3 Signs you Aren’t Getting Accurate Tenant Screening

Determining if your tenant screening provider has quality criminal and eviction data is essential if you want to maintain a standard when accepting applicants. With faulty or subpar data, you leave your community open to potential threats, which can include extensive damages, lawsuits, fines, and a loss in reputation. To discern if you need to shop for a new resident screening provider, check if your current provider is showing these 3 red flags.

  1. The Scope of the Eviction & Criminal Scan is Small or Limited

When screening an applicant you want their eviction and criminal history to derive from a large and reputable database. You want to see if your applicant has any eviction or criminal records nationwide, not just from a few states. By choosing a data provider that takes their eviction history straight from landlord-tenant court records, utilizing databases that cover records nationwide, you ensure that your application process draws from quality data.

Don’t forget about the quality of your criminal data! In addition to having a criminal database that scans nationwide, you want your provider to scan local databases from multiple reputable sources as well. Be wary of screening providers that obtain their criminal records from only a few sources. By scanning multiple databases, you’ll be able to see important information, like if your applicant has any jail or prison records, wants and warrants, are on the sex offender registry or are wanted on the terrorist watch list (also known as OFAC).

  1. Poor Security Measures

With any data provider, it’s vital that their information is secure and that their technology is up-to-date. You don’t want any of your applicants’ or residents’ personal information on an unsecured, outdated computer waiting to get hacked. If your current data provider doesn’t require that you to access reports through a secure web connection or that you follow specific security procedures, then that’s a big red flag. Data security should be a priority to your tenant screening provider, and they should work with you to deliver customized solutions to meet your company’s security needs and standards.

Your screening company should be using a 3rd party Qualified Security Assessor which annually reviews the company’s physical and computer infrastructure. CIC™ is EI3PA Level 1 certified, similar to PCI compliance that credit card processing companies abide by.

  1. Low Accuracy Rate

Unfortunately, it can be pretty tricky to figure out if your current provider’s data is accurate. When shopping for a new tenant screening provider, the best way to find out is to ask (we’ll prove it to you). They should be able to show you how their matching algorithm successfully identifies your applicant (with a SSN, previous address history, date of birth,  etc.), if their criminal record search also identifies and factors in aliases, and the initiatives they’ve taken to minimize false positives and maximize the numbers of real criminal hits. At CIC™, for example, we update our criminal and eviction records every 24 hours to provide the highest possible accuracy.


While data quality isn’t the only factor you consider when shopping for a new resident screening provider (you can also see if a provider will integrate into your property management software), things like price, experience, speed, etc. are also important, it’s essential if you want to accept high-quality residents into your community. Without quality data, you completely undermine the purpose of tenant screening and risk accepting applicants who do not pass your property’s standards and pose a threat to your community. In order to protect yourself, your residents, and your property, you should expect your background screening provider to utilize excellent databases (like from the over 36 million criminal records at CIC™), uphold high security standards, and actively seek a high accuracy rate. Anything below that standard is a waste of money.

If you’re interested in wholesale eviction and criminal data for the multifamily housing market, visit http://www.cicdata.us/ for more information. To find the right tenant screening solution for you, go to https://www.cicreports.com/ for a free consultation.


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Becky Bower is the Content Strategist here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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