Free Rental Background Check on Myself: Run One Now (5 Quick Steps)

Background check repair icon.Written by Background Check Repair

Background Checks | May 22, 2024

Man wonders how to run a free rental background check on myself while looking in a mirror and pointing to himself, holding keys and an suitcase with a rental background check document on the right and a felon friendly apartment building on the top left in the background.

Free Rental Background Check
Rental background check searches all public and criminal records for evictions, tenant history, charges, convictions, and civil court cases.

Running a free rental background check on myself… is it possible?


In fact, there are two ways to do it. Anyone can use a background check trial with no cost for seven days offer to immediately see everything that a potential landlord will see while reviewing a tenant’s background information

Or, by using the following four steps, running a free rental background check on myself can be done both quickly and easily.

Before applying for residency, many people want to run their own background check to see what will show up before a landlord conducts a screening, but don’t know the best way to go about it so that they don’t have to obtain background checks with fees.

The free trial option is an excellent solution, but there are also ways to examine records manually at little to no cost.

Because a rental background check examines several areas of a person’s life, each screening yields different results depending on the source. But, keep in mind that some of the do-it-yourself options do come with small fees.1

How To Do a Rental Background Check on Yourself in 5 Steps

Getting ahead of the rental application process, and making sure that there are no errors or problems with your background check, the following steps can be used to run a ‘free background check on myself.’

Step 1. Run a Free Rental Background Check on Myself Using an Agency

One of the most effective ways to see a rental background check on yourself is to sign up for a membership with a reputable background check agency. Many offer trial programs or very low-cost 1-time background review reports. Simply sign up, enter your information, and view the same reports that a rental company will see.

In addition to property loan qualifications, many residential leases have credit and earnings stipulations. A person can use the yearly credit report provided by federal law to check their credit and address any rough spots before applying to ensure they qualify for the property they desire.

Before getting started, it’s also a good idea to have income statements ready, either previous taxes or at least 6 months of bank statements showing income.

To acquire a lease, be prepared to show proof of employment, rental record, recommendations, and credit.1

Step 2. Obtain a Credit Report

Every 12 months, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, must provide a free credit report to each resident, according to U.S. law. Visit AnnualCreditReport to make the request.

Order all three reports at once or one at a time, and since these are totally free, it’s a good idea to request each one.

A person can keep track of their credit report all year by obtaining the reports separately. They can still order further reports after obtaining their free yearly credit report. A credit reporting agency is only required to charge $13.50 for credit history by law.

Make sure to double-check each report. If there are any inaccuracies or discrepancies, it’s best to fix those before the rental background check is conducted.

Step 3. Make a List of References and Income

Before getting started, make sure that the list of references is complete and contact each one before adding that reference to a rental application and ask permissions to include that person as a reference.

A simple phone call can assist in recalling someone of their beautiful experiences with the person and encourage them to talk positively about the person.

Also, be sure to have all proof of income ready.

Step 4. Check Your Rental History (Eviction and Court Records)

In this step, make sure to contact the property manager or landlord of the current residence, then go online and examine any court records involving any past evictions.

Applicants can also inquire of their current landlord if they will disclose their property payment records to the RentBureau. The date the lease began, the monthly mortgage amount, and the payment record for the previous 25 months will all show in the “accounts” area of the Experian credit file.

If the previous rental history isn’t recorded on a service and reported to a credit bureau, that’s okay. Applicants can also use bank statements to show consistent rental history.

Also, make sure that there are no eviction records on file for the past 10 years. Do this by searching court records using the state court system.

  • Use a web browser to search “court records [your state]”
  • Look through the tools and menu options for “find court records” or “lookup cases”
  • Follow the disclaimer and steps outlined to search court records using the applicant’s full name.

Step 5. Conduct a Criminal History Check

Step 1 – Navigate to the state police website (for a local search) or the FBI Services page to do a national criminal background check.

The FBI offers an Identity History Summary tool that allows users to obtain their “RAP” sheet, based on their fingerprints.

The service is very detailed and takes time, usually 2-4 weeks to process. So, many applicants simply search the local state jurisdiction.

Screenshot of FBI website with yellow arrow pointing to the menu item that says "services," which links to the form people can use to answer the question, where can I get an official background check done on myself for rental.

To obtain a criminal history:

Use a web browser to navigate to “Criminal History [Your State]” NOTE: Make sure to choose a URL that includes the “.gov” domain.

Look through the menu tools for “background checks” or “criminal history reports” or “criminal history records.”

Follow the links and instructions for obtaining a personal criminal history report.

There is usually a small fee associated with this step, but it can save time and money by doing this beforehand, in case a data entry error accidentally shows criminal charges or convictions.

Moreover, this report will provide the dates of any crimes committed, so that applicants can know whether they need to look for felon-friendly apartments or if they should choose a different residency option.

Step 2 – Update Your Personal Record.

Individuals can use their criminal history reports to check, amend, or revise their data under federal law, however, most apartment background checks won’t be a level 2 background check with fingerprints. Usually at most, the national check will be the sex offender registry.

One thing to consider is that there are some no-criminal background check apartments. These can be found by reaching out to the state’s housing department.

Many regions, notably California, provide free public documents queries, including court documents. After establishing their existence and depositing a $25 handling fee, one can receive a copy of their criminal history report from the California Justice dept.1

Recognize Your Tenant Rights

Under federal law, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against occupants based on color, race, color, religion, national origin, handicap, disability, familial status, or sex. If one believes they have been prejudiced while searching for flats, they can submit a property discrimination claim with their region’s Employment and Housing Communication Center.1

How Long Does Rental Background Check Take?

How do I perform a free rental background check on myself? The complete process takes only a few days – between 48 and 72 hours in most cases.

How Extensive Is a Background Check? (What Is Checked on Rental Backgrounds?)

Landlords have various rights in various states, but there are some common factors that most rentals check. Here are some things the landlord might consider:

Rental History

A rental history record will be included in the background investigation. This document contains an individual’s previous rental addresses and the contact details for their last renters. If one doesn’t have a rental record, it doesn’t mean they won’t be considered for the property.

In this scenario, the renter may check their recommendation, proof of work, and pay slips.

Eviction records may be seen as a red flag.

Employment History

Property owners will check and confirm a person’s income; therefore, the person should make sure they work where they say they work. The renter will also see how long they’ve worked at that position when they dig into the employment history.

The owner is primarily interested that the lease will be secure. Somebody who switches employment every few months could be less likely to stay in the same residence for a year. The tenant might also offer to pay a more significant security deposit, produce their bank facts to show they have enough money saved up to pay the bills over many months or get a friend or family member to cosign for them if necessary.2

Credit History

Most renters and residential complexes prefer a credit rating of 600 or above, but it’s not always that straightforward. Even if a person’s score is low, it does not mean they will be automatically rejected.

Although one’s credit rating is essential, landlords will likely check for similarities in credit records. For instance, if one always pays their bills on time until an unforeseen occurrence such as joblessness, the owner should be able to know from the credit record and take this into account when making a decision.

Criminal History

Convictions aren’t the only thing that a criminal history check looks at. Non-convictions are also part of the screening.

Depending on the state, non-convictions may remain on one’s record for seven years; however, convictions are different. Most tenant background checks won’t go further than 7 years but check with the state to ensure it.

How Far Back Do Apartment Background Checks Go?

A bankruptcy can last up to ten years on the credit history, and most apartment background checks go back about 7 to 10 years. Damaging information on one’s credit file, such as skipping on credit or having a car impounded can cause a failure.

While landlords can use the credit history information to deny or approve applications, their rationale for approving a tenant5 must be uniform. They can’t hold one individual to one set of criteria while holding another to a different set of rules. This would be a violation of federal property laws. Several states have regulations regarding vetting and applications, so one should verify their state laws before applying.

Federal trade commission consumer advice website screenshot dealing with tenant background checks for rental units and explaining that rental background check services can scan parts of the criminal and personal record.

Are There Any Free Rental Background Check Services?

Property owners can use tenant screening services to get background data on potential tenants. Typical tenant background reports are credit history, criminal background investigation, and eviction records. Based on the organization and the screening data supplied, tenant background inspection prices vary from $15 to $50, but with a free trial offer, that can be free.

Knowing how to run a free rental background check on myself can help eliminate any issues before undergoing a tenant background check.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rental Background Check on Myself

Can I Get a Free Rental Background Check on Myself?

If a person thinks they’ve been the victim of fraud, they may get a background investigation from companies like Intellius and TalentWise, just like a renter. Several states, such as California, provide free public document investigations, including court documents and sex offenders.3

Can I Do a Rental Background Check on Myself?

The majority of data included in vetting is accessible, but property owners frequently hire a service to acquire it for them. One can obtain the data independently if they have adequate time and energy. One can refer to the steps above.

Where Can I Get an Official Background Check Done on Myself for Rental?

A rental due diligence is a different screening method that allows property owners to look into many areas of a tenant’s prior behavior. The three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, provide the majority of the information one sees.

Where Can I Get a Background Check Done on Myself for Rental?

Like a landlord, one may get a thorough background check from companies like Intellius and TalentWise. Various states, notably California, provide free open records investigations, including court documents and child abusers.3

What Does a Background Check Show for Rental?

  • Personal Details: Which the applicant provides
  • Address
  • Income
  • Full Credit Score
  • Address History
  • Employment History
  • Tradelines
  • Collections
  • Consumer Statements
  • Inquiries
  • Public Records
  • Eviction Records
  • Criminal Records

Can I Run a Tenant Background Check on Myself?

One can obtain information if they have adequate time and focus.

How To Perform a Self-Background Check for Renters?

  •  Obtain the tenant’s written consent.
  •  Obtain information about the tenants
  • Select a reputable background check provider
  •  Determine how to cover the cost of the background check
  •  Make a plan for how to use the information ahead of time, then stick to it
  •  Understand the laws

What Do You Need To Run a Background Check for Rental in My Home?

Before doing a background investigation on a tenant, the occupant must give written authorization and acceptance. A tenant can include a part that expressly requests their consent and approval within their rental application. It is prohibited to conduct a background investigation on a tenant who is unaware that they are being investigated.

How Many Years Can a Landlord Go Back on a Background Check?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA – the federal legislation that controls tenant background investigations) enables credit and bankruptcy records to be disclosed for seven and ten years.

$10 Tenant Screening: Is This Real?

Property owners and management companies can get background information from a tenant screening agency. A tenant background investigation report might cost anything from $10 to $20 per report.4

How To Pass a Background Check for an Apartment (How To Check Rental History)?

  • Make timely payments to creditors.
  • Stay out of trouble with the law.
  • Stay away from any landlord entanglements.

What on the Tenant Credit and Background Check?

A tenant background check gives one a complete picture of the applicant, from their rental record to their criminal history.4

What Does a Rental Background Check Consist Of?

  • A national criminal background check
  • Credit report
  • Eviction history
  • Employment history


1How to Get a Credit & Background Check on Myself Before Applying for an Apartment. (2020, 17 November). Home Guides | SF Gate. <>

2Pirulis, A. (2021, 20 April). Everything You Need to Know About Apartment Background Checks. CoStar Renterverse. <>

3What is Included in a Background Check for an Apartment? | Background Check. (2022, 19 mei). Tenant Screening Center Inc. <,have%20a%20background%20check%20performed>

4The 7 Best Tenant Screening Services of 2022. (2022, 6 April). Investopedia. <,Credit%20Reporting%20Act%20(FCRA)>

5Schifferle, L. W. (2016, November 18). Renting an apartment? Be prepared for a background check. Consumer Alert. Retrieved June 06, 2022, from <>

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it