How to Conduct a Tenant Criminal Background Check in Cleveland, OH

How to Conduct a Tenant Criminal Background Check in Cleveland, OH

Charm might be an attractive personal quality. But it's a tricky one to handle if you are trying to assess the trustworthiness of a potential tenant.

That's why landlords use background checks. It helps you step beyond the friendly demeanor and professional appearance and look at the hard data about whether that person will be a reliable tenant.

One of the most important screenings is the tenant criminal background check. Here is what you need to know about the process in Cleveland, Ohio.

Get Consent

You'll need the tenant's consent before you run a background check, so get this in writing. A signed consent form should outline what you intend to do and that the purpose is to check for a criminal record. You must also check local state laws to ensure your checks abide by all rules around tenant privacy rights.

Collect Information From the Tenant

Before beginning the background search, you'll need specific information from the tenant. Use a standard form to collect this, ideally online, for accuracy and better data handling.

The information will include the tenant's full legal name, address, date of birth, and social security number. A thorough check should also include any previous address.

Choose a Professional Tenant Screening Service

It's complex to try and do background checks yourself. You need the proper access to the most appropriate databases. That's why many landlords choose a professional team instead.

They'll understand how to work within the law and use the correct criminal databases to give you the most comprehensive check that helps protect you and your rental property.

Review the Criminal Background Report

Though timescales vary, you'll typically receive a background check report about your potential tenant in a few days. This report will outline all criminal convictions, explain their severity, and when they happened. That report should give you sufficient information to determine whether your property or rental income is at risk or if you have any tenants in neighboring properties.

Check Tenant Rights and Laws

You must not discriminate against tenants for your property. So, while you can screen applicants for criminal background, you must follow due procedure and keep everything in writing, including explaining to rejected tenants why they failed the screen. That way, you won't face a potential claim from rejected tenants.

Always Make Informed Decisions

Remember that a criminal check is only one of many tenant checks. Others include landlord references and a credit check. It's essential to get a comprehensive picture before making a decision.

If there is a criminal history, you must determine whether that affects the application. Does it make the potential tenant less reliable? If the rest of the background check is positive, that might show a picture of someone who would make a trustworthy tenant.

Running a Tenant Criminal Background Check

While most tenants will be trustworthy, it's important to be cautious. After all, your property is a massive investment. Running a tenant criminal background check is an essential step, and it should not be skipped.

PMI CLE eAgent has an extensive and well-established process for screening tenants. We can do a thorough background check and fast. Find out more about these services and our other property management services in Cleveland, Ohio.