Needing Help With Rental Screening Red Flags

Identifying and understanding red flags in rental screening reports can be bewildering without assistance.

A history of bad customer service

Not having help understanding red flags in a tenant screening report can result in major problems.

Several years ago, I penned a blog post How’s this for customer service? It focused on the glaring lack of customer service at Zillow. The only means of communication was a web form on their site. It took over a week to receive an email response. Here’s the response I received from Zillow regarding a query about their rental application program:

“Since you submitted your original request a week ago, it’s likely that you’ve moved on or that you were able to self-resolve your issue. If you still need assistance, simply reply back to this email and we will be happy to help you.”

A critical need for assistance

Recently, an agent who had been using TenantMagic for nearly a decade switched brokerages. Her new company used Zillow and their rental application program. She received a completed application and background report that raised several questions about the authenticity of the applicant’s data, especially when compared with the information provided in the Zillow background report. While the reports initially seemed satisfactory, a closer examination revealed some potential red flags.

Despite no longer using TenantMagic, she asked if I could review the reports with her to help make sense of them. She tried to contact someone at Zillow for assistance, but to no avail.

Taking a deeper dive

We spent about 30 minutes reviewing the reports and concluded that the applicant had provided fraudulent information. This individual, in their early 30s, claimed to have a substantial monthly W2 income but lacked any credit history. Further investigation revealed that the phone numbers for the employer and previous landlord were not in service.

Key takeaways

  • Even with a reputable screening program, an applicant can potentially provide fraudulent information.
  • Without proper assistance, a landlord or agent could make a serious error in accepting a tenant based on a seemingly valid report.
  • It’s crucial for your screening program provider to offer live customer service agents to help you fully comprehend the screening reports you receive.

You can use TenantMagic with Zillow

You can use the TenantMagic screening program with your Zillow listings.

Applicants interested in your property can message you from the Zillow listing that they are interested in the property. They can also let you know they would like more information or schedule a tour of the property. TenantMagic provides you with link to your application that can be sent in the reply. Simply instruct the applicant to click on the link in the email to apply. Both you and the applicant now have access to live phone customer service.

About TenantMagic

TenantMagic provides online rental applications with the most comprehensive tenant screening reports available (credit, criminal, sex offender, and eviction) to property managers and owners.TenantMagic is free to owners and managers – applicants pay the fee.

Live customer service is available by phone 7 days a week.

Feel free to contact me or register at