Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to be a MrLandlord.com subscriber or member or can any landlord use this service?
ANY individual landlord or manager who visits the MRLANDLORD.com website and members may use this on-line service. There are no fees to set-up your free screening account, no membership fees, no monthly minimum, nor monthly dues. We offer both “no-inpection required” screening reports and full credit reports. If you want to be able to view full credit reports of applicants, a quick site inspection and fee is required. (We help to offset almost that entire fee by providing your first two Best or Deluxe Deal credit report combos for FREE! – $60 savings).
- How fast can I start viewing my first screening reports?
WITHIN MINUTES! Once you complete the online registration for a free tenant screening account, you will immediately be able to use some of our popular screening reports. Those reports include basic ABC credit reports, nationwide double whammy eviction reports, 3 in 1 criminal reports and tenant debt reporting service to all 3 credit bureaus. Beyond those reports and services which you have immediate access, to view full credit reports, you will need to do a site inspection.
- What is a site inspection and how much is it?
This is a quick and nothing-to-fear inspection. A licensed inspector approved by the bureau will visit your home or office (wherever you primarily operate) to verify the following is present: 1. Password protected computer, filing cabinet that locks and a shredder. 2. You are not operating an unauthorized business. A site inspection which will only takes minutes can be scheduled within 24 to 48 hours.
- Your first TWO “Best Deal Credit Combos” or TWO “Deluxe Deal Combos” are free (which includes credit reports from one or TWO credit bureaus, double whammy eviction report and the 3 in 1 criminal reports). That’s up tp a $58 savings back in your pocket. So in essence, the site inspection, which costs $64 thru MrLandlord.com. only cost you $8. Others sites may charge from $75 to $99 and as much as $199 for set-up fee and on-site inspection (and do not give you any free reports in return). Some companies charge registration or monthly fees MrLandlord.com does not charge any membership or monthly fees, nor registration fees.
- Why shouldn’t I use another tenant credit check service that does not require a site inspection?
Because of tougher required guidelines by all major credit bureaus, be very leery of any tenant screening company that does not require an-on-site inspection. In almost all cases, the credit report that such companies provide you is not the actual, complete credit report. The report is most likely only some type of summary and/or recommendation based on information from the credit report. (By the way we offer the “no-inspection required” reports for those who prefer not to do an on-site inspection). However, to best judge and screen your applicants, you really need to see more than just a “recommendation”, you need to see the actual report in order to best analyze the payment history and type of payments an applicant has paid or not paid. Do not settle for just a summary or recommendation; make sure (before you pay any money) that you will get to see the actual full tenant credit reports.
When I run a credit report on an applicant, the applicant wants to know if it will result in a soft or “hard” pull or inquiry and affect his credit score?
All TransUnion tenant-screening credit checks run thru MrLandlord.com will result in a “soft” inquiry instead of a “hard” (pull) inquiry. Soft inquiries don’t affect a consumer’s credit score, which means applicants can now apply to your property and be screened by you without a hard inquiry’s potential negative impact on their credit score.
- What if I only have one or two vacancies a year, is there a cheaper alternative?
You may find an individual or company that does not charge for a site inspection BUT charges you a higher price per report, perhaps $25 or more per credit report. Let’s take a look at your potential expense. With just ONE vacancy during the year, let’s say you only have to screen two potential couples. That’s a total of four reports (one per adult). If you pay an individual or company who does not charge any inspection fee, but $25 per report, you have spent $100 (4 x $25, assuming you don’t have to request any more reports). If you used the MrLandlord.com service, you pay: $64 (one-time) for the on-site inspection. Your first two credit reports are free and you pay for the second two, $9.95 each. Your total expense is $84. Not only did you actually spend $16 dollars less with MrLandlord.com than the $100 spend on 4 credit reports with another company, but you start to come out way ahead if you have to do any more credit reports. And if you really don’t want to pay for an on-site inspection because you may only have one vacancy for the year, you still have the option of requesting our “no-inspection required” ABC credit report.
- The benefits are even greater when using MrLandlord.com compared with using an individual or company that does not provide on-line service. For services not online you are simply asking for frustrations. Trust me, you surely do not want to be dependent on individuals or companies that fax or email you the reports or you have to call when needed. Now you have to play the waiting game, an hour or two (or longer) for their response, or hope they are “open” to assist you when you need a report run immediately so you can get back quickly with an applicant. With MrLandlord.com, you will have the ability to run instant credit reports after business hours, weekends and on holidays, whenever you need it!
- What’s the advantage of using MrLandlord.com’s Credit Check service over programs like Smartmove (who advertise no on-site inspection required)? The biggest advantage is that you, the landlord, STAY IN CONTROL during the screening process. SmartMove was designed as a consumer (applicant) initiated website. By using such a service, sure it helps landlords avoid having to pay the nominal inspection fee, BUT it gives control of whether the landlord can view the credit report (and complete the screening process) over to the applicant. In addition, with Smartmove, the applicant must have an email address, access to retrieve emails and actually respond to an email request (which does not always happen). In looking at feedback from some landlords who have tried Smartmove, they sometimes mention that applicants do not have or respond back to email requests (for various reasons) to allow landlords to view their credit reports. Again, all this leaves the landlord not in control of whether they can view applicant’s credit reports. Most landlords we serve would prefer to avoid a lot of potential frustration and be in control of the screening process. Once you are set up with MrLandlord.com credit checks, you can run credit reports whenever you want and you are not dependent on whether an applicant has an email and/or whether he or she responds to email requests during the screening process. And don’t be persuaded by the line “No Costs to the landlord”. If you are accepting application fees, there’s no cost to you, because the application fees cover the costs of credit reports.
- Once my service account is set up, will I have to go through the sign-up process each time I want another tenant credit report?
No, for one of the major credit bureaus, which provides the credit reports, this is a one-time process. Once your account is setup and user name and password assigned, you will be able to request instant online tenant reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Why do some landlords choose to request the “No-Inspection required” ABC report?
Sometimes when landlords first hear about our screening services, they want to run reports immediately because they need to screen an applicant right away. So while they are waiting to complete process to view full credit reports, they request the ABC report. Even though we highly recommend landlords be able to see the full credit report (which provides lots of help information beyond the credit score), a few landlords simply do not want to do an on-site inspection and are happy with the option of receiving basic credit reporting information, which we call the ABC Report. The ABC Report is based on credit score and a few other factors found on the credit report. The criteria will dictate the results of the ABC report and give you, the landlord/manager, a letter grade between A and F for each applicant. As previously noted, you receive the ABC report, not the actual credit report, which is why the site inspection is not required.
- Do you offer credit reports from more than one major credit bureau?
Yes. In fact during the first year after signing up for the service, you may select from one of two major credit bureaus when requesting a tenant credit report or request a deluxe credit report package which includes credit reports from TWO major credit bureaus to increase the odds that you are best informed of negative credit findings of applicants.
- Can I charge the prospective resident an application fee to cover the credit report?
That is the normal practice for most landlords. They charge each applicant a screening, application or processing fee to more than cover the cost of the credit report.
- Do I have to use the sample rental application available on MrLandlord.com to get a credit report or can I use my own?
We recommend the sample rental application available on MrLandlord.com because of numerous positive results by many of our visitors and because it includes statements that will grant you permission needed to run a credit and background check, plus employment verification, criminal history and more. The sample application also will help you identify many factors why an applicant is or is not acceptable as a qualified resident. However, if you have a rental application that contains the required statements granting permission to run a credit report and you prefer to use your own, you are free to do so. If you are a new landlord and need a sample application, click here.
- How long has the credit check service been providing credit reports to rental owners?
The Tenant Screening Service has provided credit report services to landlords nationwide for over 30 years.
- What if a credit report I receive on an applicant has negative information, and I choose not to rent to him or her?
You will need to send or give the applicant a Denial Notice and keep a copy in your file to document why you are denying the applicant. This is extremely important for full compliance with Fair Housing Laws. Also, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you a required to notify a denied applicant in writing. You are also required to provide certain information to each denied applied applicant. Click here for a sample denial letter. If you accept the applicant, Click herefor a sample approval letter.
- What if my applicant wants to know what the report says and disagrees with what is on it?
A denied applicant may within 60 days of the date of the report, request a copy of the rental report. Where to request the report should be on the denial notice you give. Upon receiving this report they have the right to submit a 100-word statement regarding any disputed information.
- How is the SCORE determined on the Tenant Credit Reports?
The FICO SCORE is a number that is calculated through credit reporting agencies using formulas developed by Fair, Isaac & Company. The score will appear on your credit report as “Isaac Risk Score”. A mathematical formula is used that evaluates many types of information on the credit report by that agency (i.e., Payment history, amount owed, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit in use, etc.) The score is determined by comparing the applicants information to the patterns in millions of past credit reports. This score serves as an objective standard that can be applied equally to all applicants to help you in selecting a resident that will pay all their debts to you. Using the objective FICO score as part of your screening process also shows that you are attempting to follow Fair Housing guidelines and not illegally discriminate. This is an important safeguard.
- How do I use or interpret the SCORE on the credit report? Is the report easy to understand?
Yes, the report is provided in a very easy to read format. The FICO scores for each applicant will range from 300 to 900. The lower the score the higher the risk. If a resident has a low a score, you may want to require a higher security deposit (within state limits) or a cosigner. The higher the score, the more likely an applicant will NOT have money problems. Use this number to compare the scores of different applicants. You may also wish to set a certain score as the minimal acceptable score for your selection criteria. For example, many lenders set cutoff points — 700 or above, for example — as the minimum scores they will accept for their most attractive low-interest loans. Remember, however the FICO score is just one factor in the selection criteria, so be sure to read and review the complete report. And if you need help the first time, the customer service will be glad to assist you by phone six days a week. 1-888-294-4640
- Why is it recommended that I get an eviction report along with a credit report?
The eviction reports are a great tool for discovering if prospective residents have been served and sued by previous landlords for not paying their rent, information that most often does NOT show up on credit reports. Therefore, if you’re relying only on the credit report to make your screening decision, you may be missing vital eviction information to identify potential deadbeats. Did you know that a major study discovered that most major sources which provides eviction reports most often only finds 50% of the evictions connected with applicants? This means, if you only get the results from one eviction source provider, (which is all that most tenant screening services offer), you will probably miss half the eviction cases on any of your applicants. It is therefore highly recommended that you obtain eviction reports from TWO sources to increase chances you get more complete eviction history. And that is what you get (Two Eviction Reports for the price of one) when you request the double whammy eviction reports from offered on MrLandlord.com. And industry first!
- What do others landlords have to say about the service?
To read reviews and comments by other website visitors who are already using the service, click here.
- Do I need special software or equipment to access the credit reports?
No, the only thing you will need to run credit reports at MrLandlord.com is Internet access. There is no special software to download nor any special apps or hardware to buy. Just use any computer with internet access from the convenience of your home or office 24/7
- If I still have questions about using the credit check service or need assistance in getting started, is there a phone number I can call?
Yes. Call toll-free, 1-888-294-4640, Monday thru Friday between 9am and 9pm pacific time and Saturday between 10am and 5pm pacific.
- Is there any other services offered through the Credit Check services that I should be aware of?
Along with criminal reports, there is one extremely valuable and low cost service that you should be aware of that will be of help if a former resident leaves owing you money. You can report any resident debts to all three major credit bureaus right through the website for only $12.95.
- My tenant moved out two years ago, may I still report him or her to the credit bureaus?
- Yes you may report this previous tenant, if you document what you are owed. Past due resident accounts may stay reported to the credit bureaus for up to seven years. You may use the service through our site for up to four years back to report a resident’s debt.
- How long after I report the tenant’s debt before it will show up?
Because the tenant must first be sent a warning letter, with the opportunity to pay the debt to you, the landlord, or given at least 30 days to dispute the debt, it may take anywhere from up to 60 to 90 days before the debt shows up on their credit report. Please note: If the tenant makes payment to you, after you finish celebrating (or get over the shock), you will need to notify the service that payment was made.
Let’s do it. How do I sign up and get my free username and password so that I will be able to receive quick, low-cost, tenant credit reports and/or eviction reports or report resident debts on line through this web site?
Hit the next CLICK!!
CLICK HERE if you wish now to sign up for your free tenant screening account so that you can request a tenant credit report, eviction report, criminal report, or to report former tenants (who left owing you money) to all three major credit bureaus
Click on additional questions below that you are interested in seeing a previous discussion by landlords on our Q&A Forum:
After watching a bunch of episodes of “Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away” and “Nightmare Tenants,Slum Landlords”, I feel compelled to tighten up my screening. I think I am finally going to complete and register the paperwork to access Mrlandlord online credit checks. Would appreciate any thoughts on this.
The company that we have been doing credit checks with just informed us that they have stopped this service. Who do you use?
I just signed up for Mr Landlord’s tenant screening service. They have a lot of options and reports available. I wanted to know what kind of reports do most people get…?
My question is does anyone use the credit, background, and past eviction check site listed at the top of this site?
Do you have a requirement on max Credit Used from a credit report?
What is the lowest score you accept?
How do you report to Credit Agencies if a tenant left owing money?
Again, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please call toll-free 1-888-294-4640, between 9am and 8pm pacific, Monday-Friday, and Saturday, 10am to 5pm pacific.