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Understanding SingleKey tenant background check report

Have you ever been in a position where you are just staring at the tenant background report that you received from the tenant screening service provider? Thinking and wishing that you can easily understand the results of the tenant background report that you paid for?

In this article, we are sharing with you the ins and out of a tenant background report and how you can easily read and understand them so you can take it to your advantage and help you as you go on in your property management business or property rental business.


First, let’s start with the basic, what does really tenant background do and how does the tenant background check report helps you screen the right tenant for the property that you manage or property that you owned.

What does a tenant background check do and how the report helps you screen the right tenant?

Tenant background checking is one of the important parts of tenant screening, the tenant background reports answer the landlord and property manager’s main question “Who should I choose to live in my rental property?” “Should I allow this prospective tenant to rent our property?” “

The report also includes information such as criminal records, rental history, credit history, eviction history, and the prospective tenant’s ability to pay, all of which can help landlords or property managers to make the right and informed judgment.

How to choose the right tenant background checking service?
To be honest, there are tons of company that offers tenant background checking service. But just like choosing the right tenant for your property, you need to be wise in choosing the reliable tenant background checking service that you are partnering with.

Here are 3 things that you should take into consideration:

1. Price
2. Accuracy
3. Reliability

What tenant background checking service would you recommend?

We only trust one company to do our tenant background checking. SingleKey is one of the most reliable and trusted tenant screening and background check services in the industry. We have been working with them since ___ to offer affordable tenant screening for Canadian landlords and property managers.

SingleKey makes it easier for Canadian landlords and property managers to get tenant background reports without the hassle. SingleKey is more streamlined, well constructed and straightforward.

This helps our partners to understand the report faster and make the decision in an instant. In SingleKey, you can get the report as fast as 5-10 minutes after you or your prospective tenant submits the application form.

SingleKey report is a very powerful analysis of a prospective tenant’s credit, rental, and financial history. The report gives a visual indication and explanation of each of the analyses. In collaboration with SingleKey, we are making this report available in our portal so that you can seamlessly access the report without logging into two different systems.

By using SingleKey to screen tenants, you have two options:
1) Send an email to the tenant to fill out the application (option to pay by yourself or pay by tenant)
2) Fill out the form by yourself (you pay)

I know this type of work can be overwhelming but we made sure that it can be done easily. Since Mi Property Portal partnered with SingleKey, the application process is straightforward. Most of the fields would be auto-populated inside the portal.

Here is the flow when ‘Sending a screening request to tenants’

 1.) Send an email to the tenant to fill out the application:

  • You fill out some basic information about the tenant including tenant email.
  • Select who will pay for the screening. If you are paying, provide credit card info. If the tenant is paying, the tenant will be asked to pay when they receive an email.
  • Send the request to the tenant
  • The tenant receives an email, fills out the application form and submit
  • You will receive an automated email that an application has been submitted
  • You will receive another email when the request is completed by SingleKey

    2.) Fill out the form by yourself

  • The tenant is not involved in the whole process
  • Property Managers or Landlords will fill out the application form
  • and Pay for the screening
  • Submit the application
  • You will receive an automated email that an application has been submitted
  • You will receive another email when the request is completed by SingleKey

Once the report is ready, a link to download the report would be available in Mi Property Portal – Admin Portal.

Following are the sample of SingleKey tenant screening and tenant background check application:

The first part is the Applicant’s information consists of the basic information of the applicant or the prospective tenant.

Following are the details that are needed:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • License Number
  • Gross Annual Income

The second part consists of the applicant or prospective tenant’s Rental History. Here, property managers, landlords or prospective tenants would be asked about their:

  • Current Residence Address
  • Landlord’s Phone Number
  • Length Stay
  • Landlord’s Name
  • Landlord’s Phone Number
  • Landlord’s Email
  • Consent to contact the Landlord
  • Residential Status
  • Reason for Leaving

As part of the Rental History, the applicant would have to include the information about their:
(Please refer to the second image for the additional information that needs to be provided)

  • Previous Residence
  • Length Stay
  • Residential Status
  • Reason for Leaving
  • Previous Landlord’s Name
  • Previous Landlord’s Phone Number
  • Previous Landlord’s Email
  • Consent to contact the Landlord
Tenant Background Report

The third part of the application is all about the details of the prospective tenant’s employment, which consist of:

  • Present Organization’s name
  • Organization website
  • Position Held
  • Other employment information such as Supervisor’s name or Organziation’s address
  • Supervisor’s Name
  • Supervisor’s Email Phone Number
  • Supervisor’s Email Address

The last part of the tenant background checking application would be the Miscellaneous Details, these consists of questions such as:

  • Do you own a Car?
  • Do you have a Pet?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Have you ever declared Bankruptcy?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Have you ever refused to pay rent?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony?



Rental Application - Tenant employment information

The credit and background report can incorporate a great deal of data which can be overwhelming when you don’t have any idea of what are the significant things to search for.

This article gives a detailed guide on how to read and understand a SingleKey Credit and Background Check report and features what are the significant details to consider.

Moving on, to give you a better understanding of the sections that we’ve mentioned above, below is the breakdown of a SingleKey Credit & Background Check report by sections:


Section 1. Applicants or Tenant’s General Information

Applicant’s General Information

This section is all about the prospective tenant or applicant’s general information. These are self-reported information from the tenant’s rental application and will show in the first part of the credit and background check report. In the first two pages of the report, the prospective tenant will have to input information that is accessible to landlords or property managers and this information will be included and shown in the rental application form as well.

Here are the sections or fields that tenant needs to fill:

Applicants Information, Employment Information, Landlord References, and other Miscellaneous Information.

Make sure to keep in mind that SingleKey does not verify any self-reported information as part of the credit and background check service.

Tenant Credit Score powered by Equifax

Key Applicant Score

The Key Applicant score section highlights some of the key numbers of the report, this gives the landlords or property managers to visualize the capability of the tenant at a glance. 

SingleKey call this the SingleKey Score, it is a point-based summary of the tenant’s capability or how the tenant performs. It also gives a simple result if the prospective tenant or the rental application is at high or low risk.

This score takes into all information that is generated by the report including financial, credit, background check, debt payments and affordability.

Something to take note of is that “The Credit Score is an Equifax ERS 2.0” score. This summarizes the financial health of the tenant and their risk of default. 

Moreover, “The Rent to Income Ratio” shows the percentage of the tenant’s total monthly pre-tax income, this ratio will be used to gauge the ability of the tenant to pay rent to its landlord or property manager. To give you more information, this ratio is based on self-reported Household income (by the tenant) and self-reported rent (by the landlord). Basically, this number will tell the landlord or property managers whether the applicant or tenant will be able to afford the rent based on their income.

SingleKey recommends that the result or number should not exceed 45%, and ideally be closer to 30% or less.

Lastly, “The Monthly Debt Payments” sums up the amount of all reoccurring monthly (or bi-weekly) debt payments on the credit report. 


Tenant’s Basic Information

Rental Application - Tenant general information

Tenant’s personal details such as their name, date of birth, SIN, driver’s license number, email and phone number are included in this section.

Note that SIN # and Driver’s license # are optional.

Tenant’s Employment Information

Rental Application - Tenant Employment Information

In addition, there is an option for tenants to provide their employment information to the landlord or property manager. This section will ask the applicant about the tenant’s Present Organization, Organization Website, Position Held, Supervisor Name, Supervisor Phone, Supervisor Email, Length of Employment, Gross Annual Income, and Additional Income. 

Again, giving the employment information is optional

Tenant’s Residential History and Landlord References

Rental Application - Residential history and Landlord References information

This section gives the applicant to provide their current residency as well as any other previous addresses that they live and rent.

Remember that filling this field is mandatory and tenants should include a history of at least 2 years of previous rental history.

Tenant’s Miscellaneous Information

Rental Application - Tenant'sMiscellaneous Information

In this section, the tenant can take this to their advantage, again tenants can prove here that they are capable of renting and paying their rent. This section is not mandatory but these questions are usually answered by applicants when they fill out a request to complete a credit check.

Section 2. Credit & Background Check Summary

For section 2, it provides an overview of the applicant’s credit and background check report.

Here you will see a variety of summaries, such as Report Summary, Background Check, Equifax Reports, Financial Summary, and Notable Risks.

Tenant Rental Application – Report Summary

Rental Application - Tenant Report Summary

“Report Summary” section shows that in light of the tenant data given we had the option to get a coordinate on their record with our data providers and that the tenant data was effectively recovered from our data partners. This section is done on purpose for Q&A and internal use, and can be overlooked by the reader.

Tenant Rental Application – Background Check

Tenant Rental Application – Background Check

“Background check” is a public document search of over 200,000 databases from over 240 countries searching for, public biographies, past employment, court decisions, past evictions, negative press, criminal records, social profiles,, etc.

To give you an idea, when the search and results show “cleared”, this means the check was completed successfully and based on this search, it didn’t find any record for the said individual in the database.

 When it shows “likely”, based on the word, there is a likely match on the applicant on that database. For example, the criminal record search shows likely. Basically, John Doe’s information matches another person in a criminal record database.

Tenant Rental Application – Equifax Report

Tenant Rental Application - Equifax Credit Report

Equifax Report or also called Upgraded Reports flag signals a quick outline of what to expect from the Equifax credit score. There are three Equifax Credit Report Ratings that are visible on your report (as seen on the image). This rating is returned depending the prospective tenant’s credit.


Equifax Credit Report

Based on SingleKey these are the indications of each score:

  • “Fail” flag indicates that the score is low (between 300 and 599). This score is considered a poor score range and requires extra consideration.
  • “Warn” flag indicates an average applicant score between 600 and 699. While this is a fair score range to fall within, these applicants do also carry a degree of risk and warrant a closer look at the credit report details.
  • “Pass” flag indicates a great applicant credit score above 700.Source: Singley Credit Background Check

Tenant Financial Summary

Rental Application - Tenant Financial Summary

The financial summary is basically the assessment of the applicant’s financial status. It includes the key elements on the credit report such as legal items, bankruptcies, collections and total debt, and credit score.

This report shows a  “Warn” (in yellow) and indicates that thee the report have returned with a match to the applicant.

In the report you will also see a “Notable Risks” this simply indicates potential items on the report that require more attention.

Section 3. Applicants Background Check

The“Background Check” is a real-time public information search that searches over 110,000 databases from over 240 countries looking for criminal records, court decisions, negative press, social profiles, public biographies, past employment and more.

Source: SingleKey

Tenant Rental Application – Profile Summary

Rental Application - Tenant Background Check

The report aims to give landlords and property managers as much information as is available based on the self-reported data. In some cases, this section will include details or information that is not accurate to the applicant. This can occur for various reasons including because not all data being provided to run the report, (for example, the SIN or driver’s license number are barred when the report is run). At the point when this occurs, the landlord or property manager should double-check the data with the prospective tenant to guarantee it is right.

Since the report is run in view of self-reported data from pages 1 and 2, it is essential to take note that some data that is given in this part may not be a definite match to the prospective tenant, so we truly do propose confirming the legitimacy of the information gave in this section, with the prospective tenant or simply by requesting an ID.

Note: The Background Check and Equifax Credit Check information are from different sources. It’s feasible to get a miss-match or no-match on the Background Check, yet have exact outcomes on the Credit Check.

Tenant Rental Application – Criminal Background Check

The report involved a criminal background check on the prospective tenant. This part is where the report gives further insights concerning “likely” matches demonstrated in the abovementioned “Background Check” outline section.

The criminal check report contains a criminal identity “Match Score”. This is a correlation between the prospective tenant’s self-reported information and the relating information that is found to be an expected or potential match. For the most part, there are two outcomes that might show up in this section, either a) “Match Found” or b) “Possible Match”.

Rental Application - Tenant Criminal Background Check

a) Where the Match Score results show “Match”, this simply means that it is certainly anticipated that the data presented compares to the prospective tenant being screened.

Rental Application - Tenant Criminal Background Check - Possible Match

b.) There are some possibilities that the result of the scan will show a “Possible Match”. The landlord or property managers are advised to double-check the result.

Tenant Criminal offense

In this example, the report came back with several offences that the prospective tenant has made. For this example, John Doe was charged with Possession Sale of Weapons and Drug Trafficking Distribution.

In situations where there is an offence caught by one of SingleKey’s scans, it will include a description, a classification of the offence, the date of the charge and the status of the proceeding.

The background check also includes a Fraud scan, Sexual Offence Scan, Known Affiliation Scan, Global Sanction and Enforcement Scan, Public Safety Scan, and Other Scan.

Rental Application - Criminal Check
Tenant Criminal Background checking

Tenant Rental Application – Financial Details

In this section of the report shows prospective tenants’ Equifax credit check results. Toward the start, you will see a summary of likely positive and negative features of this tenant and the Equifax credit score or FICO rating.

Tenant Rental Application – Credit Score

Tenant Credit Score

The credit score displayed in the ranges in the image above is an important number in the report since it gives a summary of all financial behavior of the prospective tenant including past debt, and monthly debt payments. Refer to this page for more information on how the credit score is determined or calculated. The following is the scope of scores we give in the report to assist and help landlords and property managers with deciding whether a credit score is good or bad.

What is considered to be a good or bad tenant credit score?

The average Canadian Renter has a 630 Credit Score. Tenants with a score ranging from 600 to 680 are considered to have an average or “fair” score. While reviewing tenants with a score under 600 you should be more mindful and careful to understand the reason why the specific prospective tenant has a low score. The credit score is the best available indicator of a tenant’s financial health and payment behavior.

Credit Check Errors and Warning

“The Credit Check Error” and “Credit Check Warning” was displayed to warn the landlords or property managers of the report of a reason for why there may not be a credit score on the report. The report may show “No Records Found”, this means that the credit score is error-free.

Tenant Credit Check Errors

This is a common warning that occurs when Equifax was able to find the applicant’s file in their database, BUT the applicant did not have sufficient recent credit history on file to compile a credit score. In this case, you may see some limited credit information on the report but it will not show a credit score.

Equifax Credit Check Warning

Tenant Application – Debt Summary

The report provides a summary of all debts divided up into 6 subsections. These subsections are:

Revolving Credit – typically Credit Cards
Other Credit or Debt – instalment loans, personal loans, phone plans etc.
Automobile Loans
Student Loans

Tenant Debt Summary

The Total Balance is the total outstanding balance that remains to be paid by the applicant on the loan or credit line. 

The Max Limit is the maximum amount of debt the individual can incur on the available line of credit. 

The % Of Credit Used illustrates the percentage of the Max Limit that has been used up by the applicant.

The Number of X (cards, loans, mortgages, student loans, or car loans) is the number of products that the applicant has in their name. 

The Past Due Amount is the amount that is outstanding for the applicant to pay towards a particular loan or credit payment. 

Payments 30/60/90 are used to show the number of times that the applicant has been 30 days late, 60 days late and 90 days late in making payments during the past 6 years.

Monthly Payments show how much the applicant is to pay towards a credit, debit or loan each month. 

Note: The descriptions are based on SingleKey explanation.


Equifax Credit Check Warning

Tenant Application – Tree Balances

“Credit Grantor” is where you find the name of the institution that the applicant has an account open.

“Payment Status” shows if the applicants are paid up to date or behind on payments.

“Account Type” depicts what type of payment is to be made in the account.

“High Credit” shows the credit limit or total amount that can be owed on each account.

“Balance Amount” shows how much of the limit has been borrowed by the applicant and will be left to pay.

“Last Activity or Payment” shows the last date a payment was recorded on the account.

Note: The description above is based on SingleKey explanation.

Equifax Credit Check Warning

Tenant Application – Additional Credit Information

This part gives data about different cases where tenant’s or applicant’s credit has been mentioned. These kinds of requests show up on your credit report and are discoverable through Equifax. The report gives the name of the establishment where the request was made as well as the date of the request. While running a SingleKey report, for instance, a request will show up in this section of the tenant’s or applicant’s credit report.

Rental Application - Tenant Local and Foreign Credit Inquiries

Tenant Application – Additional Credit Information

Items that fall under “Collections” are accounts that have gone unpaid for more than 120 days and have been sold to collections agencies to recover. In this section this simply suggests an inability to repay debt and can be viewed as a serious detriment to an individual’s ability to be financially responsible. Items that have gone to collections (paid or unpaid), remain on record for 7 years. 

“Date of Last Payment” – this is the last time a payment is made to the account.
“Creditor” – the party who the money is owed to.
“Amount Owed” – the amount of money that is outstanding from the date of last payment.
“The Assignment Date” – this is the date that the account went into collections.

Note: The definitions are based on SingleKey explanation

Rental Application - Tenant Collection

Tenant Application – Additional Credit Information

A Secured Loan is a credit that is backed up by an asset. The SingleKey report shows whether an individual has any gotten secured loans, the name of the creditor to who the loan would be owed and the date of recording. Secured Loans are not the same as normal loans since creditors have more trust in the credit being reimbursed. At the point when the loan is not, the bank then has a claim to the asset backing the loan.

Tenant Secured Loans

Tenant Application – Judgements and Legal items


The report also includes the information and specific details about the applicant or prospective tenant’s court cases, decisions and other legal items. This can include civil proceedings such as divorce cases.

Tenant Judgements and Legal items

Tenant Application –
Other Scans


In the last section, the SingleKey report includes information from additional scans listed in the image above. The scans are based on the self-reported information provided when the report is ordered. These scans most often return with no results (indicated by “None Found”) but where are results, they will be displayed in these sections here.

If you want to try this feature, connect with us here

Tenant SingleKey Other Scans