Is a Tenant Criminal Background Check Necessary in Akron, OH?

Is a Tenant Criminal Background Check Necessary in Akron, OH?

Issues relating to tenant behavior are rising, and Akron, Ohio, is no exception. It's no surprise, then, that landlords looking to protect their investments are taking tenant screening more seriously.

One of the most crucial parts of the screening process is doing a criminal background check. Unfortunately, many landlords don't do an adequate job of this essential part of screening. This article will demonstrate why a tenant criminal background check is an essential part of avoiding lost rent and lowering your liability risk.

Understanding the Legal Restrictions

While criminal background checks are crucial, this doesn't mean you have the right to do an unrestricted investigation. There are rules and regulations governing exactly what's allowed. For example, under federal law, you'll need to comply with the Fair Housing Act.

Of course, there are also Ohio's state laws. For instance, Ohio also has a Fair Housing Act, which is similar to the federal version. Before doing background checks, ensure you're in full compliance with all applicable laws.

A Fair Screening Process

The Fair Housing Act is all about non-discrimination. You'll need to ensure a fair screening process by applying all standards equally to all applicants.

Privacy Laws

Given you're dealing with sensitive information, you'll need to handle it carefully. Legally, you're responsible for safeguarding it. You can't just store someone's criminal history in your personal OneDrive.

The legal requirements for storing digital data are complex. You'll need to demonstrate that you're taking measures to protect the confidentiality of the data.

Benefits of a Tenant Criminal Background Check

Doing a criminal background check is all about safety and security. In terms of your financial security, they help you protect your investment. If you rent to someone with an extensive criminal history, it's likely they'll use your property for illegal activities.

Tenants turning the place into something from a Breaking Bad spinoff is more than just bad for your reputation. It's more likely that tenants with a criminal history won't be able to pay rent.

Want to have fewer vacancies and evictions? Then look into criminal history.

Alternatives to Criminal Background Checks

Of course, criminal background checks shouldn't be your only investigative tool. Not all undesirable behavior leaves you with a criminal record. Maybe an applicant left their previous apartment in a bad state.

Unless they totally trashed the place, there wouldn't be police involvement. To get information about that kind of thing, you'd need to ask for a reference from a previous landlord.

Another option is a credit check. This establishes how financially reliable someone is. Taking on excessive debt isn't illegal, but you don't want to rent to someone who can't take financial responsibility.

Doing a Tenant Criminal Background Check Correctly Is Crucial

A tenant criminal background check is a crucial step in evaluating potential tenants. With that said, you need to make sure you do things legally. You should also do criminal checks as part of a holistic process.

Feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to consider? Many landlords do. The good news is there are options available. A good property management company has the expertise necessary.

PMI Cuyahoga Valley RAL has decades of experience doing comprehensive background checks for landlords like yourself. Contact us to learn how we can help.