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brutus

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 

We received some disturbing news from the company we use to get credit checks on new tenants. They were saying we have to have a separate office, or the one in our home has to have a separate entrance with a sign. Must have yellow page ad, or be listed in a business directory. Must have a business name that is licensed with the state and have a federal tax employer identification number. My new wife has had 10 rental properties for about 17 years and has never had the need for a yellow page ad. She has a license in the city in which she lives,(Independence Mo) but has never heard of having a license from the state. We have an office in our home, but it does not have a separate outside entrance with a sign. We have no employees, so do not have a federal  tax employer identification number. If work is not done by us, we use licensed companies to perform work. So according to this screening company, we are not a legitimate company and can no longer get credit checks from Transunion, Experian, or Equifax.  Has anyone else heard of this new law ?  Maybe since we don't meet all the above criteria, we shouldn't have to pay income tax on our rentals ?  LOL  I wonder how many landlords in this country actually meet all the above requirements ?  If anyone has any thoughts on this subject, please let me, and all who read this know.  Thanks.

 

landlordpw

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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #2 

Hi Brutus,

 

I just joined this board and an I'm trying to catch up on posts for any valuable information I don't want to miss.  I came across yours and I'm glad that I have information to share!  I had this same problem with my old tenant screening provider and recently had to look for a new provider because I am an individual owner, not operating under a business.

 

The company I am now with, Clear Screening, doesn't require individual owners to have a business license or entity or whatever its called.  When I asked their rep why this was the case, he said it depends on the credit bureau that the screening company works with.  According to him, individual owners are AOK.  Of course, you still need to provide documentation to prove you own the property, but nothing extreme like what you've described.  If you'd like to find out more about them (I'm still new at using their system, so I don't know if I'll be much help), you can visit their website at http://www.clearscreening.com

 

Hope this helps!

samhoff

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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #3 
I used clearscreening 2 weeks ago and it was AWESOME.  No sign up fees, $9 per credit check got me just what I wanted (no, I'm not getting paid to say this).  I found out about them at this website and am very happy I did!

Sam

Lynda

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #4 

I am a private real estate investor with 8 residential rental homes. The companies I have been using over the past 8 years to run credit reports on perspective tenants, are no longer in business.  Can someone provide the name (s) of companies that are still doing this?  Thank you in advance.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #5 

Lynda,  There are a bunch of companies who still do these for individual landlords.  Just run a google of rental credit checks or landlord credit reports and you will see dozens.  Some folks use clearscreening.com as listed here.  I use mrlandlord.com.  There are many others too.  Check out the requirements for each company, some require a site inspection or yearly fee.  Also look at the sample credit report on their site.  You want a comprehensive report that shows the actual score (and not just a rating of the tenant) and shows the creditors' names, account numbers, and the 30-60-90 day payment histories.  It also should show collection items and verify current/previous addresses and employers.  Some companies allow you to get extras or throw them in for free like a statewide eviction history, a SSN verification, a background check, etc.  Watch companies that do background checks.  Not all of them will do checks for the courts in your area and not all courts are on-line in every state.  If you will have a comapny do these, check to be sure they check all the county courts in your state.  Compare several different companies in your area and see who will give you the best deal.  You may also want to check with local credit agencies in your city who may do these for you for a fee.  Or check into the local landlord associations or chapter of REIA to see if this is a service they provide for their members.

Sam

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Posts: 563
Reply with quote  #6 
I'm a brand new landlord and thank goodness for this forum!  I have learned so much, could not do it without all of you.  OhLandlord, you are priceless!  Anyway, I am just getting my forms together, checking out all the credit and background check options.

What's to stop us from just running a credit bureau online (for instance, 3 bureaus for $9.99 deal on Google) or annualcreditreport.com like the ones I run on myself annually?  I know they ask some "only you should know this" questions, which you could get from the tenant's credit info.  Are there laws that can get you in trouble for running them yourself (if you have the tenants approval to run one) vs. going thru a credit check company or clearscreen, etc.?  I'm confused.





OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #7 
There are laws that state only the person themselves should be running credit reports on the govt.'s free annual credit report.  (Just as there are warnings on the other types of sites that state you can't use them to pull your own credit reports.)  Plus you don't get FICO scores with those reports, just the reports themselves.  Not that the score is the most important, but it is a part of your criteria, isn't it?  So don't pull reports from that type of site. 

You may allow the tenant to pull his own report from your computer in front of you if you wish, but I wouldn't advise that.  And NEVER, EVER allow a tenant to bring his credit report in to you.  I can type you up a phoney one in 30 minutes that you couldn't tell from the real thing!  With the great publishing software that is out there now, these types of things are just too easy for a professional tenant to fake.  If you wish to save money, you can charge an application fee to pay for all or part of the cost.  (I've been charging $10 per adult.)  And remember, all those report fees are tax deductible too.
Sam

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Posts: 563
Reply with quote  #8 
Ok, now I know not to use the government site, thanks for that advice.

I guess where my question comes in is:

Why do people use clearscreen and companies such as this that charge a fee vs. running reports themselves?  What is the benefit?  Seems like you have to jump thru hoops when setting up accounts thru these companies, on-site inspections, etc.  Just seems like more work than sitting down at the computer and running one yourself.

Are there any landlords out there that run their own credit reportswithout using a screening company or pay extra fees, etc.?

If so, what site(s) or resources do you use?

Thanks!
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #9 

I also use clearscreening.  You need to be authorized to pull credit checks from one of the 3 credit bureaus.  (You can't just call them and run it yourself.)  So you need to go through some company to be authorized to do them.  I previously used a different company, but they also went to site inspections. While I can easily pass a site inspection since I do have an office, locked file cabinet, paper shredder, etc., it's just a nuisance to make all the arrangements for them to come out.  (On at least one occasion, they were a no-show for the inspection when scheduled!)  They also charge me a large fee for it, so I changed to a company that does no inspection.  They do have you fax them a little information to show that you have a legal reason to pull the credit checks.  But it really wasn't that difficult to do.  Once you are authorized, you can sit at your computer and pull credit checks at any time, day or night.  I can do them on a holiday weekend if need be.  Print them out right at my desk.  Sure makes it easy.  Pay the credit report fee by cc.  (The credit reports aren't free anywhere so you want to look for one who has good prices on the checks and any other service you are going to use.)  I do not use them for tenant screening though.  I do my own screening.

Sam

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Posts: 563
Reply with quote  #10 

Ok, got it straight now, thanks so much!

rg8519

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #11 

I am in Arizona and work for a Property management company. We use Wolf Investigative Network and they do run about $30.00 but we get the credit check, US criminal check,  sex offender and evictions. I know he runs reports all the time for customers that are renting their homes and are not using a property management company.


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Rg8519
JaneEyre

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks for your posts. They are really very cool, very wonderful.

[color=#F7F7F7]simulationcredit[/color]
lisochka

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #13 
I tried to call clearscreening but it says that their line is full. I can never get to a live person :-(
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #14 

Go to their website and email them.  They'll get back in touch with you.  A lot of what needs to be done with them is emailed and faxed.

Teliria

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Posts: 44
Reply with quote  #15 
Clearscreening now has another service called Smartscreening, where the tenant puts in their information and pays for it and you get the information.

The one downside I see for this is that you no longer have their ssn and dob if you need to track them down later for collections.

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