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What is a tenant screening report?

Landlords use tenant screening reports to help make decisions on possible tenants. These reports may contain information from many sources including your rental history and credit reports.

When you apply to rent a home, many landlords use a tenant screening report to help decide whether to rent to you and how much to charge for your security deposit.

A tenant screening report may consist of any or all of the following:

  • Credit reports
  • Rental history information including any eviction actions and lawsuits
  • Employment verification
  • Criminal history
  • Sex offender registries
  • National terrorist watchlist
  • A risk score or recommendation based on criteria selected by the landlord

Inaccurate or outdated information in your tenant screening or credit reports can significantly interfere with your ability to find housing. A landlord is required by federal law to let you know:

  • If a tenant screening report or credit report was used to deny you housing
  • Contact information for the company that made the report
  • Your right to dispute the information in the report and
  • Your right to a free copy of that report if you make the request within 60 days of when the landlord denies you housing.

Learn more about your rights if you’re denied housing due to your credit report.

Tenant screening reports are different than credit reports. A credit report is a statement that has information about your credit activity and current credit situation such as loan paying history and the status of your credit accounts. Learn more about credit reports.

The CFPB maintains an updated list of consumer reporting companies, including specialty consumer reporting agencies like tenant screening companies.