Tenants with Criminal Records; A Continuing Evolution

In recent years a wide variety of laws have been enacted to protect individuals from potential disparate impact.  Ban-the-Box laws have eliminated the use of the question of past criminal history on the employment application and when a criminal background check can be conducted.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “The FHA is a legal act that protects individuals from discrimination in housing and HUD is tasked with protection.  Recently, HUD released updated guidelines on how to protect against disparate impact in housing during the application process.”

From the Village News, (Mar. 31, 17):

Disparate impact theory is when the housing provider has a facially neutral policy and applies it uniformly, but it impacts a group in one of the protected classes disproportionately than the other groups. Using the same policy as above, a housing provider may have a blanket policy of not allowing people who have been convicted of a felony and applies it uniformly to everyone who applies for housing. On its face, this does not seem like discrimination because the housing provider applies it to everyone and people who have been convicted of a felony are not a listed protected class in the Fair Housing Act. However, it could be discrimination under the disparate impact theory. (1)

Ultimately a landlord or property manager must utilize any and all policies for allowing an individual opportunity to rent in a fair, equal, and uniform manner.  To treat one individual differently from an existing policy would be disparate impact.  This could open up a landlord to legal action.

Disparate impact has been proven time and again, and a recent test by the Equal Rights Center has shown its impact.

Conducted by Kate Scott and staff of the ERC findings provided profound results:

From howhousingmatters.org (Mar. 30, 17):

  •  Housing providers exhibited more favorable treatment for the white female tester than the black female tester in 47 percent of the tests conducted.
  •  The black tester was only favored in 11 percent of the tests, while 42 percent of tests revealed no differential treatment.
  •  Twenty-eight percent of the screening policies for criminal records used by local housing providers may illegally cause a disparate impact based on race.
  •  Local housing providers should evaluate, revise, and increase the transparency of their criminal-record screening processes. (2)

Almeida states:  “A well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency should be able to assist any and all landlords and property managers in the creation and maintenance of a fully compliant tenant screening policy, one that can gather all the pertinent information required to make a well informed decision on a potential tenant.”

A tenant check can provide a landlord or property manager with the verification of information provided by an applicant.  This information includes:

·       Consumer Credit Reports

·       Eviction Information

·       Sex Offender Data

·       And Criminal History


Almeida states:  “Ultimately Criminal Records should remain a part of the tenant screening process but there are strict laws governing when a criminal record report can be pulled as well as for what purpose.  A solid tenant screening policy should include the exact reason information is pulled and how information is pulled in a uniform manner for all applicants.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company available to provide all the data and information a property manager requires in making a sound decision on a potential tenant.  With a well-trained and highly dedicated staff, TenantScreeningUSA.com can conduct and compile all background information necessary in the tenant vetting process.


(1)    villagenews.com/realestate/impact-excluding-tenants-prior-convictions/

(2)    howhousingmatters.org/articles/racial-discrimination-can-yield-differential-treatment-among-potential-renters-criminal-records/


Evictions and Law: Challenges in Tenant Screening

Eviction records are a key tool that landlords and property managers utilize to vet potential tenants, but laws governing the use of these records and the reporting of evictions continue to evolve and change.  Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “It is critical that landlords utilize a well-qualified third-party tenant screening company in order to stay current and compliant with all laws governing the use of public records during the course of the tenant screening process.”

One of the most important tools in tenant screening is the eviction report, a document that allows the landlord or property manager to create a picture of a potential tenants past responsibility toward a lawful contract over tenancy. “While eviction is a relatively simple concept,” Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states, “the lawful reasons for eviction can be relatively complex.”

Across the country the laws governing the fair, legal, and lawful use of evictions continue to change and evolve.  Simply put, eviction is the process of removing a tenant or tenants due to the failure to abide, conform, and/or fulfill a contract in which they have committed.  This could involve failure to pay rent, willing destruction of property, or illegal activities.

A bill currently making its way through the Missouri legislature is further defining what is lawful in regards to housing as related to victims of domestic violence.

From MissouriNet.com (Feb. 28, 17):

Missouri lawmakers are looking at a measure to allow housing renters to terminate their leases and change locks because of domestic violence.

It would further prohibit a landlord from terminating a lease or refusing to rent to someone who is the victim of such violence. (1)

Essentially the law allows for the protection of the victimized to maintain tenancy and not have any cessation of lease be reported to subsequent landlords.

From MissouriNet.com (Feb. 28, 17):

The measure would apply to a tenant or any household member who’s been harassed, stalked, abused or assaulted.  It would also prohibit rental screening services from disclosing a tenant’s status as a domestic violence victim, or reveal whether such a person has terminated a lease. (2)

But not every area of the country has housing laws that protect the rentals in a way such as the potential Missouri bill.  In Milwaukee some evictions took place due to legal action against the landlord which created confusion as to whom to pay the rent.  When the landlords legal status changes some tenants were allegedly evicted through illegal means.  Notices of eviction were placed against some individuals.

From JSOnline.com (Feb. 26, 17):

Landlords, judges, tenant advocates and academics agree that people are followed by their evictions. (3)

Almeida states:  “Evictions can plague tenants for several years, unless they petition the court for removal.  Unfortunately, in some areas, tenants are not adequately protected and wrongful, and often illegal, evictions can create extensive problems for their future rental efforts.”

“In the end,” Almeida states, “a best practice for landlords is to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening company to stay ahead of laws governing tenant screening practices and one that understands the nuance of legal and lawful eviction.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with highly trained investigators well versed in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, and all public record reports, as part of a tenant background check.


(1)    www.missourinet.com/2017/02/28/bill-in-mo-legislature-would-let-domestic-violence-victims-terminate-housing-leases/

(2)    missourinet.com/2017/02/28/

(3)     jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/2017/02/24/tenants-caught-legal-tangle-get-evicted/98058536/

Could British Immigration Style Tenant Checks Come to the United States?

Continuing angst over legal and illegal immigration has grown to a fevered pitch in the United States and shows no sign of abating in the coming weeks and months.  In a somewhat related issue Britain responded to illegal immigration challenges via a new policy called “Right to Rent.”

From The Belfast Telegraph (Feb 13, 17):

Right to Rent was rolled out across England last year, requires landlords to establish that tenants have a right to be in the country by taking copies of documents such as passports or identity cards. (1)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “Immigration is a major hot button issue in America as it has been in Britain.  The move to force landlords to check for legal right to be in the country has caused considerable challenge and concern in the UK.”

The Belfast Telegraph conducted research on the new policy and determined that it does, in fact, create significant challenges to landlords.

From the Belfast Telegraph (Feb. 13, 17):

The paper concluded: “The Right to Rent scheme conscripts ordinary members of civil society into the immigration enforcement arm of the Government, and does so in such a crude and ham-fisted fashion that it creates structural incentives for them to discriminate unlawfully against foreigners and ethnic minorities.” (2)

Other papers in the UK have taken note of the challenges with Right to Rent and statistics appear to point toward potential discrimination.

From MorningStarOnline (Jan 23, 17):

Statistics from research into the pilot scheme showed that 42 per cent of landlords admitted they are less likely to consider renting to someone who does not have a British passport, regardless of their actual migration status.

Moreover, a further 25 per cent stated that they would be less likely to open discussions with someone who “had a name which doesn’t sound British” or “had a foreign accent” and 65 per cent of landlords stated that they would be less likely to rent to someone who needs time to provide documentation. (3)

With the dramatic changes that have occurred with the new administration in Washington DC, specifically in its direction toward immigration, it is not impossible that a sudden and dramatic shift in tenant screening, similar to Right to Rent, could occur in the States.

California may be the first state to proactively introduce legislation to prevent an American Right to Rent law.

From CBS Sacramento (Feb 03, 17):

Assemblyman David Chiu’s said … he’s introduced a bill that would prohibit landlords from disclosing information related to tenants’ immigration status. AB291 would also bar them from threatening to report tenants to immigration authorities.

The San Francisco Democrat says his bill would eliminate one method President Donald Trump’s administration could use to deport immigrants.  (4)

Almeida states:  “Ultimately a best practice for tenants and landlords is to work with a well-qualified tenant screening agency in order to stay ahead of any potential legislation effecting tenant background checks.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening agency well versed in all aspects of tenant checks and can provide tenant screening packages for properties large and small.


(1)   belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/immigration-checks-on-tenants-fuelling-discrimination-report-warns-35445645.html

(2)   ibid

(3)   morningstaronline.co.uk/a-73f6-The-governments-racist-housing-policy#.WKECEdIrLIU

(4)   sacramento.cbslocal.com/2017/02/03/california-lawmaker-proposes-immigrant-tenant-protections/

Time to Review Tenant Screening Policies in the New Year

With the arrival of 2017 January is a great time to review tenant screening policies.  Regardless of property size, large or small, a best practice is to ensure all policies are up-to-date and current with laws and regulations governing tenant screening and the subsequent use of public records.

Tenant Screening laws, regulation, and policy frequently change and alter the legal landscape for landlords and property managers.  In April of 2016 HUD released a new guidance on tenant screening practices that caused considerable concern for landlords and property managers.

From the website of the San Francisco Chronicle (SFChronicle.com; Apr. 08. 16):

Landlords who have a blanket ban on renting to people with criminal background records could be charged with violating the federal Fair Housing Act, under guidance issued last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

However, a landlord who fails to screen prospective tenants for criminal records and rents to one who robs or hurts a neighbor could be sued by the victim.

That is the dilemma landlords now find themselves in as a result of HUD’s new guidance, which provides few specifics on how to comply. (1)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “HUDs policy changes have caused and will continue to create considerable confusion for property managers and landlords.  Subsequently, a best-practice, in order to maintain full compliance, is to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening company.”

Tenant screening is a critical tool utilized by property managers in selecting a potentially long-term tenant.  Some might suggest that long-term tenants are increasingly infrequent as the population of the United States becomes more transient.  Tenant screening remains critical.

Almeida states:  “Tenant screening can also assist in the prevention of property loss or damage as well as harm to current residents.  The information found in tenant background checks, combined with a thorough interview, will serve a landlord well.”

Another change landlords and property managers should be prepared for is with the ascendancy of Donald Trump to President and the potentially radical change that could occur.  Trump’s selection of Ben Carson as Secretary of HUD could bring around significant change as his views appear to be dramatically different that those of the current administration.

From the website of the New York Times (NYTimes.com; Dec. 05, 16):

In an opinion article in 2015 for The Washington Times, Mr. Carson compared an Obama administration housing regulation to “the failure of school busing” because it would place affordable housing “primarily in wealthier neighborhoods with few current minority residents.”

The rule, known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, was years in the making and designed to end decades-old segregation by offering affluent areas incentives to build affordable housing. Critics, including Mr. Carson, called it government overreach. (2)

Almeida states:  “All tenant screening policies should be reviewed based on recent changes by HUD as well as the potential of change with a new administration.  Having a third-party tenant company screening involved allows landlords and property managers to remain well informed and compliant with all existing and potential legislative changes.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that provides tenant checks to landlords and property managers for all sizes and types of rental complexes.  From the single-unit to the large community, TenantScreeningUSA.com has the ability to customize a tenant screening package specific to a managers unique requirements.


(1)   sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/New-HUD-guidance-on-criminal-records-puts-7237897.php

(2)   nytimes.com/2016/12/05/us/politics/ben-carson-housing-urban-development-trump.html

Ban-the-box Legislation in Tenant Screening Will Be Game Changer, States TenantScreeningUSA.com

Recently Washington DC lawmakers have advanced a bill banning the question of “criminal history” from all tenant rental applications.  Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines: “The move by the DC City Council to ban-the-box on tenant applications is a game changer and could have significant consequence across the country.”

The Washington DC City Council has moved forward potential legislation that would ban-the-box on tenant applications.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines:  “The potential effect of the Washington DC City Council over banning-the-box on rental applications could have an enormous impact.  Much like ban-the-box legislation governing the fair, legal, and lawful use of criminal records in pre-employment background screening has had significant impact in employment screening a similar effect will be felt in tenant screening.”

From NextCity.com (Dec. 05, 16):

In language that closely mirrors “ban-the-box” legislation barring employers from asking about criminal history on job applications, a bill advanced last week by the D.C. City Council’s Committee on the Judiciary would prohibit landlords from asking potential tenants about prior convictions before making a housing offer, reports DCist. (1)

Ban-the-box legislation in employment removes the question of criminal history from the application and delays when the question of a criminal history can actually be asked during the hiring process.  In most cases the question of criminal history can only be asked after an offer of employment has been made to the candidate.
From NextCity.com (Dec. 05, 16):

Under the Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016, co-introduced by McDuffie in April, landlords will not be allowed to ask about prior convictions before extending a conditional housing offer. Around 60,000 D.C. residents have criminal conviction records, according to the Washington Lawyer’s Committee, and about 8,000 more people are released each year.

Once landlords make a housing offer, they are allowed to take into account certain types of convictions — including rape, murder, assault, arson, robbery, sex abuse and fraud — if they’ve occurred in the past seven years. The offer can then be revoked only if the landlord determines “on balance, that the withdrawal achieves a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest.” (2)

Enacting ban-the-box legislation regarding rental properties is a move to reduce discrimination during the vetting process.

Almeida states:  “This legislation does not eliminate the use of criminal background records.  Rather, it controls the exact timing and use.

The action in Washington DC is not new as there are a few communities with intiatives such as Washington’s.  However, it is a clear indication of banning-the-box in the rental space gaining traction.  Property managers and landlords should take note.

From DCist.com (Nov. 30, 16):

While more than 100 cities and counties and 13 states have “ban the box” laws on the books, initiatives for housing applications are less common. San Francisco; Los Angeles; Dane County, Wisconsin; and Champaign, Illinois are among the handful of jurisdictions around the country with similar ordinances to the one the D.C. Council is considering. (3)

Almeida concludes:  “Again, the move by the DC City Council is a definite game changer, one landlords and property managers should immediately take note.  Working with a third-party tenant screening company is certainly a best practice specifically to stay in full compliance.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with highly trained investigators well versed in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, and all public record reports, as part of a tenant check


  1. nextcity.org/daily/entry/washington-dc-ban-the-box-housing-applications
  2. nextcity.org/daily/entry/washington-dc-ban-the-box-housing-applications
  3. dcist.com/2016/11/dc_council_committee_moves_to_ban_t.php

Tenant Screening 101 – A Review

What is tenant screening?

Tenant screening is a form of background screening utilized by landlords and property managers to vet applicants of rental property.  A rental property could be a room, house, or apartment.  Often times tenant screening is conducted on vacation rental properties for periods longer than a week or two.

Tenant screening utilizes information gathered from public reports.

What is a public report or record?

Any time a person interacts with a public agency information is obtained and stored.  The criminal justice system is one such source as is the department of motor vehicles.  Further, credit information drawn from one of the three major credit reporting agencies can be used in tenant screening under specific and special circumstances.

Which public records are being used in tenant screening?

Of the many different reports there are three key documents.

  1.      Consumer credit report
  2.      Evictions
  3.      Criminal History/Sex Offender Registry

A Consumer Credit report – This report is provided by a credit bureau and contains information on an applicant’s credit worthiness or ability to pay.  A credit report contains information on loans and credit arrangements, including contracts and revolving credit plans.  It will also contain critical payment information as well as action taken by issuers of credit.  Consumer credit reports can only be created after an applicant provides explicit written permission and has been informed of individual rights regarding the ability to correct any information and acquire a copy of the report used during the tenant background check.

Evictions – This report provides information on a potential tenant’s rental history.  Just as the name suggests an eviction report shows any history of eviction from previous landlords or property managers.

Criminal History/Sex Offender RegistryCriminal background checks will provide any recordable interaction with the justice system, primary the police or sheriff departments.  This may include minor misdemeanors or major felonies.  It should be noted that recent actions by the Department of Housing and Urban Development may restrict the use of criminal history.

Are there other reports available to a landlord?

A landlord can gain access to any public record.  Other records that may be of interest include:  Civil Records, Nationwide Criminal, Liens and Judgments, and Verifications. A best practice for a landlord would be to let a renter know exactly what information is being requested and used.

Should the owner of a small apartment building or single family dwelling use a tenant screening company?

Regardless of property size a landlord or property manager should use a third-party tenant screening company.

A well-qualified tenant screening company maintains compliance and understanding of all rules, regulations, and laws governing the use of public records.  Further, a tenant screening company will have the security and systems in place that can maintain, control and store all the sensitive information used during the tenant screening process.

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that provides tenant checks to landlords and property managers for all sizes and types of rental complexes.  From the single-unit to the large community, TenantScreeningUSA.com has the ability to customize a tenant screening package specific to a managers unique requirements.

Registered Sex Offenders and Housing: A Situation Guaranteed to Challenge

Conducting a background check on new tenants (often referred to as a tenant check) has one purpose:  Risk Mitigation.  There are three key areas a landlord or property manager wants to mitigate risk:

  1.      Property
  2.      Perception
  3.      People
  •          The protection of property is obvious.  A landlord wants to keep a property fully occupied and in working order.  Without occupancy there is no income.  An empty apartment or house that requires a great deal of repair is costly.  And the longer the property sits empty and unoccupied the greater the loss.
  •          The protection of perception is a little trickier to define.  Everyone knows that one apartment complex that lacks in repair, engages in frequent police activity or has walls covered in numerous tags; essentially unkempt and falling apart.  The perception of this property is very low and the opportunity to upgrade that perception in order to attract a more viable clientele can be a challenge.
  •         Protecting people is, perhaps, the most important duty of a landlord or property manager during the tenant vetting process.  Many of the public records that might be utilized are specific to the person.  These reports will contain information about an individual’s past that may highlight indiscretions or legal issues that could indicate future behavior.

When one considers these three segments of risk mitigation tenant screening, along with a thorough interview and complete application, can greater assist in eliminating or substantially decreasing risk.

One of the more complex considerations faced within tenant screening is an applicant who is on the national sex offender registry.  Placement on the registry occurs when an individual is convicted of a sex-based crime, either misdemeanor or felony.  Subsequently, regardless the severity of the conviction, placement on the registry could follow an individual through the entirety of their life.

For example, a low-level misdemeanor conviction for public urination is often phrased as indecent exposure or public lewdness, both offenses that may require registering as a sex offender.

Housing for registered sex offenders often follow strict guidelines.  Each state has specific requirements for where an offender can take up residence.  These rules often require living a certain distance away from gathering places for minors, such as schools, parks and churches.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “It is important that a landlord use a tenant background check the right way and in an intelligent way.  There is no law that states a landlord must rent to a registered sex offender. The severity of the crime may be a guide for a landlord, but protecting existing tenants, especially families, is of equal or higher consideration.”

Third-party tenant screening companies can provide landlords and property managers the information needed to make a well informed decision about an individual.  Sex offender registry information can be provided as part of a tenant screening package.

When push comes to shove, landlords discovering an applicant on a registry may have a difficult choice to make, one that is generally not covered under code or law.  While it is true that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has recently released new guidance on the use of Criminal Records as a part of the tenant vetting process, the use of sex offender registry information is entirely on the landlord.

While the decision over which tenant to select can be a challenge, access to information is not.  TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company with the ability to provide fast, accurate, low-cost information that allows a landlord a little more peace of mind in making decisions.

Unlawful Detainers: At the Center of Landlord/Property Manager Challenges

“There are a number of terms within the rental and tenant screening world that can sometimes be confusing and unlawful detainer is one such term,” states Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com.  Often used interchangeably with evictions, unlawful detainers are specifically: “The act of retaining possession of property without legal right.”(1)

One of the great challenges a landlord and/or property manager faces is dealing with the legal aspect of renting.  From the application process and tenant screening through the potential of eviction, the process of renting property can be enormously complex, especially for new landlords.

During the application process landlords and/or property managers go through several steps in the process of selecting a new tenant.  First and foremost is the application.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “Rental applications should be very clear and very uniform among potential renters.  Special care should be taken in regards to specific questions asked on applications.  Recently the Department of Housing and Urban Development put out a guidance regarding the legal and lawful use of Criminal Records during the application process.”

There are a wide variety of public and private records and information points that can be gathered and utilized to verify information collected on a rental application.

One piece of information that is front and center during the vetting process is eviction.  Eviction reports can show information on tenants that were legally removed from a rental property.

It is important to note that many landlords/property managers use the term Unlawful Detainer interchangeably with Evictions.  For the new landlord this can be confusing.

Unlawful Detainer, in regards to tenant screening, can be defined as:

“The term unlawful detainer ordinarily refers to the conduct of a tenant who is in possession of an apartment or leased property and refuses to leave the premises upon the expiration or termination of the lease.” (2)

In short Unlawful Detainer is a legal action landlords use to evict a tenant.

Almeida adds:  “Bare in mind that Unlawful Detainer action in the courts can be complicated and confusing for newer landlords.  The eviction process as a whole is time consuming and expensive.  A best practice is to utilize a third-party tenant screening company in order to prevent the potential of eviction.”

As a tool for landlords Unlawful Detainer can be effective.

From the California Department of Consumer Affairs webpage (dca.ca.gov):

Recent laws designed to abate drug dealing and unlawful use, manufacture, or possession of weapons and ammunition, permit a city attorney or prosecutor in selected jurisdictions to file an unlawful detainer action against a tenant based on an arrest report (or other action or report by law enforcement or regulatory agencies) if the landlord fails to evict the tenant after 30 days’ notice from the city. The tenant must be notified of the nature of the action and possible defenses. (3)

Almeida states:  “In the end a best practice for landlords and property managers is to do the homework upfront.  Conduct the application, review the data, confirm through a tenant background check utilizing a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company available to provide all the data and information a property manager requires in making a sound decision on a potential tenant.  With a well-trained and highly dedicated staff, TenantScreeningUSA.com can perform criminal background checks, eviction record checks and professional reference verifications.


(1)   legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Unlawful+Detainer

(2)   legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Unlawful+Detainer

(3)   dca.ca.gov

Evolving Trends in New Student Housing Still Include Tenant Screening; States TenantScreeningUSA.com

Increasingly college housing has become upscale and a recent student housing project at Arizona State points to emerging trends to fit the needs and requirements of incoming and existing college students.  Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “College housing can be an important part of the college experience and whether it is a new project or an existing home or apartment, tenant screening will always remain a key part in vetting college students looking to rent.”

As thousands of students start or return to the college environment many will be moving into student housing.  Over the years student housing has evolved from a simple dormitory or off-campus apartment to luxurious high scale housing projects.  Regardless the type of facility tenant screening should always be an integral part of the student rental applicant vetting process.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states:  “The importance of vetting a first time renter, in this conversation a college student, is no different than vetting an older, experienced renter.  Risk mitigation is the key factor in tenant background screening and there is no better environment than college housing that should be risk adverse.”

A recent project at Arizona State has highlighted the changing trends in student housing:

From Urbanland.uli.org (Aug. 01, 16):

The market has been indicating a strong preference for pedestrian-oriented student housing close to campus, with amenities and conveniences and perhaps some mixed retail on site. However, well-located property costs have risen, municipal permits and approvals have a longer gestation period now, and the cost of construction has soared. This has thinned developers’ profit margins and forced rents higher than in years past. To combat these challenges, a lot of developers are constructing some of their own buildings—becoming a general contractor to take out the extra layer of fees that would be involved with a third party. And these factors have forced the square footage of the units to be smaller than in years past, to save costs. (1)

Almeida states:  “Changing cost models may force cuts in spending in other areas, such as tenant screening.  However this would be a mistake.  For a relatively low cost, a tenant background check can greatly assist a landlord or property manager in making a well-informed decision about a potential tenant.”

Ultimately student housing remains a big business.  As noted by the Arizona State project, student housing projects are on the rise and big business for the private sector.

From Bloomberg.com (Aug. 01, 16):

The long-term theme is that college enrollment has boomed over the past few decades, and investment in new on-campus dorms hasn’t come close to keeping up. In the short term, the shares are likely rising because investors are looking to hedge against the possibility of a U.S. recession.

“In an environment of striking political and economic uncertainty, public investors are ascribing value to [the] certainty of cash flows in student housing,” said Ryan Burke, an analyst at Green Street Advisors. “In [the] young life of purpose-built student housing, it’s performed really well in good and bad times.” (2)

Almeida adds:  “Student housing continues to be a big business and will continue to grow as enrollment expands.  As the values of these properties and, subsequently, the rent rates increase it is critical for landlords and property managers to work with a well qualified tenant screening company for all tenant checks. To protect property and person and mitigate risk.”

A third-party tenant screening company can provide easy access to a wide variety of public records and verifiable references.  With a young renter without a significant credit history a reference verification may be the most important piece of information for a property manager.

Almeida concludes:  “Get the credit report, conduct the tenant check, and let a third-party verify all references.  They have the systems and processes available to be able to fulfill all the requirements of a landlord or property manager quickly, efficiently, and in a cost effective manner.”

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company available to provide all the data and information a property manager requires in making a sound decision on a potential tenant.  With a well-trained and highly dedicated staff, TenantScreeningUSA.com can conduct and compile all reference verification.  Save money and time by working with TenantScreeningUSA.com.


  1.   urbanland.uli.org/industry-sectors/residential/outlook-student-housing/
  2.   bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-01/these-landlords-are-making-a-killing-on-college-students




Recent Thefts at Self-Storage Units Highlight Need to “Think Outside the Box” With Background Screening

There are numerous and very obvious areas where background screening is an important tool.  Pre-employment screening may be first on the list of obvious choices.  A significant number of businesses and organizations do background screening, at least minimally, as background checks have proven to provide critical and important information that greatly assists hiring managers.  But there are numerous other areas where background screening may prove useful.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states:  “Ultimately a background check, whether it is for employment related services or in other areas, is about mitigating risk.”

Mitigating risk falls into a couple different categories.

  •      Protection of person –
  •      Protection of property –

When one thinks about the protection of person the best example may be tenant screening.  A landlord or property manager’s primary responsibility is to protect tenants and protection comes in many forms.  Locking gates, secure entry and exit, well maintained landscapes and tenant screening.

Protection of property may be illustrated in pre-employment screening.  It would be simple to think of pre-employment background checks as a tool used only to protect current employees from potential threat from new employees but this aspect is just a part of the story.  Pre-employment background checks protect property as well, specifically considering theft or damage of property.  Through the collection and dissemination of critical information gathered from public records and verifications a hiring manager will have a heightened ability to make an informed decision about hiring a given individual.

But one area background screening may not seem readily present is with the rental of self-storage units.

From insideselfstorage.com (no date given):

In fact, the easiest way to get around your security is to become a tenant. This may be shocking, but if you think about it, it’s quite brilliant. A thief who’s a tenant has easy access to units and can literally walk right past you without causing a doubt in your mind. You might have a break-in every month, increase security accordingly, and never know the burglar was right under your nose the whole time.

What’s even worse is these crimes won’t just cost you time and money; they’ll cost you customers and your company’s reputation as well. (1)

Almeida states:  “It is important to understand that background checks, regardless of who or why, must always remain compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  A third-party background screening or tenant screening company would be a best practice for Self-Storage facilities.”

From insideselfstorage.com:

The best thing you can do is initiate strict tenant-screening practices that include background, credit and rental-history checks. (2)

Tenant screening is a relatively simple process that draws information from public records as well as verifications collected through phone conversations.  Certainly not all reports would apply.

Sample reports might include:

  • Consumer Credit Report – Validate financial wherewithal.
  • Eviction Record – This report shows traditional evictions from rental properties but could expose a pattern of behavior that could be of concern to the self-storage landlord.
  • Personal References – Verification.
  • Criminal History

Almeida states:  “The use of criminal history in many instances has come into question and further illustrates the need for self-storage landlords to work with third-party tenant screening companies.”
When it comes to mitigating risk the use of a background check is an important and, often, critical tool utilized by a wide variety of companies and organizations.  Managers of self-storage units may want to use a tenant-check to further protect existing and new clients.

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that provides tenant background checks to landlords and property managers for all sizes and types of rental complexes, including self-storage.  From the single-unit to the large community, TenantScreeningUSA.com has the ability to customize a tenant screening package specific to a managers unique requirements.


  1. insideselfstorage.com/articles/2016/06/screening-your-selfstorage-tenants-preventing-internal-threats-to-your-business.aspx
  2. insideselfstorage.com/articles/2016/06/screening-your-selfstorage-tenants-preventing-internal-threats-to-your-business.aspx