What Does A TransUnion SmartMove Report Show?

TransUnion Smartmove tenant screening helps landlords identify the best tenants for their rentals with accurate credit, criminal, and eviction reports.

When vetting new tenants it's crucial to be meticulous in your evaluation. A comprehensive tenant screening process ensures landlords can trust their next tenant to be financially responsible and to maintain the rental property well.

However, with numerous screening tools at their disposal, landlords might find it challenging to choose the most suitable one for their rental needs. 

This article aims to guide landlords through the complexities of tenant screening in the housing market, focusing on a popular screening solution offered by TransUnion.


Key Takeaways

  • The TransUnion SmartMove report includes ResidentScore®, Criminal Background Check, Credit Report, Eviction Report, Income Insights Report.
  • The credit report assesses financial responsibility and payment reliability without affecting credit scores.
  • The criminal background checks are used to ensure tenant safety and property protection while adhering to anti-discrimination laws.
  • Rental history and eviction checks evaluate tenant reliability and past rental behavior, ensuring compliance with the FCRA.

Understanding these components helps landlords make informed decisions, ultimately leading to more secure and successful tenant relationships.


The Importance of Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is not just an additional step in the rental application process; it is a critical component that ensures landlords achieve the best outcomes for their rental properties. This process protects landlords from problematic tenants, helps fill vacancies effectively, and promotes a harmonious living environment for all residents.

Without a thorough screening process, landlords are left to rely solely on gut instinct when selecting future tenants. While intuition can be useful in some situations, it cannot replace the insights provided by a detailed credit report, criminal background check, and eviction history. These tools offer landlords the necessary evidence and resources to make well-informed decisions about each applicant.

Related: The Landlord's Guide To Tenant Screening

Overview of TransUnion Tenant Screening

One of the main reports offered by tenant screening services is the TransUnion SmartMove report. This online service simplifies the process for property owners and rental applicants by providing comprehensive reports in minutes. TransUnion SmartMove ensures compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and property owners can access an applicant’s credit and criminal record information for only 30 days.

Understanding the TransUnion SmartMove Tenant Screening Process

In this section, we’ll explore the TransUnion tenant screening process and highlight the significance of comprehensive background checks for landlords.

How TransUnion SmartMove Tenant Screening Works

The TransUnion screening process is straightforward and fully online. You can purchase the report direct from the TransUnion site or you can leverage a software like Landlord Studio.

Running a screening report with Landlord Studio is easy and free for landlords. Start by signing up for a free account and adding your property details. You can then invite your applicant to fill out the screening report by clicking Run Screening Report.

Once the applicant completes the screening and consents to the release of their credit and criminal record information, you'll receive the requested reports in less than 30 minutes. Simply log back in to the Landlord Studio app to view the report.

Create your free account today. Create a rental listing, screen tenants, collect rent manage maintenance and track your finances - all in one place.

How Long Does a TransUnion Tenant Screening Report Take?

The completion time depends on when the applicant confirms their application and finishes the identity authentication process. After the applicant completes these steps, TransUnion SmartMove delivers the requested screening reports within minutes.

What’s Included in a TransUnion SmartMove Report?

A TransUnion SmartMove report provides several crucial pieces of information, including:

  • ResidentScore®: A proprietary score designed to predict evictions more effectively than traditional credit scores.
  • Criminal Background Check: Details of any criminal history.
  • Credit Report: Includes a ResidentScore®, social security number verification, credit history, and previous employment data.
  • Eviction Report: Information on any past evictions.
  • Income Insights Report: Verifies a prospective tenant’s self-reported income using TransUnion’s proprietary model.

Depending on the selected package, you can receive all or some of these reports.

Unique Features of TransUnion SmartMove

One unique feature of TransUnion SmartMove is the ResidentScore®, which ranges from 350 to 850 and is designed to predict the likelihood of evictions. This score factors in payment history, credit utilization, credit history, credit availability, and inquiries, making it a more targeted tool for rental screening than a traditional credit score.

Interpreting the TransUnion Tenant Screening Report

With the wealth of information in a SmartMove report, it can be challenging to know where to begin or how to interpret the data. Below, we take a closer look at the different elements of the TransUnion tenant screening report and what each means.

Understanding Credit Reports

TransUnion presents credit insights in an easy-to-read format. Importantly, this involves a soft inquiry, which does not affect an individual’s credit score. These credit reports review an applicant’s credit history, providing landlords with a clearer picture of their financial responsibility and ability to pay rent on time.

By examining the credit report, landlords can gauge an applicant's financial stability. For instance, applicants with a credit score above 740 are generally more financially secure compared to those with scores below 600. Additionally, reviewing an applicant's payment history can help landlords determine their reliability in making timely rent payments.

Evaluating Criminal Background Checks

Ensuring the safety of all tenants and protecting rental property are paramount, making the evaluation of an applicant's criminal record crucial. TransUnion SmartMove conducts comprehensive background checks, scanning millions of criminal records, including the FBI’s Most Wanted list, sex offender registries, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

These background checks help landlords avoid renting to individuals who may pose a risk, such as those with a history of property damage or other concerning behaviors. However, landlords must be aware of federal and state laws that prevent discrimination based on criminal records. For example, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits blanket bans on renting to individuals with a criminal record and restricts the consideration of certain types of criminal history.

Reviewing Previous Rental Experiences

A tenant’s previous rental history and eviction checks are critical components of the screening process. In compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), TransUnion SmartMove accesses eviction databases to gather information on judgments for possession and money, unlawful detainers, and small claims judgments.

By reviewing an applicant's rental history, landlords can assess their reliability and identify any potential concerns about their behavior as tenants. It is important to ensure that any eviction-related information used in the evaluation complies with the FCRA to avoid discriminatory practices.

Limitations of the TransUnion SmartMove Report

Even the most reliable tenant screening services can have limitations, and it's in every landlord's best interest to meticulously review the information in these reports. Since TransUnion SmartMove relies on the applicant to initiate the process, delays or cancellations can occur if the applicant does not promptly complete their part.

Possible Report Errors

One advantage of TransUnion SmartMove is the speed of report delivery. However, this rapid turnaround can sometimes lead to inaccuracies or errors in the data. 

If an applicant raises concerns about inaccuracies in their credit or criminal records, landlords may need to conduct additional screening or use another third-party tool to ensure they have a complete and accurate understanding of the prospective tenant.

Tenant Privacy

TransUnion SmartMove requires applicants to give permission for their reports to be generated, which can raise privacy concerns. If an applicant is uncomfortable with the level of information shared with the landlord, they may choose not to proceed with the application. If an applicant declines to authorize the release of their credit and criminal records, the screening process is halted, and the application is canceled without any charges to either party.

Finding the Right Tenant Screening Solution for You

The TransUnion SmartMove report offers landlords a thorough overview of each applicant, covering credit and payment history, criminal records, and rental history. It is an effective and affordable screening tool. 

The easiest way to get a TransUnion SmartMove tenant screening report is by using property management software like Landlord Studio.

With Landlord Studio you can streamline the entire tenant selection process. Create a free rental listing and syndicate it to top channels with a click. Collect leads and applications and quickly run a tenant screening report on top applicants - all in one place. The report is free for landlords. 

Plus, track leases, store documents, collect rent online, manage maintenance requests, and use our powerful rental accounting tools to stay on top of your finances and make tax time easy.

Find the best tenants fast and increase your portfolio ROI with tools designed for you.

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TransUnion SmartMove Tenant Screening FAQs

Is SmartMove a hard pull or soft pull?

A TransUnion SmartMove® report results in a soft inquiry on the applicant's credit history, which has no effect on the tenant’s overall credit score.

How long does TransUnion SmartMove take?

Once the tenant has submitted and paid for the tenant screening report it is delivered within minutes. If you’re using Landlord Studio the report can be accessed through the app and you’ll receive an email notifying you when the report is ready.  

What background check do most landlords use?

With Landlord Studio, a rental background check typically includes three main reports: a credit report, a criminal history report, and an eviction history report. The credit report, provided by TransUnion, allows landlords to review the applicant's credit score, credit utilization, payment history, and account summaries.

How much does it cost to run a credit check?

A credit check can costs anywhere between $20 - $75 depending on the information you request, with the average fee between $40 to $50. This fee will normally be paid to the tenant screening service used (such as Landlord Studio) or direct to one of the major three credit bureaus. Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.