How Tenant Criminal Background Checks Can Help Landlords Avoid Legal Trouble

How Tenant Criminal Background Checks Can Help Landlords Avoid Legal Trouble

Criminals are more common than you might think. In the US, approximately 70 million people have a criminal record of some sort. That's a fifth of the country.

Looking at that statistic, it's imperative for every landlord to conduct tenant criminal background checks. That they prevent criminals from living on your property is obvious, but there's more to it than that. Tenant criminal background checks can also keep you from falling into legal hot water.

Read on as we look at how tenant screening reduces landlord liability in Merced, California.

Tenant Criminal Background Checks Help You Avoid Felons

A criminal record is not always a dealbreaker. Take, for example, the 41 million Americans who end up with speeding tickets every year. It wouldn't make sense to give up rental income if someone just had the misfortune of falling for a speed trap.

However, the bigger issue for property management is felons, particularly sexual predators. These are not just bad people they have on your property. They threaten the well-being of other tenants and neighbors.

Suppose a felon victimizes the tenant in an adjoining property. The legal fallout could bite you in the behind. The importance of a background check is made apparent by how it prevents such a situation from materializing in the first place.

They Prevent Eviction Troubles

An unruly or disrespectful tenant sucks, but at least they pay rent. All of that changes when they stop making their payments. Your only resort at that point is the process of eviction, but it's messy.

For starters, you cannot force them off the property or shut off their utilities. You can't even change the locks, for Pete's sake.

You have to go through a lengthy court process and serve the tenant eviction papers. It's only when they refuse after this long legal battle that a sheriff can remove them from the premises.

This presents a lot of potential legal issues if you make a mistake during the process -- for example, if your communication with the tenant is interpreted as hostile or threatening. It's better to get tenant screening and never deal with that in the first place.

They Prevent Discrimination Claims

A common situation is that a landlord only screens specific tenants for discriminatory reasons. This gets them in trouble with the law and could cause a huge discrimination lawsuit. Even if that wasn't the landlord's intention, the end result is the same.

Doing background checks across the board for all tenants proves that you are impartial. It makes it a lot harder for a tenant to accuse you of denying their application due to prejudice.

Manage with PMI in Merced

Tenant criminal background checks do more than just keep criminals out. They help you avoid legal issues that could arise with felons and future evictions. If anything, they reduce the likelihood of discrimination lawsuits.

PMI Merced brings state-of-the-art technology and friendly customer service to the Merced, California, area. Our team shares dozens of years of combined experience and a love for the industry. Enjoy a stress-free landlord experience by starting with our free rental analysis.