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What Are Smart Background Checks and How Can Landlords Take Advantage of Them?

smart background checks

You know that there are a ton of expenses that come with renting out your property. The last thing you want to deal with is evicting a tenant for breaching the lease. That’s why solid tenant screening tools are critical.

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of smart background checks, you’re missing out on great tools to screen potential tenants. What are smart background checks, though, and how can they help you weed out bad tenants?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about them, including whether potential tenants can opt out of a smart background check. Read on to learn all about smart background checks!

What are Smart Background Checks?

Smart Background Checks are run by an online data broker that retains and distributes sensitive information about individuals online. The company sells that information to any individual who asks for it, but they have also sold information for advertising or data in order to net a profit. 

The company that runs Smart Background Check has a database with nearly a billion records pulled from around 2,000 sources. All you need to run a Smart Background Check is a name or cell phone number.

In return, you’ll receive information about an individual’s location history, employment history, and whether they have any public records or aliases.

Benefits of Smart Background Checks for Landlords

As a landlord, you know that you need to post ads in order to generate interest in your property. Unfortunately, those ads also come with a lot of wasted time when people who aren’t serious or qualified inquire.

One of the biggest benefits of Smart Background Checks for landlords is that you can screen people before they ever come in to see the property. 

You don’t have to stop contact with potential tenants based on the results of your background check. It can help you steer conversations, however. Lead with information about how to qualify for the apartment, and ask if they meet that criteria before they see the property.

How Can Landlords Take Advantage of Them?

All you need to utilize Smart Background Checks is to navigate to the Smart Background Checks website. The website consists of a simple form that allows you to put in as little or as much information as you have. You can put in the person’s full name, phone number, or address, and then select search. 

After you hit search, it’ll take you to a listing of results, the majority of which contain free background reports. You’ll select the person you’re searching for, and you’ll have access to a host of information about them. 

Why Should Landlords Use Them?

One of the biggest reasons landlords should consider using Smart Background Checks is because it’s one of the only types of background checks that won’t cost you a dime. In fact, they can actually help you save money in the long term.


They’re a great way to pre-screen tenants to determine whether you want to spend time on them. Imagine if you received a phone call or email from a potential tenant, ran a Smart Background Check on them, and determined that they were unlikely to be a qualified tenant. You could use your time to work with qualified tenants, instead.

What Are the Limitations of Smart Background Checks?

The company behind Smart Background Checks collects data from a variety of sources, but they don’t do any work to verify that the data is completely accurate. Information from other people with similar names might get mixed into the results of the person you’re searching for. 

The dates are estimated, as well as the things like education and employment history. You also won’t be able to obtain information about their credit history or verify their income through Smart Background Checks. For this reason, you shouldn’t rely on Smart Background Checks to make decisions about approving tenants for rentals.

Can People Opt Out of a Smart Background Check?

In short, yes. 

Many people consider the information available on a Smart Background Check to be a security risk. After all, much of the information obtained might lead to things like identity theft if it falls into the wrong hands. For that reason, people can and do frequent opt out of Smart Background Checks. 

The owner of the service makes the opt-out process quick and straightforward to complete. Expect many of your tenants to have opted out of the service if they’re aware of it. For this reason, it’s important not to immediately discount your applicants if you aren’t able to pull up their information through the service.

What Other Ways Can Landlords Screen Tenants?

Smart Background Checks is a publicly available service that literally anyone can use. It’s a great way to get a feel for who your potential tenants are, but it won’t give you the whole picture. It also won’t give you the peace of mind that comes with using a professional tenant screening service.  

Reliable tenant screening services give you all of the information that Smart Background Checks gives you, but with more reliable results. This is primarily because tenant screening services have the consent of the tenant to check their background, giving you access to more information, including their credit report and income verification. 

You can also check to see if a tenant has been evicted in the past or has criminal charges. It’s a custom set of data created to help you determine whether a potential tenant is a good fit for your property.

Use Smart Background Checks to Find the Perfect Tenants!

Smart Background Checks are a great way to get started with the tenant screening process when you’re trying to rent out your properties. It does have its limitations, however, as a tenant can opt out of a smart background check.

Be sure to buff your screening process with additional screening tools to ensure that you find the perfect renters for your property!

Do you want to learn about more great ways you can make your life as a landlord easier? That’s what we’re here for. Contact us today to learn how we can help you! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Landlords benefit by saving time and resources, as these checks enable pre-screening of tenants, focusing efforts on qualified individuals and avoiding those unlikely to meet rental criteria.

Landlords enter information about a person on the Smart Background Checks website, such as full name, phone number, or address, to access various details about the individual, including free background reports in most cases.

They are cost-effective, being one of the few free tools available, helping landlords save money by pre-screening tenants and focusing on those more likely to qualify.

The data’s accuracy is not verified, and results may include information about others with similar names. These checks do not provide credit history or income verification, so they should not be the sole basis for rental decisions.

Yes, individuals can opt out of a smart background check. Many consider the information a security risk, leading to potential issues like identity theft. The service allows for a straightforward opt-out process, and landlords should be aware that many tenants may have opted out of the service.

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