Tenant Screening during COVID-19 pandemic is being provided with little to no interruption in services. As we adapt our work and personal lives to protect ourselves from COVID-19, some processes are changing in order to complete a background screening.
Transactions begun prior to the pandemic are still moving forward and new transactions are being completed. Parties to the transactions may need background checks to complete a buyer or renter application in order to comply with bylaws of homeowner associations or property management requirements. So the need for screenings has not changed.
If your business has been approved to receive credit reports, nothing more needs to be done. The credit bureaus are providing credit reports and background screening agencies are providing those reports to their clients.
On-Site Inspection prior to COVID-19
To receive full consumer credit reports with credit scores directly, property managers, HOA/Condo and landlords need to complete an on-site inspection. The On-Site Inspection is required by the major credit bureaus in keeping with the regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) under the Federal Trade Commission. The on-site inspection is a physical inspection of the office for the entity requiring credit reports.
On-Site Inspection during COVID-19
The good news is the major credit bureaus along with the inspection companies are addressing the issue quickly. As of today, 4/2/2020, TransUnion has approved inspections to be completed by video call. Transunion may require an in-person site visit once the COVID-19 situation stabilizes. Experian has approved their own version of the virtual inspection. Inspection companies are waiting for confirmation their proposed procedures will fit the criteria of Experian. Equifax has not made a determination.
Video On-Site Inspections
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the inspection companies and credit bureaus are permitting certain inspections to be completed over a video call. During the appointment, the contact customer will walk around the office with their camera, so the agent can visually verify the office set-up. The agent will make observations and ask questions in order to complete the questionnaire remotely.
Photos will be procured either by the inspection agent taking a screenshot on their device when the customer shows the object in question during the call, or by the customer capturing photos and sending the photos to the inspection agent. In this case, the inspection agent will affirm the photos reflect their observations during the call and list the photos in the final inspection report.
Status of Background Screening Databases During COVID-19
Domestic Background Checks
Domestic nationwide databases are fully functional. County courthouse searches are a mixed bag of court delays, closures and order completion via automation or online sources. Expect some delays.
International Background Checks
International searches are experiencing longer than usual turnaround times due to COVID-19. In countries where international criminal searches are not possible, global security searches are available.
Online Tenant Screening
Tenant Screening during COVID-19 is much easier using online applications. If you have not been using online applications, now is the time to transition. Online applications provide a safe, secure method for your applicants to authorize and complete their background screenings. Applycheck provides online applications and email invites. The online application link can be placed on your website or the Applycheck website. Email invites can be sent directly to the applicant thru our screening system.