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Zillow background check

Zillow offers a tenant screening program called Zillow background check. It facilitates landlords’ collecting and evaluation of prospective tenants’ financial stability and dependability. Checks on the credit history, court records, and other significant information of the tenant are among the many features of this instrument.

Description of the Screening Process

The Zillow background check process begins with a landlord’s request to screen a specific tenant. Here are the main steps of this process:

  1. Information Gathering: The landlord provides basic information about the potential tenant, including their name and contact details.
  2. Request for Consent: Zillow sends the tenant a request for consent to check their data. The tenant must agree for the process to continue.
  3. Data Collection: Upon receiving the tenant’s consent, Zillow collects data from various sources, including credit bureaus, government, and court databases.
  4. Data Analysis: The collected information is analyzed to create a detailed report. This report contains information about the tenant’s credit history, court records, past rentals, and other significant aspects.
  5. Report Delivery: The final report is provided to the landlord to evaluate the tenant’s reliability.

What Data is Used

Zillow background check reports use the following types of data:

  • Credit History: Includes information on the tenant’s credit accounts, payment discipline, debts, and credit score.
  • Court Records: Checks for lawsuits, criminal cases, and other legal issues that might affect the rental.
  • Rental History: Data on previous rental agreements, possible evictions, and other aspects related to past housing.
  • Personal Information: Basic personal data necessary to identify and verify the tenant’s history.

How This Tool Works

Zillow background check operates by integrating with various databases and credit bureaus. When a landlord requests a check, the system automatically accesses these sources to retrieve up-to-date information. Zillow’s algorithms analyze the data and generate a structured report, helping landlords make informed decisions.

Using Zillow background check significantly simplifies the rental process and helps avoid potential problems with unreliable tenants.

What Does Zillow Background Check Show?

Zillow background check provides landlords with a comprehensive report on potential tenants, covering various aspects of their financial and legal history. Key data included in the report:

Credit History

Credit history is a crucial indicator of a tenant’s financial stability. Zillow background check includes the following credit history elements:

  • Credit Score (FICO score): Indicates the tenant’s overall creditworthiness. A high score suggests good payment discipline.
  • Open Credit Accounts: Includes information on current credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and other debts.
  • Payment History: Shows the timeliness and regularity of payments on credit obligations.
  • Delinquencies and Debts: Notes instances of late payments or significant debts.

Court Records

Court records provide information on the tenant’s legal issues that might affect their reliability as a tenant:

  • Criminal Records: Checks for convictions, arrests, and other criminal cases.
  • Civil Suits: Includes information on civil lawsuits, such as debt collection, disputes with previous landlords, etc.
  • Evictions: Data on past evictions, indicating potential rental issues.

Rental History

Rental history provides landlords with information on the tenant’s previous rental experiences:

  • Previous Rental Agreements: Information on places where the tenant previously rented.
  • Duration of Tenancy: Length of previous rental agreements, indicating tenant stability.
  • Landlord Reviews: Opinions from previous landlords about the tenant, their behavior, and compliance with the lease terms.

Personal Information

Personal information is used to identify the tenant and verify their identity:

  • Full Name: Complete identity details of the tenant.
  • Date of Birth: Used for accurate identification and data verification.
  • Residential Addresses: History of the tenant’s residential addresses, helping confirm their identity and reliability.

Examples of Information in the Report

For better understanding, here are a few examples of information that might be included in a Zillow background check report:

  • Credit Score (FICO score): 720 (excellent credit level).
  • Payment History: All credit payments timely for the last 3 years.
  • Court Records: No records of lawsuits or criminal cases.
  • Evictions: One eviction 5 years ago due to a dispute with the landlord.
  • Previous Rental Agreements: Tenant lived at the previous residence for 2 years with good landlord reviews.

What Information Can Be Obtained

Zillow background check provides landlords with comprehensive information, allowing them to:

  • Assess the tenant’s financial stability through their credit history and payment discipline.
  • Understand the tenant’s legal status by examining court records and the absence of criminal issues.
  • Review the rental history to determine the tenant’s reliability and stability.
  • Verify the tenant’s personal data to prevent fraud.

Advantages of Detailed Reports

Using detailed reports provided by Zillow background check offers landlords numerous advantages:

  • Risk Reduction: Landlords can identify potential issues in advance and make informed decisions.
  • Time Saving: Automating the data verification process significantly reduces the time needed for decision-making.
  • Increased Trust: Transparency and completeness of information foster more trustful relationships between landlords and tenants.


Recent Studies

Recent studies show that landlords who use tenant screening reduce the risk of problematic tenants by 50%. This is due to having access to a full picture of the tenant’s financial and legal history, enabling more informed decisions.

Data Analysis

Data analysis indicates that landlords using Zillow background check are significantly less likely to face eviction and non-payment issues. This is because they receive comprehensive information about potential tenants in advance and can make better decisions.

Using Zillow background check significantly simplifies the rental process and helps avoid potential problems with unreliable tenants.

How Far Back Does Zillow Rental Background Check Go?

When conducting a Zillow background check, it’s important to understand how deeply the system examines the tenant’s past. Different aspects of the check can cover various time periods, and this knowledge helps landlords assess the completeness and relevance of the obtained data.

Data Verification Time Frames

Zillow background check investigates the tenant’s history in several key areas:

  • Credit History: Covers the past 7-10 years. The credit history includes current and closed accounts, loan payments, and the presence of delinquencies and debts. For example, data from credit bureaus include records of credit card payments, auto loans, and mortgages for the past 7 years.
  • Court Records: Includes data on civil and criminal cases. Court records may cover different time periods depending on the type of case and jurisdiction. For example, criminal records may be available for the past 10 years, while civil suits might have a shorter coverage period, such as 5 years.
  • Rental History: Usually covers the past 3-5 years. The report reflects previous rental agreements, landlord reviews, evictions, and other important data related to housing.

Examples of Information for Different Time Periods

For better understanding, here are a few examples of information that can be obtained for different time periods:

Last 3 Years:

  • All credit payments during this period.
  • Evictions and landlord reviews.
  • Current rental agreements.

Last 5 Years:

  • Closed credit accounts and their history.
  • Court records, including civil suits.
  • Rental history and previous rental agreements.

Last 7-10 Years:

  • Full credit history, including all open and closed accounts.
  • Criminal records and major civil suits.
  • All instances of delinquent payments and significant debts.

What Information Can Be Obtained for Different Time Periods

Understanding the time frames of the check helps landlords assess how detailed the received information will be:

  • Short-term Checks (up to 3 years): Useful for understanding the current financial and rental status. For example, if the tenant has had no issues with payments and rent for the last 3 years, this might indicate their stability.
  • Mid-term Checks (up to 5 years): Allow assessing a broader context. This includes not only current but also previous financial and rental relationships. For example, if there was an eviction 5 years ago, the landlord can take this into account when making a decision.
  • Long-term Checks (up to 10 years): Provide a full picture of the financial and legal history. This is especially important for assessing risks associated with large debts or serious offenses.

Errors in Zillow Background Check Reports

Errors in Zillow background check reports can significantly affect the decision-making process for landlords. It’s important to understand what errors may occur, how to detect and correct them. Here we will discuss possible errors in detail and provide practical advice on how to address them.

Possible Errors in Reports

Errors in Credit History

  • Incorrect Accounts: The report may include accounts that do not belong to the tenant. This can happen due to database errors or identification confusion.
  • Outdated Information: Old data on closed accounts or paid-off debts may continue to appear in the report.
  • Payment Errors: Payments made on time may be marked as late.

Errors in Court Records

  • Incorrect Records: Inclusion of court cases that the tenant is not related to.
  • Lack of Updates: Outdated records of court cases that have already been resolved or closed.

Errors in Rental History

  • Incorrect Landlord Reviews: Incorrect or false reviews from previous landlords can negatively impact the tenant’s reputation.
  • Unreflected Rental Agreements: Absence of data on previous rentals that could positively characterize the tenant.

Errors in Personal Information

  • Mistakes in Name and Birth Date: Incorrect spelling of the name or wrong birth date can cause confusion with other individuals.
  • Incorrect Addresses: Wrong addresses can create a false impression of the tenant’s residential stability.

How to Detect Errors

Detecting errors in Zillow background check reports requires careful analysis and data verification. Here are some steps to help identify errors:

  • Data Comparison: Compare the Zillow background check report with other available information about the tenant, such as their credit reports from other sources.
  • Request Clarifications from the Tenant: Ask the tenant to provide clarifications or documents verifying the accuracy of their data.
  • Contact Previous Landlords: Reach out to previous landlords to verify the provided reviews and rental data.

How to Correct Errors

Correcting errors in Zillow background check reports requires consistent actions and communication with relevant organizations:

  • Contact Zillow: If an error is found, the first step should be to contact Zillow customer support with a detailed description of the issue and provide supporting evidence.
  • Contact Credit Bureaus: If the error is related to the credit history, contact the credit bureaus to correct the incorrect data. This may include sending written statements and documents verifying the information.
  • Correct Court Records: When discovering incorrect court records, reach out to the respective courts or legal authorities to correct the data.
  • Correct Data with Previous Landlords: If the issue is related to reviews or data from previous landlords, contact them directly to make corrections.

Examples of Error Correction

For better understanding, here are a few practical examples of error correction:

Credit History Error

A tenant found that their report listed a late payment on a credit card that had been paid on time. They contacted the credit bureau and provided bank statements proving timely payments. The credit bureau corrected the error, and the updated report was provided to the landlord.

Incorrect Court Record

A tenant’s report included a court case they were not involved in. The tenant contacted the court and obtained a document confirming the error. After providing this document to Zillow, the record was removed.

Erroneous Landlord Review

The report contained a negative review from a previous landlord, mistakenly identifying the tenant as problematic. The tenant contacted the landlord and provided evidence of their good conduct. The landlord updated the review, and the corrected information was included in the report.


Recent Studies

Studies show that over 20% of background check reports may contain errors that can negatively impact landlords’ decisions. This underscores the importance of careful data review and prompt correction of detected errors.

Contact KFZ Law for a Free Consultation

KFZ Law attorneys are ready to provide you with a free consultation and help you with any questions related to tenant screening errors and rental relations. Contact us today to learn more and receive qualified assistance.

Written By Oliver Kedr, Attorney at KFZ Law

Oliver Kedr

Position: Main Attorney at KFZ Law
Oliver Kedr has specialized for over 15 years in FCRA and resolving background check mistakes and credit report errors.
Education: J.D., Boston College Law School
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