Background checks on a potential tenants before they book?

Level 2
Spokane, WA

Background checks on a potential tenants before they book?

Folks, sorry if this has already been answered elsewhere but but I wanted to ask, is it possible to run a background checks on a potential tenants before they book?


I was reviewing this post and would want to avoid this at all costs:


We just listed a 2BR 1BA bungalow on ABB for 30 day or longer rentals only (focusing on travelling nurses and similar folks). It will be available in about a month (early Jan 2020) and we've had 3 people inquire about it so far but have not booked any one yet. I can see their names but what other information do you normally need to do a background check? I've never run one before.


If so, how are you all doing checks prior to the booking? Do they normally agree to this even without seeing the place in person first? We are really trying to be careful and get good tenants in so any advice is appreciated! 🙂

30 Replies 30
Level 10
Concord, CA

@Jeffrey370  Unfortunately you will not be able to run the background check by the information provided by Airbnb. 


If you need to run a background check before a guest book, you need to turn off Instant Booking. And ask the guest to send you detailed information about their full legal name, current address, age, phone number etc. For a formal background check, you may need to get the office government ID, which may be hard to get from guests.


You can read guests reviews from other hosts if they have any. If not, you may have to use the information you could get and use google to find out a guest's background information.

Level 3
Chicago, IL


Tread carefully - there are various legalities to consider when attempting to run your own background checks. Good info here: 

That's really a fairly odd guide from Nolo,   given that it suggests you violate some Airbnb groundrules.

Hi @Jeffrey370 

I replied to this but it has been removed??? 

Maybe message me if you can . I'm running into this problem ourselves, found an alternative and waiting in Airbnb support to tell me if ok or not. 


Hi there, not sure why anything was removed but it definitely was not me! 🙂


prior to booking Airbnb doesn't even let us as hosts see a picture nor a full name of our guests!!!!

So any background checks will have to be announced in the listing's description as a pre-requisite for checking-in along with lease agreements signed.

Meaning, these could be done once a booking has been accepted, if not, their failing to fulfill our requisite. 

I was told by support: as long as the entire lease is up and visible to them before booking, the lease is  a go. But for now, I'm waiting for their answer, if a guest fails to complete our requisite, can we cancel their booking based on that? 


Both parties have free cancellations up to 48hrs AFTER booking. So we could require them to have the BG check completed before that. 


Let me know what u think.

@Richard-and-Isabel0  Hosts don't get to cancel without penalties, not sure what you mean about free cancellations for up to 48 hours- that's for guests, not "both parties".

Hi Sarah.

I just finally got the answer I was searching for with the help of an ABB support rep.


When cancellation doesn't fit their standards for a free cancellation, you're correct regarding incurring penalties.


But since we're talking about prospect tenants (our situations for 30+ day rentals in some states in the US exposes us hosts and the platform more to extensive damages & claims when tenants aren't properly screen), who by that point have read & acknowledged the booking requirements including a background check as a check-in prerequisite, & were to decide to not complete one, or the results red flagged them to be a risk to both hosts & platform; then having Airbnb review the situation for a cancellation COULD (not that it would) result in no penalty to the host. 


Basically, as long as long as we're to involve Airbnb in the decision & provided them what's needed to justify it, such cancellation could be penalty free. 


Ultimately our hope and goal is to not find ourselves needing to decline or cancel anyone's bookings.




Hey thanks for that information! I wasn't aware about cancellation penalties either but I have been careful about my listing and not approving anyone immediately.


Question for the thread: I'm in the process of updating our listing to have some more details in it, such as background check as a check-in prerequisite and house rules, etc.. Can anyone point me to one of their long term rental listings where it states a background check or credit report, etc. are a prerequisite for renting prior to acceptance?

@Jeffrey370  Jeffrey, my listing still is a work in progress, in fact, if you don't mind giving it the once over, I'd appreciate your take on it. 


I will be using a service called RentPrep for the background checks. The smart move package + 5 bucks to add judgments & liens. They have super fast turnaround and they allow us to pay for it ,so all our prospect tenants will need to do is reply to their email. 


I will be using a service called rocketlawyer for the online lease generator and online capture of their signature. 


Our listing:


Let's wish each other good luck. 





Super! I will definitely have a look and likely message you privately if I have any suggestions.  I'm just about done with renovations and will hopefully start taking guests in Jan-Feb so my listing will be completely revamped soon with new pictures and some lease and background check details! I just have to get thru this weekend: sanding 550 sf of old maple flooring 🙂

I yet again changed wording on our listing to make it sound "friendlier", but requirements are still background check and lease agreement. 

Got us an inquiry which would have put us back in the map for 3 months at a bit over 8 Gs, but haven't heard back since yesterday. It's quite scary to have gone from booking notifications several times a week, to just hope and pray for one at all. 

I hope we find people who will appreciate our homes soon!   

I doubt Airbnb is going to let you do that ...