Potential Tenant has own Criminal check

10 Replies

I have been contacted by a teacher that is interested in the property. She states that her job does a yearly criminal check and wants me to use it. Hers was done in August of this year. I want to keep my application process the same for everyone, but I have been contacted a couple times with this scenario.

 What are your thoughts?

I would just say no.  I  know they do these checks for certain professions but you really just need to make a policy and stick to it.  Who knows when someone will falsify a record.

You can just use fair housing and say that we need to treat everyone the same and based on our application process we need to have our own criminal record check.  (of course only if that is in fact true).  It is not a lack of trust in them but rather that you have set a standard that you will stick to.

I would also say "no".  The public school system wouldn't accept your background check if the situation was reversed, and nor should you.

A middle school student can falsify a background check with photoshop in less than 5 minutes.  It's too risky. 

Nope. Independently run or it doesn't exist. I wouldn't trust anything anyone brought me in their hand pertaining to credit or background. What is her reasoning? To save the fee? Sorry, that's a cost of doing business. Otherwise, if she doesn't care to pay again, what is the harm in running one fresh? 

@Carolina E. Most of the landlords here on BP recommend the same screening for all tenants. If you get lenient you might end up in trouble. I would screen her the same way you screen your other tenants. It's a red flag when a tenant doesnt want to be screened because they can 'supply' the intel themselves. 

You are also starting down the path of the tenant thinking they can work your system and not play by the rules you set as a landlord/business owner (not saying this client is, but most will).  Tenant training is the most important part of your business.  If your tenant sees you stick to the rules and do what you are going to say you are going to do then you are less likely to have any issues during their tenancy.  

All great posts IMO. The answer is no! 

Verification document you can obtain from a tenant applicant, if you use them:

Bank statements

Tax Returns

Loan statements 

Financial statements they prepare

W-2 statement

All of the above can be verified after they sign an authorization to verify information, with the exception of their financial statements (self employed folks) as this would be a representation made to contract (ie, they take bankruptcy 4 months latter and fluffed their balance sheet you can terminate the lease if you cover representations made correctly)

Any other verification document must be done under what is called "dual control" procedures, from the verifying source directly to you. An employment verification for example, they sign the request, you mail (fax) to the employer and they send it back. These types of verifications should never be accepted from an applicant. 

Background checks are from the source provider, never accepted from a third party. Same with any credit report. 

I'd simply say "We must follow applicable law/regulations concerning our verification process being under dual control, sorry, but I cannot accept documents from third parties".

And totally agree, train the tenant early on, it begins at the time of application. Clearly have a meeting of the minds about your requirements!  :)