Do I need to provide background check results to rejected tenant?

10 Replies

Hi all, I ran a criminal background check on a tenant applicant.  Due to his criminal history, I rejected him.  He is requesting a copy of this report.  Is there a law in Illinois/Aurora that requires me to provide any details to him, other than notification on how can he obtain the credit report? (I rejected him due to his criminal record).  My initial thought was that this is not something that I should be doing.  Can someone please chime in?

Search out your state landlord tenant regulations on line.

My advice is that you do not take his calls or respond to his requests. He will eventually go away. Landlords should never tell any applicant why they are rejected. All it does is gave them ammunition to argue.

It is, in my opinion, not information applicants are entitled to have. 

Check with your lawyer. Federal, state, and local laws apply.

Discriminating on the basis of criminal records may be the basis for a race discrimination suit, because minorities have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites do. So convictions for the moral equivilent of jaywalking souldn't be used in most cases. Even more serious offenses have to be looked at on a case by case basis -- type of offense, etc. 

Does that mean that you should give him the information? Only if the law requires it. Just keep in mind that there is almost nothing that is a per se disqualifier, and if you are using criminal records as a per se disqualifier you may have a risk.

Hi Pete! If you ran the check through an online service, you can always let them know they can reach out to the screening company directly to obtain a copy of their report. If you did not screen them through an online service, I'd recommend doing what the others said and check out your state's landlord-tenant laws. Best of luck! 

Regardless of the answer to this specific situation it is mandatory that all landlords know all your state landlord tenant regulations, you are operating a business and it is foolish to not know the law. Before you do anything else learn your regulations in their entirety of face the legal consequences.

Ignorance is a excuse the courts do not accept..

I provided the notice on how to obtain the report to the applicant, a feature available through the online rental application service that I use. That was the end of it. I did not seek legal advice. The applicant never followed up. I forgot to mention that the applicant lied about his criminal record on the application.

@Jane Garvey is an Active Investor & Educator in the area of Real Estate Investing & Real Estate Education. She is also a Landlord, Author, Group leader and Legislative Activist. In 1983 Jane co-founded the Chicago Creative Investors Association , where she currently provides education, motivation and networking opportunity reaching over 4000 real estate investors area wide. Jane was instrumental in founding the National Real Estate Investors Association and served in various capacities on its Board of Directors. She is a great resource. In addition, I would say take the classes offered by the city of Aurora and also the one's Sponsored by CIC Chicago for landlords. 

Pete , First question I have was that the only Factor ?

Was it possible this perspective tenant had a low Credit score and his credit history showed a pattern of to much debt .

Sometimes there is overwhelming data .   To answer your question regarding criminal background I don't believe there is harm in giving the person there own information back .  It's public records anyway 

Hope this helps !