You’ve had no success selling your home. Now, you’re exploring renting it. When it comes to leasing your property, these days you can’t rely on how the potential tenant presents him or herself. Neither can you trust your intuition. In other words, it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover. Looks deceive. Whether the person is impeccably dressed or appears homeless, what really counts is the data that shows up on his or her residential screening report.

What is a residential screening report?

A residential screening report is more than a credit report. It provides you with powerful, comprehensive information about your applicant’s rental history, including the most up-to-date eviction filings, which are obtained daily from local court records, tenant performance/lease violations as reported by other landlords, social security number misuse, current and previous landlord identification, and a terrorist search. It also screens for additional alias names and states where the individual has lived.

How do I obtain a residential screening report?

You have a variety of ways to obtain a residential screening report online, including running it through one of the three credit reporting services; however, the most comprehensive tool can be found on National Tenant Network (NTN), because it has a local office that helps its clients interpret the reports and the NTN staff can cross reference information between reports for you. Also, be sure to check your potential tenant’s retail credit history and conduct a criminal background check.

This may seem like a lot of work; however, if you avoid doing your homework, you’ll either miss out on an outstanding tenant or find yourself going to court and filing eviction papers sooner than later. Prevent high risk. Protect your asset. Minimize daily management problems. You can’t put a price on the time and grief you’ll save by running a residential screening report. It’s priceless.

John Spafford owns the Indianapolis regional National Tenant Network (NTN) office, which focuses on helping property owners and managers make the best leasing decisions possible. For more information, contact John at 317 579-3520 or email him at