Nearly 70 million Americans have a criminal record. A person’s criminal history alone is not grounds to deny them housing. However, as a landlord, you are in charge of the security of your property.
Criminal background checks can help landlords identify potential risks and protect their properties and communities.
Here are some tips for managing tenant criminal background checks:
Use a Reputable Background Check Provider
Always go for a reputable background check provider to ensure that the information you receive is accurate and up-to-date.
There are many companies that offer tenant background check services. Do your research and choose a provider that has a track record of providing accurate and comprehensive information.
Clearly Communicate Your Screening Policies
Make sure that your tenants understand your screening policies and procedures, including the types of criminal records that you will be checking and how you will use the information. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that tenants are aware of what to expect during the screening process.
Follow Fair Housing Laws
It's important to follow fair housing laws when conducting criminal background checks. This means avoiding discrimination based on:
- National origin
- Other protected characteristics.
This means that you should not automatically deny an applicant based on their criminal history. But rather consider the nature and severity of the crime, as well as how long ago it occurred.
Use a Consistent Process
Use the same process for all tenants to ensure fairness and consistency. This includes using the same background check provider and following the same screening criteria for all applicants. This will help to ensure that you are treating all tenants fairly and not discriminating against any particular group.
Consider the Nature and Severity of the Crime
When evaluating a tenant's criminal history, consider the nature and severity of the crime, as well as how long ago it occurred. For example, a minor traffic violation that occurred several years ago may not be as concerning as a recent conviction for a violent crime.
Keep Accurate Records
Keep records of your tenant screening process, including any criminal background checks that you conduct. This will help you to defend against any fair housing complaints or legal challenges that may arise.
Also, record any denials or approvals to ensure that you can demonstrate you followed a fair and consistent process. Share relevant records with your tenants.
Get Help With Your Tenant Criminal Background Check
By following these guidelines, landlords can keep their communities safe. This guide will also help you ensure that all tenants are treated fairly and don't feel discriminated against.
Overall, conducting a tenant criminal background check can be an important part of rental management. It can help landlords to make informed decisions about which tenants to accept.
If you need help managing your rental property, book an appointment for professional property management service. We're a trusted Orlando property management company you can count on.