The fact that one in four people have a criminal record underscores the importance of running a tenant criminal background check. As a property owner or manager, your tenants' safety and the security of your investment property are paramount.
Whether you're seasoned or new to leasing management, this article will provide a complete guide to conducting criminal background checks.
Notify the Applicant
You cannot run a criminal background check on someone without them knowing. Under Utah landlord-tenant law, you must notify the tenant and get their acknowledgment that you will run a tenant criminal background check. You must also tell them the criteria you will use to evaluate the tenant background check.
Finally, per the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you must provide the applicant with the report if they request a copy.
This should be a standard part of your tenant screening process. Many landlords have a tenant portal that they use for tenant screening.
Types of Background Checks
Decide which criminal record matters. Some minor offenses like DUI may not concern you as a landlord, so you'll focus on reports with felonies. You might not require reports with arrests since people are presumed innocent until proven guilty; hence, a conviction record is often more relevant.
Set Your Standard of Approval
Set your applicant standards before conducting background checks. It's one of the most valuable tenant screening tips for landlords to prevent discrimination claims as a landlord. Property managers ensure your criteria align with the Fair Housing Act to safeguard your investment property.
A criminal background check may not reveal everything. When a record is expunged, it's sealed and won't appear in checks. In Utah, expungement takes years, so those who succeed have likely moved on from their past criminal activities.
Choose a Service
Your next step is to decide how you will go about running the criminal background check. There are services online that you can hire to provide you with the report. However, you pay by the report provided, which can be expensive.
Another option is to work with a full-service property management company. They manage the entire process, from property marketing to lease renewals. Working with property managers is ideal when you don't have the time, experience, or funding to do everything yourself.
Risk of Not Requiring a Background Check
You do not have to pull a background check in Utah. However, you would miss out on the benefits of tenant screening services. This means you will not have valuable information that could impact your tenant placement decisions. This can put you at great risk of going through evictions more often.
The eviction process can be a lengthy one. All the while, you aren't getting paid rent. Salt Lake City tenant screening is a crucial step in property management that can contribute to eviction protection.
Tenant Criminal Background Check
A tenant criminal background check is a vital component of responsible property management. It's essential to follow legal and ethical guidelines when conducting background checks, ensuring tenants are informed and their rights are upheld. By setting clear approval standards and understanding the nuances of expungements, you can make well-informed decisions about potential tenants.
Work with our rental property management team, and let us handle the criminal background checks for you.