties and find tenants.

Key features and capabilities

  • Tenant identity verification
  • Three screening reports to choose from based on the information you need
  • Landlord or tenant payment option

What’s missing?

  • While Avail provides 3 screening reports, there’s no option to customize the specific data set you’d need.


Tenant screening pricing for Avail varies depending on state laws and typically ranges from $25–$75 per applicant. 


SmartMove is a tenant screening platform run by the credit rating agency TransUnion. The company focuses on DIY landlords and property managers with small portfolios.

Key features and capabilities

  • Resident scoring to assess a renter’s ability to pay
  • Comprehensive criminal reports
  • Tenant’s income insights
  • Tenant or landlord pay option

What’s missing?

  • While SmartMove is free for landlords, the fees for tenants can be higher than other screening services. That could discourage some tenants from applying.


SmartMove has three plans. SmartCheck Basic is the most affordable at $24.99 per screening. The SmartCheck Plus and SmartCheck Premium packages include more features at $39.99 and $42.99 per screening. The prices for Smartmove can be found on


TurboTenant is rental management software for DIY landlords. It offers property management tools, including accounting, rental application forms, payment collection, and tenant screening.

Key features and capabilities

  • Tenant identity verification
  • Privacy protection when tenants enter their information
  • Current line of credit reports
  • Debt payment reports
  • Income verification reports

What’s missing?

  • Although TurboTenant runs a criminal background check, landlords must run reference checks themselves.


Tenant screening is free for landlords. However, tenants pay a fee of $45 or $55, depending on whether a landlord has the Free or Premium TurboTenant plan.  You can learn more on

Zillow Rental Manager

Zillow Rental Manager is a rent management platform and property listing marketplace.

Key features and capabilities

  • Easy to use for tenant applications, inclusive of the screening reports
  • Credit score reports from Experian
  • Criminal background checks
  • Tenant verification

What’s missing?

  • It lacks a landlord payment option and specific reports, like reference checks and income insights.


It’s free for landlords, but tenants pay $35 for an application and screening, which they can apply to an unlimited number of participating properties for 30 days. You can see the details on

National Tenant Network

National Tenant Network (NTN) is a subscription-based resident screening website for property managers, real estate investors, public housing authorities, and landlords.

Key features and capabilities

  • In-depth screening, including multi-state criminal checks
  • Customizable screening criteria
  • Tenant verification services
  • Compliance with fair housing laws

What’s missing?

  • NTN does not offer renter pay options, meaning landlords must bear full tenant screening costs.


NTN charges a one-time variable membership fee, giving you access to all its services. You can also run individual screening reports for a fee, although pricing varies based on the state where the property is located.


Which service is best for you?

Why might a landlord choose one service over another? 

  1. RentPrep: RentPrep may appeal to landlords who appreciate having FCRA-certified screeners providing extensive and accurate tenant reports.
  2. A landlord might opt for this platform if they value access to tenant screening services and help listing and marketing their properties to a broad audience.
  3. Buildium: This option may be preferred by larger landlords or property managers looking for a more comprehensive property management solution with features like property accounting, leasing, and operations.
  4. MyRental: MyRental could be attractive to landlords who want predictive analytics to assess the risk level of potential renters.
  5. Avail: Avail could be a good choice for landlords seeking an all-in-one platform with lease agreement creation, online rent collection, maintenance tracking, and tenant screening.
  6. SmartMove: Landlords may select SmartMove based on its secure screening solution backed by TransUnion, a well-known credit bureau and reporting agency.
  7. TurboTenant: TurboTenant could be a good fit for landlords seeking speedy tenant screening services.
  8. Zillow Rental Manager: Landlords may choose Zillow Rental Manager due to its large user base, which can increase rental listing visibility alongside its helpful tenant screening services.
  9. National Tenant Network: Landlords may choose National Tenant Network if they value a scoring model that predicts the reliability of potential tenants and don’t mind covering all screening costs.

However, for many landlords, Stessa may be the best choice for tenant screening based on its comprehensive suite of integrated features and strong background in rental property accounting.

In addition to thorough tenant screening, Stessa offers wide-ranging features, from income and expense tracking to instant tax reports and real-time performance metrics. Its ease of use, competitive APY rates, 1.10% cash back on debit card purchases (as of August 2023), high yield on balances with a banking account, and integration with other property management and bank accounts make it a robust asset management tool.


*Stessa is not a bank. Stessa is a financial technology company. Banking services provided by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. The Stessa Cash Management Visa® Debit Card is issued by Blue Ridge Bank, N.A., pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc., and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Your funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000 through Blue Ridge Bank; Member FDIC.

Essentials is a free plan and Pro is a premium plan. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 3.12% on deposit accounts for new Essentials users signing up and 5.08% for the Pro users is accurate as of September 5, 2023. APY for the account may change at any time, before or after the account is opened. No minimum balance or opening deposit required. Fees could reduce earnings on the account.

Account holders can earn 1.10% cash back on debit card purchases. Cash back earned each month will be credited to your account by the next month’s statement cycle. ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or cash equivalents, loan payments, and account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. No minimum opening deposit and no minimum balance requirements. 

Terms and eligibility requirements apply. See T&Cs for cash back program for more details.

** The pricing cited in this article is current as of 9/6/2023.  Certain screening services may assess taxes and fees in addition to the prices referenced in this article.

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