Best way to do background check on self
December 7, 2019 1:45 PM   Subscribe

As part of applying to rent an apartment, they are running a background check on me. What is the best program to use to check myself? I realize I will have to pay for a decent one and I know there are several options.

Some background info, not sure if relevant:

I don't imagine the BC will detect anything serious - my credit is decent/good and I've never been convicted of a felony. However, I was "cited" and detained for civil disobedience at an anti-trump protest in 2016, so I'm curious what that will look like if it turns up. (No court date or punishment beyond a small fine and a few hours at the precinct).

Insights appreciated!
posted by CancerSucks to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
My initial feeling is that you might be over-reacting? First time renting a place (from a private individual instead of a management company)? But yeah, it can be scary the first time around.

The "background check" is mostly pro forma, sometimes they'll call your previous landlord to verify that you are who you are and that you (mostly) paid your rent on time.

I've put down references on rental applications who were never contacted - but yet I won out against 20 other applicants.

Unless you have an activate warrant against the name that you're submitting, this is nothing. If they ask for money to do it, that's a different scam.

Never pay to apply to rent a place.
posted by porpoise at 7:24 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm a private landlord and when tenants apply to rent from me they pay a background check vendor directly, and the vendor sends me results. It's not "pro forma"...I look for criminal history, prior eviction, any involvement in a civil lawsuit, and I look at the credit report. I have also verified SSN/government ID and employment through The Work Number (another vendor). People often give "references" which are their friends and family so I tend to ignore those and contact employers or old property managers directly.

Lately I use TransUnion SmartMove, they seem to work well. You can probably pay the same amount to run yourself ($15-25). Your state also probably has a statewide criminal records office and you can run yourself if you pay a fee. In Colorado for example it's $5.00 for arrest/criminal history or lack thereof online.

I would not care about a civil disobedience charge or a citation, if that's the only thing that comes up for you.
posted by zdravo at 9:14 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Re the above: Never pay to apply to rent a place

This is terrible advice depending on market where you are applying and the competitiveness of the rental market. Here, background checks are standard with the collection fee between 25 and 50 dollars to do it. Yeah, some landlords don't run it but most do charge it. Its just a part of the process here ( I use to work at a non profit that handles rent subsidies, we did handle and pay for rental applications and/or lump application fee in with first months rent).

I wouldn't worry about it, a landlord who won't accept you for it won't accept you for it. Some landlords will deny for any arrest, some will deny for fuzzy reasons that have everything to do with them. Some won't care at all. Some will pocket the money and never run the check. Here you can request to see the background check with the denial somehow, but I'm sure that's a local thing.

You can do a public records search through your state/county most likely for something recent such as 2016. That can be free and what the background check companies will be pulling the records from. That's the stuff that's going to show up easily on a background check. It's likely going to appear identically to the wording used from your public records.
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:36 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


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