The future of renting is a hot topic with so many former homeowners and new households having to rent rather than buy their next residence.

Credit rating bureau TransUnion said Monday that its SmartMove rental applicant screening method is now protected by patent.

The product is geared to helping independent property managers – or smaller firms – screen applications from potential renters.

"This patent solidifies TransUnion as a market leader in the rental market industry as we provide some of the most cutting edge applicant screening tools," said Jason Norton, vice president of SmartMove in TransUnion’s rental screening business unit.

"By applying analytic scoring models to comprehensive credit and criminal background data, TransUnion provides small to medium-sized property managers with screening tools to make faster, more well-informed leasing decisions."