Running a free rental background check on myself… is it possible?
In fact, there are two ways to do it. Anyone can use a 7 day free trial background check offer to immediately see everything that a potential landlord will see on a tenant background check…
Or, by using the following four steps, running a free rental background check on myself can be done both quickly and easily.
Before applying for residency, many people want to run their own background check to see what will show up before a landlord conducts a screening, but don’t know the best way to go about it so that they don’t have to pay for a background check.
The free trial option is an excellent solution, but there are also ways to examine records manually at little to no cost.
Because a rental background check examine several areas of a person’s life, each screening yields different results depending on the source. But, keep in mind that some of the do-it-yourself options do come with small fees.1
How To Do a Rental Background Check on Yourself in 5 Steps
Getting ahead of the rental application process, and make sure that there are no errors or problems with your background check, the following steps can be used to run a ‘free background check on myself.’
Step 1. Run a Free Rental Background Check on Myself Using an Agency
One of the most effective ways to see a rental background check on yourself is to sign up for a membership with a reputable background check agency. Many offer trial programs or very low cost one-time background check reports.Simply sign up, enter your information and view the same reports that a rental company will see.
In addition to property loan qualifications, many residential leases have credit and earnings stipulations. A person can use the yearly credit report provided by federal law to check their credit and address any rough spots before applying to ensure they qualify for the property they desire.
Before getting started, it’s also a good idea to have income statements ready, either previous taxes or at least 6 months of bank statements showing income.
To acquire a lease, be prepared to show proof of employment, rental record, recommendations, and credit.1
Step 2. Obtain a Credit Report
Every 12 months, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, must provide a free credit report to each resident, according to U.S. law. Visit AnnualCreditReport to make the request.
Order all three reports at once or one at a time, and since these are totally free, it’s a good idea to request each one.
A person can keep track of their credit report all year by obtaining the reports separately. They can still order further reports after obtaining their free yearly credit report. A credit reporting agency is only required to charge $13.50 for credit history by law.
Make sure to double-check each report. If there are any inaccuracies or discrepancies, it’s best to fix those before the rental background check is conducted.
Step 3. Make a List of References and Income
Before getting started, make sure that the list of references is complete and contact each one before adding that reference to a rental application and ask permissions to include that person as a reference.
A simple phone call can assist in recalling someone of their beautiful experiences with the person and encourage them to talk positively about the person.
Also be sure to have all proof of income ready.
Step 4. Check Your Rental History (Eviction and Court Records)
In this step, make sure to contact the property manager or landlord of the current residence, then go online and examine any court records involving any past evictions.
Applicants can also inquire of their current landlord if they will disclose your property payment records to the RentBureau. The date the lease began, the monthly mortgage amount, and the payment record for the previous 25 months will all show in the “accounts” area of the Experian credit file.
If the previous rental history isn’t recorded on a service and reported to a credit bureau, that’s okay. Applicants can also use bank statements to show consistent rental history.
Also, make sure that there are no eviction records on file for the past 10 years. Do this by searching court records using the state court system.
- Use a web browser to search “court records [your state]”
- Look through the tools and menu options for “find court records” or “lookup cases”
- Follow the disclaimer and steps outlined to search court records using the applicant’s full name.
Related Reading: Does an Eviction Go on Your Record?
Step 5. Conduct a Criminal History Check
Step 1 – Navigate to the state police website (for a local search) or the FBI Services page to do a national criminal background check.
The FBI offers an Identity History Summary tool that allows users to obtain their “RAP” sheet, based on their fingerprints.
The service is very detailed and takes time, usually 2-4 weeks to process. So, many applicants simply search the local state jurisdiction.
To obtain a criminal history:
Use a web browser to navigate to “Criminal History [Your State]” NOTE: Make sure to choose a URL that includes the “.gov” domain.
Look through the menu tools for “background checks” or “criminal history reports” or “criminal history records.”
Follow the links and instructions for obtaining a personal criminal history report.
There is usually a small fee associated with this step, but it can save time and money by doing this beforehand, in case a data entry error accidentally shows criminal charges or convictions.
Moreover, this report will provide the dates of any crimes committed, so that applicants can know whether they need to look for felon friendly apartments or if they should choose a different residency option.
Related Reading: How to check if you have an indictment
Step 2 – Update Your Personal Record.
Individuals can use their criminal history reports to check, amend, or revise their data under federal law, however, most apartment background checks won’t be a level 2 background check with fingerprints. Usually at most, the national check will be the sex offender registry.
One thing to consider is that there are some no criminal background check apartments. These can be found by reaching out to the state’s housing department.
Many regions, notably California, provide free public documents queries, including court documents. After establishing their existence and depositing a $25 handling fee, one can receive a copy of their criminal history report from the California Justice dept.1
Recognize Your Tenant Rights
Under federal law, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against occupants based on color, race, color, religion, national origin, handicap, disability, familial status, or sex. If one believes they have been prejudiced against while searching for flats, they can submit a property discrimination claim with their region’s Employment and Housing Communication Center.1
How Long Does Rental Background Check Take?
How do I perform a free rental background check on myself? The complete process takes only a few days – between 48 and 72 hours in most cases.
How Extensive Is a Background Check? (What Is Checked On Rental Backgrounds?)
Landlords have various rights in various states, but there are some common factors that most rentals check. Here are some things the landlord might consider:
A rental history record will be included in the background investigation. This document contains an individual’s previous rental addresses and the contact details for their last renters. If one doesn’t have a rental record, it doesn’t mean they won’t be considered for the property.
In this scenario, the renter may check their recommendation, proof of work, and pay slips.
Eviction records may be seen as a red flag.
Property owners will check and confirm a person’s income; therefore, the person should make sure they work where they say they work. The renter will also see how long they’ve worked at that position when they dig into the employment history.
The owner is primarily interested that the lease will be secure. Somebody who switches employment every few months could be less likely to stay in the same residence for a year. The tenant might also offer to pay a more significant security deposit, produce their bank facts to show they have enough money saved up to pay the bills over many months, or get a friend or family member to cosign for them if necessary.2
Most renters and residential complexes prefer a credit rating of 600 or above, but it’s not always that straightforward. Even if a person’s score is low, it does not mean they will be automatically rejected.
Although one’s credit rating is essential, landlords will likely check for similarities in credit records. For instance, if one always paid their bills on time until an unforeseen occurrence such as joblessness, the owner should be able to know from the credit record and take this into account when making a decision.
Convictions aren’t the only thing that a criminal history check looks at. Non-convictions are also part of the screening.
Depending on the state, non-convictions may remain on one’s record for seven years; however, convictions are different. Most tenant background checks won’t go further than 7 years, but check with the state to ensure it.
Related Reading: Do dismissed cases show up on background checks and will probation show on a background check?
How Far Back Do Apartment Background Checks Go?
A bankruptcy can last up to ten years on the credit history, and most apartment background checks go back about 7 to 10 years. Damaging information on one’s credit file, such as skipping on credit or having a car impounded can cause a failure.
While landlords can use the credit history information to deny or approve applications, their rationale for approving a tenant5 must be uniform. They can’t hold one individual to one set of criteria while holding another to a different set of rules. This would be a violation of federal property laws. Several states have regulations regarding vetting and applications, so one should verify their state laws before applying.
Related Reading: How far back do background checks go in California?
Are There Any Free Rental Background Check Services?
Property owners can use tenant screening services to get background data on potential tenants. Typical tenant background reports are credit history, criminal background investigation, and eviction records. Based on the organization and the screening data supplied, tenant background inspection prices vary from $15 to $50, but with a free trial offer, that can be free.
Knowing how to run a free rental background check on myself can help eliminate any issues before undergoing a tenant background check.