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Home · Property Management · Tenant Screening : Don’t Botch Your Criminal Background Checks

ArrestGiven the rising crime in our urban areas, property owners must be concerned with introducing a dangerous or undesirable tenant into their building.
The proliferation of drugs and gangs in cities throughout the United States has turned once beautiful neighborhoods into blighted and unsafe war zones.
It is bad enough to find that your applicant left their last address because they were evicted. It’s even worse if they left their previous address because they were paroled!
As a property owner, you must protect your tenants as well as your investment by doing a tenant background check.
You can do a tenant background check because nearly all criminal records are public. Generally, the easiest access to criminal records is through your tenant screening provider. When ordering your screening report, most companies offer an option of a criminal tenant background check.
The response varies from immediate (online) up to a couple of days depending upon the county or state you are pulling records from. Because there is no single source for criminal background checks nationwide, your information provider must access from different repositories throughout the country. Therefore, criminal background checks are usually priced on a per county or per state basis.
Before ordering a criminal background report on a prospective tenant, it is important that you have sufficiently cross-checked the application. Once you are satisfied that the address history is accurate, you can then request the criminal background from a specific county or state.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your real estate investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, a tenant background check, insurance and financing. Find out more at joinaaoa.To subscribe to our blog, click here.

  • Subhash Agrawal

    This article is good.

    My question is about the accuracy & comprehensiveness of the criminal check done through the reports generated by AAOA.

    You recommend in this article do path history first and then do criminal check.

    But in your reports, you have the option of doing both together.

    So how good is the information provided by the screening package?

    And how good is this info in MA? in TX?

  • I just thought I would give you a little tid bit of information on the company we use for our credit checks. Their name is Western Reporting Inc. We get the following: Credit Search w/score, Person search – including aka’s, Criminal Report, & Eviction Report, all for $13.00. If we request a report outside of UTAH it may be an additional charge but so far I haven’t had additional charges for out of state requests. We have been with them for about 4 months and have been completely satisfied! – which is more than I can say for the last company we were with! If you would like their info it is: 1-800-466-1996.
    Pass it along!


  • Thank you for writing this very informative article about the importance of background checks. Criminal records are now so accessible that there is no excuse for not having one with the people you do business with.

    A personal experience I had with background checks was when a friend of mine found a flyer on his car windshield for pressure washing. What he didn’t know was that in Central Florida, flyers for that same pressure-washing service were a front for a burglar. Sadly, he and his wife were later burglarized. In retrospect, if the victims had simply gotten identification and run a simple criminal background check before hiring the young man in the t-shirt, they would have discovered he had a history of burglaries. It is probable that just asking for identification would have chased him off.

  • Pingback: Employ or Exclude: An Employer s Guide to Finding Public Records()

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