Hi BeeP, sounds like you've got some help already. I'd take lura up on the offer. I'm a self-managed landlord. I check my tenants thoroughly. I ask for previous addresses and I contact the previous landlords. I also ask for personal referees and I contact them. I check they have a job and I phone their employer. Don't be afraid to ask for the details and to check them. Let the prospective tenant know you'll be checking.
Having lived next door to the tenant from hell ... in a property managed by an agent with a database record which checked out okay ... because she used another name. Was eventually evicted, did a midnight flit (funnily enough, similar to how she moved in ...) and left the house trashed.
Don't rely just on the records a database can give you ... do your other checks and go on gut feeling. I was hesitant to take on my own property management but did so when a fellow investor reminded me that as a paramedic I have a good feeling for good and bad in people (hey, it comes with the job!). I've been rewarded with good tenants and positive outcomes since.
Quick note also.. these databases do exist however for a landlord to register someone as having been a problem tennant in the past it actually costs money so many don't do it. This means that many tennants don't end up on the database even through they may have caused problems in the past.
Another good to do.. as well as calling their past property managers to speak to them, ask them to provide you with a payment report (they can black out personal information), it's more to do with you seeing that the tennants paid their rent on time in the past.