How To Obtain Criminal Report For A Tenant

20 Replies

Hi Bigger Pockets,

I need some help!!! I need to know how do I go about obtaining a criminal report for a potential tenant I am considering renting to. I've tried contacting the local police department to no avail. I know this is something I should have implemented a long time ago but just did not know how to go about doing so. Any input is greatly appreciated.  Happy investing



Hi, as a Realtor, I have used the following service ( the prospective tenant should pay the fee for the search):
It is a comprehensive search that includes eviction history as well as criminal records
Check it out

Hi yes it does include credit scores.  Checkout a sample report on the website

In Oklahoma, we can go to a website ( that provides records of any court actions (traffic infractions, bankruptcies, sued by lender, domestic abuse, etc.) for all 77 counties.  Its records go back to the 1980's.

I know that doesn't help you in NY, but they may have something similar there.

Virginia records are public as well.  Try googling (yup I used it as a verb) court cases for your state. 

Thanks guys. Jim ... my rentals are in North Carolina. So any thing in this jurisdiction would help. The issue I have at hand is should I rent to an convicted felon?? I know this sounds a bit strange but I am baffled by the situation as well. I approved a rental application not knowing that one of the occupants will be coming straight from a correctional facility into my rental!!!! The applicant failed to tell me that one of the occupants who will reside at property is currently in jail. The charge is obtaining property under false pretense/ forgery.   So many thoughts...but don't know what to do? Any advise?

@Chris Martin  might've able to tell you how to do criminal backgrounds in NC. 

I used to use National Tenant Network, and they can pull state and national criminal records.  This site might also be helpful for NC State specific records

The site @Derek B.  references is a good site for NC criminal convictions of any type, regardless of incarceration record. To have a near certain match you only need a name and date of birth. With a smart phone, you can check the criminal history of people in NC while you are on the phone with them... a nice time saver. BTW certain out of state crimes (e.g. homicide) will transfer to the NC DPS site, but not all. So using NTN or other screening is still necessary, but the NC DPS search is good as a preliminary screening tool.

I was mistaken.  @Chris Martin  is correct.  The offender search will include crimes where there was no incarceration (like dui).  Also good to know that some out of state information will feed into that database.  Thanks Chris.

Does it get any better!!!....... A wealth of information at your fingertips complimentary of the BP family .  Thanks Chris & Derek

@Chris Martin  @Derek B.  

Thanks for the link!  Are you sure it includes DUI, etc records?  I tested it by putting in an old friend's name who had three DUIs and was in jail for the last one, and his name didn't show up.  How accurate do you typically find this site to be?

@Dawn Brenengen  I have seen some single offense midemeanors without time served , including dui, come up through this database.  That said, its probably still best as an initial screening tool since it mostly* covers one state.  Given that its free, it is a good place to start.

I use people smart it helps in locating property owners and finding criminal backgrounds.

@Derek B.  Thanks!  I use a paid screening service anyway, so I was just asking out of curiosity.  I'm not sure what area they serve, but I use a company based out of Charlotte called Resident Research.  They do a fantastic job of screening applicants and package it in a nice little report for me.

Originally posted by @Dawn Brenengen :

@Chris Martin @Derek B.  

Thanks for the link!  Are you sure it includes DUI, etc records?  I tested it by putting in an old friend's name who had three DUIs and was in jail for the last one, and his name didn't show up.  How accurate do you typically find this site to be?

The 'tool' is based on criminal convitions. It is very possible a person was charged with DUI, was 'in jail' (pre-conviction) but did not get convicted of a crime (e.g. they got a good lawyer;) and therefore did not show up in NC DPS. I personally know of multiple cases where the above occurred and the person was never convicted even after 'in jail' time pending a court appearance. In the cases I am first-hand aware of, my company didn't experience any financial impairment. In these cases, the "system" worked as expected. I don't care if a person is arrested or charged. If they don't pay rent, that's a different matter. If it results in a conviction, that's also a different matter. I let the judicial system work through the process. We evaluate based on the judical system results.

Regarding 'How accurate do you typically find this site to be?' I'd say that for NC convictions, this site provides the same database information that you would find in NTN or screeningWorks. So, it is accurate and we view it as a primary information source.

Does anyone know of similar sites in GA?

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