How and Where to Get Your Personal Background Check in Colorado to Use on Rental Applications

How and Where to Get Your Personal Background Check in Colorado to Use on Rental Applications

If you live in Colorado or are about to move to Colorado, here’s how and where you can get your own personal background check to provide to landlords, rental agents, and property management companies when you are applying for a rental, instead of having to pay a criminal background check fee for each rental application that you submit.

This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars as you can attach your own individual background check to rental applications, rather than having to pay the application fee that nearly all landlords and management companies require when applying for a rental.

This is because Colorado passed a law this past year called HB23-1099 – Portable Screening Report for Residential Leases, that requires landlords to accept these reports from prospective tenants.

Here’s the relevant text of HB23-1099:

Except in certain circumstances, the act requires a landlord to accept from a prospective tenant a portable tenant screening report (screening report). A landlord may require that the screening report was prepared by a consumer reporting agency (reporting agency) within the previous 30 days, at the prospective tenant’s request and expense, and made directly available to the landlord by the agency. The act specifies information that must be included in a screening report, including verification of employment and income, rental and credit history, and criminal history. If a prospective tenant provides a screening report, the landlord shall not charge the prospective tenant either an application fee or a fee for the landlord to access or use the screening report.

Prior to collecting any tenant information that would generate an application fee, a landlord shall advise a prospective tenant that the landlord accepts screening reports and is prohibited from charging an application fee or other fee to a prospective tenant who provides a screening report

It’s important to note a few things from the law:

– The landlord may require that the report be no more than 30 days old

– The landlord may require that the report come directly from the agency

– The report must include verification of employment and income, rental and credit history, and criminal history (these are all things, of course, which a report ordered by the prospective landlord would also include)

Where to Get Your Personal Background Check to Provide When Renting in Colorado

First, we need to say (and as Colorado Public Radio found out, there are virtually no agencies which provide everything required by the law BUT read on! This is only because most do not provide employment history, and this is something you can readily get by asking your current employer for a letter (or, if you’ve recently changed jobs, a letter from your current employer as well as your last employer). So just ask the prospective landlord if it’s ok to provide a letter from your employer along with your background check.

Another thing that Colorado Public Radio accurately noted is that generally speaking they don’t provide local criminal convictions, as that would include county and even city level records, which would be incredibly costly to do, which is why landlords rarely require it. As CPR notes, “the law calls for a records check for all “local” convictions, which is more intensive than what landlords typically require. Technically speaking, a landlord could require the tenant’s report to include checks of individual counties where the person has lived…”.

So in this case you may want to just submit your background check, and if the landlord actually wants to see local criminal records, let them tell you that (but it seems that very few would).

Ok, here we go!

Individual Background Check Services

ApplyConnect ApplyConnect provides individual rental background checks which include a complete credit report from Experian, and full rental and criminal history, for $39.95. ApplyConnect is the only individual tenant background check service that I found which specifically says on their site that you can “Pay for your tenant screening report to share it with up to 3 landlords (within 30 days of purchase), and see the details of your report before you decide to share.” To me this suggests that they are aware of the law, including that landlords can require that the background check be sent to them by the background check service, and that the law allows landlords to insist on the background check having been performed within 30 days.

Tenant Background Search Tenant Background Search’s $24.95 search includes a credit report, nationwide criminal records, past address history, and an “employment summary”. (It also includes things that the law doesn’t require, such as a sex offender search and Patriot Act search.)

RentPrep The RentPrep tenant background check you want is called “TransUnion Full Credit Report (SmartMove)”, it costs $40.00 with a $10 add-on for income verification.

TenantAlert TenantAlert offers several background check packages, the ones that include what is required by law (other than the employment history and local criminal records) start at $39.95.

Where to Get a Colorado Local Criminal Background Check

If your prospective landlord does want a local criminal background check you can get a local Colorado criminal background check here, from RTenant, for $20.95.

How and Where to Get Your Personal Background Check in Colorado to Use on Rental Applications