Frequently Asked Questions by Landlords/Tenants
LegalScreen as a provider
What type of screenings does LegalScreen offer?
LegalScreen provides a vast variety of background screening options. Some of the most popular searches include:
• Criminal searches, at the county, state and federal level;
• National criminal databases;
• Civil records;
• Terrorist watchlist;
• Sex offender registries;
• Motor vehicle records;
• Credit history;
• And employment and education verifications.
How long does it take to get started? What is required to get up and running?
Setting up your account can take up to one business day. In order to have the account set up properly, you will need to decide on what kind of account you need – our sales team can help you with setting up your account. We will then need certain documents from you and your business to get you verified as a authorized account member allowed to access and review consumer reports.
If you require same day verification, you can call our support team who will attempt to verify your account as you wait.
Are there any fees for account set up, customer support, adverse action or any other costs?
NO! All our services are provided at no additional cost. Adverse Action options are available for employment-screening packages in order to keep you compliant at all times.
If you have any questions about the application process, feel free to contact our LegalScreen Application Team via phone, email or our interactive live chat.
How do I use my LegalScreen account?
Our accounts are secure and simple to use web portals where you can manage orders and view your reports. To set up an account we just need your business information and 5 minutes of your time. On your dashboard you can pick searches and packages you would like to choose for your applicants/employees/or tenants.
Can I order à la carte screenings?
Yes, we offer a range of screenings services through packages and add-ons however, if our packages do not suit your needs and you would like to have a custom package/order made for you, you can contact us via our Customized Quote page.
How do I order screening services and what do I need?
Very easy, simply chose a package you want via the web portal and provide us with your applicant’s name, email and phone number! – WE DO THE REST!
Background Check and Compliance
What is a Consumer Report?
A consumer report may contain information about a person’s credit characteristics, rental history, or criminal history. Consumer reports are prepared by a consumer reporting agency such as LegalScreen — a business that assembles such reports for other businesses—and are covered by the FCRA. Examples of these reports include:
• A report from a tenant screening service that describes the applicant’s rental history based on reports from previous landlords or housing court records;
• A report from a reference checking service that contacts previous landlords or other parties listed on the rental application on behalf of the rental property owner;
• A report from a tenant screening service that describes the applicant’s rental history, and also includes a credit report the service got from a credit bureau;
• A credit report from a credit bureau, such as Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax or an affiliate company; and
• A report from a background check company about an applicant or tenant’s criminal history.
What obligations do landlords and lending companies have when running background checks?
As your background checks are established and maintained, there are a few things you should keep in mind. You need to be aware of the following obligations in order to stay compliant. These include, state and local laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Based on many factors including, the state you are situated in, there are certain limits regarding the information you can access and review via consumer reports.
We aim to help you stay compliant via LegalScreen Smart Tool incorporated into our website to automatically detect and match up your searches with state laws and requirements.
If you would like further information or advice you can contact our In-House Compliance Team via phone or email, who will be happy to answer any of your questions.
How long do background checks take?
Background searchers are never instant. In-depth background checks take about two business days however in some cases this period can be extended to up to a few weeks dependent on courts that are being searched and processing times in a given courthouse.
Where do our information come from?
LegalScreen has access to large amount of data sources not limited to, national criminal database, state sex offender registries, state DMV, the Federal Court PACER system and courthouses in all states in the United States.
What are county court and DMV pass-through fees?
Roughly 10 percent of all counties in the United States incur a record access fee. This fee is mandatory when conducting a criminal or/and civil records searches and vary by county.
DMVs in each state charge a motor vehicle records access fee. The amount charged varies by state.
If ordered as a package, LegalScreen passes through both of these fees without additional charges.
What is the adverse action process?
If you are looking to review consumer reports for your tenants, it is crucial that you follow the adverse action process if the report has partially or entirely lead to an adverse decision including but not limited to: denial of tenancy, or increasing deposit. This process is mandatory and if not done can lead to hefty fines and legal proceedings.
A pre-adverse action notice must be sent. It needs to include a written legal notice that the report has lead you to the potential adverse action and must include: • Instructions for applicant on how they can initiate a dispute;
• Instructions for the applicant on how to provide evidence of rehabilitation or any other additional information;
• A copy of the background check;
• An FCRA notice;
• And other state specific additional attachments.
If there is no response from the applicant to the following notice within a specified period of time (usually 7 days), then a final adverse notice is sent.
LegalScreen offers a one-click service at no extra charge that will instantly pull in all the required information and send it out to the applicant. Hassle free!
Can LegalScreen run background checks on minors?
No, we cannot disclose any information regarding subjects who are under 18 years of age.
How are we compliant?
LegalScreen abides by the FCRA laws in all 50 states. Our LegalScreen Smart Tool ensures we guide you through the process of background checks keeping you 100% compliant.
Can LegalScreen run background checks on individuals without a Social Security number?
For tenant screening, SSN is required but if unknown, we can report on everything but credit. We can investigate into all information without a SSN for an additional surcharge.
For employment screening we require SSN, as individuals legally need this number to work in the US. Only full Motor Vehicle Records can be obtained without SSN.