Tenant Screening and Evictions: Recent Events

Evictions are increasing across the United States and for a variety of reasons:  Higher rents and job loss are the most common.  And, subsequently, evictions can create considerable stress on families, causing disruption of routine, lifestyle, and education.

In New York, as well as across the country, tenants can get evicted for calling on police for assistance.

From the ACLU webpage (Jan 23, 18):

The second time that Laurie Grape called the police during an attack by her then-boyfriend, they told her that a third call would get her evicted. Under a local law in East Rochester, New York, three police responses to the same property within a 12-month period were once grounds for a person to be kicked out of her home. The next time her ex-boyfriend attacked her, Laurie decided to stay silent rather than risk eviction. (1)

While it is incumbent on landlord or property manager to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency in order to remain compliant with existing law, the reasons for an eviction should be taken into consideration as well.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com opines:  “Eviction reports are a critical tool in the vetting process but understanding the reason for such an eviction may be of benefit for the landlord.”

There are instances when such a law may actually cause more harm than good.

Again, the ACLU webpage (Jan 23, 18):

When tenants are told that calling the police could result in their eviction, they stop reporting crimes or dangerous conditions, making police officers’ jobs more difficult. And nuisance ordinances are not tailored to prevent crime because they often punish landlords and tenants regardless of whether a given crime was committed by someone connected to the property where it took place. (2)

Another reason for eviction is a tax lien.  And it may not be the fault of the tenant.  When a landlord/property owner falls behind on paying for property taxes, or water/sewer bills, properties may be foreclosed on and, subsequently, property sold.  And the renters potentially face eviction.

From the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (Jan 23, 18):

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting, uncovered dozens of eviction cases across the state in the aftermath of tax lien foreclosures. (3)

Evictions also take a personal toll.

A woman and her family in Kansas City were evicted from public housing due to delinquent

utility payments.

From FlatlandKC.org (Jan 29, 18):

… fell behind on payments, and the gas was shut off to her government-subsidized apartment in Kansas City. That violated a Kansas City Housing Authority rule and caused her to lose her rent voucher. Her landlord went to court to have her removed. (4)

The loss of housing forced her children out of school, thereby disrupting their lives and educational progress.

Almeida states:  “Evictions can be harsh, but understanding the reason for eviction could be valuable to a landlord or property manager.  Knowing an applicant’s entire background through application, interview, and tenant check will allow a landlord to make a sound decision.”

Ultimately a best practice for landlords and property managers is to work with a well-qualified tenant screening agency.  Evictions happen and it is incumbent on a landlord to understand the circumstances of that eviction.  A tenant screening agency can assist with tenant background checks and maintaining compliance with all laws governing tenant screening.

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party background screening company that offers thorough, affordable, and secure tenant checks for property managers large and small.  TenantScreeningUSA.com is fully compliant with all local, state, and federal regulations that enforce the tenant screening industry.  They are also a proud member of NAPBS.

Notes:

  1.  aclu.org/blog/womens-rights/violence-against-women/tenants-can-get-evicted-calling-police-across-new-york-and
  2. aclu.org (ibid)
  3.  necir.org/2018/01/23/renters-face-eviction-wake-tax-lien-foreclosures/
  4. flatlandkc.org/public-works/level-foundation/reporting/education-evictions-kansas-city/

 

Speak Your Mind

*