Most apartments now conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants. This was not a common practice only 10 years ago but recent pivotal events such as the 9/11 terror attacks tilted the way landlords conduct business. Conducting background checks on tenants is now the norm. Landlords can conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants by liaising with the local courts or simply by hiring the services of a data screening company.
Data screening companies charge a fee to conduct a background check on prospective tenants. There used to be a time when this fee was significant enough for many companies to avoid the exercise altogether. Even today it is not unusual for some landlords to steer clear of conducting background checks especially when subletting. But the fee for conducting a criminal background check on prospective tenants is nothing compared to the losses that an apartment can incur if there are damages arising from their failure to properly screen tenants.
When you hear of an apartment background check, there are several items that are on the list:
Tenant credit report
This is a report that details the tenants actual credit score. This has been deemed controversial because many people do not understand why landlords need to conduct a comprehensive credit report. But landlords insist on conducting a credit check in order to arrive at a general “feel" of the kind of tenant they are dealing with. There are those of the persuation that one's credit score is a measure of one's character.
What most prospective tenants do not realize is that when they put their previous address on the apartment rental application, the landlord takes the liberty of verifying this. There are several data mining companies that can provide this information for a minimal fee. If the addresses in the application do not coincide with the addresses pulled up by the address verification check the landlord may accuse you of lying on your application which grounds for denial.
Apartments are also very interested in finding out whether a prospective tenant has an eviction record especially with other apartments. They also check to see how recent it was.
Landlords also take it upon themselves to conduct an employment verification check. This is to cross-check the income information you presented in the application with the actual income that your employer provides. Many employers are very protective of the information they have regarding their employees and will not part with most of the confidential questions that the leasing landlord requests other than general information. At that point many landlords are content with just getting the last two most recent paycheck stubs.
Criminal Background check
Landlords conduct criminal background checks on prospective tenants either by contacting the courts or going through a data mining company. Most prefer dealing with private data verification companies that offer online access to tenants’ criminal record information. Again there is a fee for this. The check mostly looks for felonies and whether the tenant is registered in the sex offender registry in any state.
Irene James is an internet expert speciallising in website design, credit issues, content management, e-commerce, ebay and online marketing. You can view one of her projects here http://www.simplecreditsecrets.net