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The Importance of Conducting a Thorough Tenant Criminal Background Check

The Importance of Conducting a Thorough Tenant Criminal Background Check

Does a rental applicant's criminal background matter? Absolutely.

It's standard practice for landlords to screen rental applicants for tenancy suitability. However, while most landlords are keen on checking the applicant's credit history and verifying income sources, a good number don't do a tenant criminal background check.

Although this is understandable since your primary goal is to find a tenant who will pay rent on time, you're making a big mistake that could hurt your investment. Come with us as we divulge a few reasons why it's crucial to dig into a prospective renter's criminal record before deciding on their application.

Maintain a Safe Community

As a landlord, you must provide a safe living environment for your tenants. This goes beyond maintaining your property and making the necessary repairs. It also involves bringing in people who don't pose any threat to their neighbors.

A criminal background check is an effective way to establish whether a rental applicant is likely to endanger their immediate community. For example, imagine you're screening an applicant and you find out that they're a registered sex offender. If your apartment complex has young families, it's not unreasonable to assume that the person will pose a direct threat to those families if they were to become your tenant.

If you allow them to become your tenant and the unthinkable happens, there will be consequences. Other tenants will have grounds to terminate their leases, citing safety concerns. If word goes around, you'll struggle to attract new tenants.

Protect Your Property from Physical Damage

There aren't many things a landlord dislikes more than a tenant who causes deliberate property damage. While you can use their security deposit to pay for the repairs, it's an unnecessary job that wastes your time. Plus, some types of damage might leave permanent imperfections on the property regardless of how competently the repairs are done.

It's in your best interest to keep such people off your property. A criminal background check is one of the best tools you can use to identify such renters.

A person who has a history of violent conduct doesn't inspire the confidence you need to trust that they'll take good care of your property. You're better off ensuring they don't set foot in your property as a tenant.

Screening Transparency

When you have a comprehensive tenant screening process, you'll inevitably include criminal background checks. However, in accordance with fair housing laws, you cannot subject certain screening procedures to select applicants only. Everyone must be screened using the same criteria.

Therefore, when you check every applicant's criminal background, you're ensuring screening transparency. This will keep you out of legal trouble, just in case an applicant claims you have discriminated against them by checking their criminal history.

A Tenant Criminal Background Check Is Important

Conducting a tenant criminal background check might not strike you as an important thing to do, but as we've demonstrated, it's just as crucial as checking credit and financial records.

If you don't know how to go about tenant screening, All American Reality and Investment Group, a full-service property management company, is here to help. We specialize in serving military landlords on the Emerald Coast, but all clients are welcome.

Let's talk about your property management needs today.