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How to Conduct a Tenant Criminal Background Check

System - Thursday, December 22, 2022
Property Management Blog

Did you know that roughly 80 million Americans have a criminal record?

You can tell a lot about a tenant by what crimes they have committed. But in some cases, such as juvenile offenses, a crime might have no bearing on their trustworthiness or morality. In either case, a tenant criminal background check can give you a strong image of who you plan to rent to.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind before screening potential renters. Just because someone has a criminal record doesn't disqualify them from living in a rental property.

Keep reading as we discuss how to conduct a criminal background check.

What to Do Before You Obtain a Tenant Criminal Background Check

First and foremost, obtain the consent of the person you plan to check. This isn't just the ethical thing to do, you can get in trouble with the law if you do so without permission. Make it a standard procedure so that tenants don't feel like you're singling them out for some reason.

Second, decide who will pay for the background check, and how. Most landlords have the prospective tenant cover the cost. However, you may choose to simply do it yourself and include it in the application fee.

Make sure to gather all the required information. You may need to collect information that is not obvious, such as previous aliases.

Find Screening Services That You Can Trust

Not all companies have a strong reputation for accuracy and prompt results. Choose from among the best background check providers to ensure you get consistency and quality.

Run the background check as soon as you can, as these can take time. The provider will need to pull a person's criminal record, which may require a waiting period.

Determine What Disqualifies Someone from Renting With You

In most cases, a tenant's criminal background may not cause you to deny an application. Minor crimes, such as traffic violations or juvenile delinquency, may not be an indicator of a person's character. Crimes from years and years ago may not represent the person they are now.

This is an excellent chance to determine if someone is a sex offender. No one wants a registered sex offender in their area. Someone might seem normal until you run a check and discover they fell afoul of sexual crimes.

However, hiring someone who you believe to be good could get you in trouble. If you hire a felon, your other tenants can sue you for negligence. In some cases, for less severe crimes, you risk being accused of discrimination if you deny someone's housing application.

Find Property Management in Your Area

A tenant criminal background check can help you to evaluate a person before you decide to approve their application. Without it, you may not realize that they are a felon or a convicted sex offender. A background check is easy to do for new tenants, but keep the above steps in mind before you do.

Home River Group provides the best property management in the San Antonio area. Get a free rental analysis today by visiting their website.