Free Tenant Background Check Authorization Forms – PDF

As a landlord, you need to be careful who you rent your property to. The easiest way to do this is by doing a background check on applicants. A background check on a tenant will let you know what their credit history is like and whether they have a criminal history. It helps to determine if a tenant is going to be responsible and reliable when it comes to paying their rent on time and keeping the property in good condition. You will need permission from the tenant to run a check. This is done with a Tenant Background Check Authorization Form.

What is a Credit and Background Check?

A credit check looks at your credit history, which includes any loans you may have, bankruptcies, foreclosures, late payments, and defaults. A background check will not only look at credit details, but also look at criminal and eviction records, address history, public records, employment history, and fraud indicators.

The information that a credit and check will show you depends on the service provider you choose to run the reports, so be sure to ask for a list of what you will be confirmed by the service provider you select.

What is a Tenant Background Check Authorization Form?

The authorization form is a release from that the tenant agrees upon and signs, allowing you to do a background check of their credit and criminal history. In most cases, the landlord will charge a fee for running this check, which can range between $30 to $75.

Free Authorization Forms

Free Tenant Background Authorization Consent Form for Word

Editable Background Check for Rental & Purchase Authorization Form for Word

Free Criminal and Credit Check Release Consent Form for PDF

Printable Criminal Background Check Consent for Apartment Rental Form for PDF

Free Rental Background Check Authorization Form for PDF

Printable Release of Information Consent Form for PDF

Free Rental Background Check Application Consent Form for PDF

    How to Get a Tenant Background Check

    Your first step is to have a tenant fill out an authorization form and sign it. Without this, you legally won’t be able to run the check. Once you have the tenant’s permission, you will need to choose a service provider, such as or, to run the necessary tests for you. Once a check has been done, you will receive your report on the tenant in question. This will help you to decide whether you should rent to them or not.

    We have put together a detailed template that you can download for free, along with some samples to help you become familiar with an authorization form. It will include all of the information you need to have to run a comprehensive check. These can be quite helpful and can be adapted should you need relevant details.

    Why is Permission Needed to Run a Tenant Background Check?

    While you may not be required to get permission for some checks, you should do to protect yourself from liability. For instance, if you denied a tenant’s application form based on the information you obtained without their permission, you would be breaking the Fair Housing Laws.

    Having permission from the tenant will also allow you to see information on their credit and background check that you would not be able to know if you run a check without their permission.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What will show up on a background check?

    For a tenant background check, the tenant’s credit history and any criminal history will be reviewed. This can include proof of employment, evictions, and other relevant details.

    How long will a tenant background check take?

    Checks can run anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 days.

    Can a landlord run a background check without a tenant’s permission?

    While some information can be accessed without a tenant’s permission, doing so is illegal under the FCRA, and a landlord can be taken to court for breaching this.


    Filling out forms and getting tenants’ permission may seem time-consuming, but it can protect you in several ways, both legally and financially. After all, you want to find good tenants who will respect your property and be reliable. Doing these background checks can make the selection process more comfortable and landlords will know what they are getting into when it comes down to choosing tenants.

    About This Article

    Terry M. Keller
    Authored by:
    Legal Contract Writing for Real Estate, Real Estate Law Specialist
    Terry M. Keller, Principal and Managing Attorney at Keller Law Offices, is a distinguished expert in real estate law. With foundational experience at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tennessee, he founded his firm in Nashville and Chicago, rapidly carving a niche in legal contract writing and real estate legalities. Terry excels in drafting comprehensive real estate contracts and guiding clients through intricate transactions and disputes. His analytical skills, combined with adept negotiation tactics, make him a trusted advisor for a spectrum of real estate stakeholders. Recognized in renowned legal circles, Terry's dedication to client success and legal precision solidifies his reputation as a leading real estate law authority.

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