By Mel L.
When leasing rental property a landlord or property manager must seriously consider conducting criminal background investigations as part of the leasing process. It is the responsibility of landlords to know exactly what type of tenants will be moving into a rental property by conducting thorough background checks on any and all prospects. Background checks not only help to ensure that there will be no illegal activities conducted at the residence but is also helps maintain property values by keeping our neighborhoods safe.
Many of us carry the misconception that criminals seeking a residence to conduct their illegal activities only tend to reside in low-income run down neighborhoods but this assumption is false. Many of today’s criminals are much more smarter, choosing to live in upscale subdivisions with middle to upper class home owners as a better way of blending in and hiding their criminal activities. Dangerous criminals can be residing in our neighborhoods without us even being aware of the potential dangers they may present unless the proper preliminary background investigations are conducted.
As a landlord, when renting to potential tenants it is always worth the time to conduct criminal background investigations as a precautionary measure for the protection of your property and neighboring community. Occupying available rental property must not be the only focus when leasing. Moving someone in that may cause serious damage to the appearance and value of your property can prove to be much more costly than the five minutes it would take to run a simple background check on potential tenants.
Landlords at a very minimal cost can conduct their own preliminary leasing background checks without hiring outside agencies that may often cost more. In the past criminal background investigations were primarily conducted by outsourced agencies but due to the internet and new online technology anyone can conduct their own background investigation from anywhere in less than five minutes. Because many criminals tend to move from state to state to escape their criminal past, most background investigations can be done on a state or federal level.
This article is not intended to imply that everyone with a criminal past would not make good tenants or community members but the fact is there are some individuals who wont. As landlords or property managers we have a responsibility to ourselves and to our community to conduct the proper background checks when making leasing decisions. Sometimes landlords or property managers tend to occupy vacant leasing space simply on a first come basis but there are additional measures that should be taken to protect everyone’s best interest.