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Home · Property Management · Tenant Screening : Tenant Background Checks: The False Positive Criminal Report

“You’re trying to tell me you don’t know
your date of birth because you were
too young to remember?”

Identity photoA false positive criminal report in your tenant screening background check can cost you a valuable prospect when his only crime is having the same name as someone who has a criminal record.

  • While credit information relies on social security numbers as a virtually fool-proof identifier to distinguish one person from the next, criminal reports are not indexed by social security number.
  • The only information that can distinguish a person on a criminal report is full legal name (See What’s in a Name), a full and accurate date of birth, and accurate address information (See Previous Address Tenant History).

Without this information you may obtain a false positive report, and turn away an otherwise good prospect.

Date of Birth. Although a fairly simple request, a prospect’s date of birth is often incomplete on the application, or inconsistent with other information. To avoid headaches later on in screening and debt collection, make sure:

  • To get a complete date of birth – month, day, and year. Very often this is the only thing to differentiate people with similar or common names.
  • The date of birth you receive is consistent with all of the prospect’s other information. Compare it to a driver’s license and any other information available. Click here to view a chart of states which incorporate the date of birth within the drivers license number.

Place of Birth. The city and state or country of birth is valuable information for additional cross-checking or other data.

  • Remember, every piece of information must be consistent with every other. The place of birth may reflect an inconsistency with the origin of the social security number (see SSN state codes) or list of previous residences.
  • An accurate place of birth also will help locate relatives in case the need arises, or to locate the tenant for collection purposes.

Mothers Maiden Name

  • Along with place and date of birth, knowing a mothers maiden name can be the most important piece of the puzzle when searching for assets in the event you have to turn the tenant over for collection.
  • A mothers maiden name not only helps confirm the applicants background, but may be the difference in locating assets and detecting fraud.

Previous Address Tenant History Report

Always order a Previous Address Tenant History (PATH) Report when you order a criminal report or tenant screening report.

With this information, you can:

  • Evaluate if the prospect is telling the truth on the application.
  • Eliminate shared names from the criminal reports by comparing to known addresses.
  • Discover if the prospect lived outside the area of the criminal history report you ordered ” that way you can broaden the search.

Follow this link to see a sample Previous Address Tenant History Report.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

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