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Why Seattle Landlords Should Perform a Tenant Criminal Background Check

Why Seattle Landlords Should Perform a Tenant Criminal Background Check

If you're looking to get new tenants into your rental property soon, there's a long list of boxes you'll need to check before letting new people move in. One of the most critical but often overlooked steps is the tenant criminal background check.

About a third of American adults have some form of criminal record. Doing a background check can reduce the risk of renting to someone dangerous, and it can also green-light a good person who has had an unfortunate run-in with the law. Learn more about the importance of a criminal background check in this quick guide.

Protecting Your Property

The tenant screening process is a major part of risk assessment. Many things in a tenant's history can be red flags and non-criminal, but criminality can be exceptionally costly. Certain types of criminal behavior can severely threaten your property's security and even people's safety.

Apart from violent crimes, criminal records with serial arson, property damage, and fraud contain the most risk. All of these can pose serious financial risks to your rental business. You can get around these risks by screening tenants or using a tenant placement service that does the screening for you.

Separating the Wheat From the Chaff

Not everyone with a criminal record is bad. Many people go through the prison system and become profoundly rehabilitated and good. Some may not even have spent a day in prison.

However, everyone with a criminal record struggles to find a place to live. If someone does have a record, they may appreciate the opportunity and be a great tenant. If they're a good tenant, they're also far more likely to stay longer, reducing vacancy losses.

Doing an in-depth background check will tell you whether someone's dangerous. It puts you in a position to see if they'll be an ideal tenant or a security risk.

Reducing Legal Risk

In Washington, landlord responsibilities include providing all tenants with a safe and secure environment. Part of this responsibility includes running a proper criminal background check. If someone with a serious criminal history causes trouble and you fail to do a background check, you could be held partially liable for ensuing damages.

However, you may not contravene Fair Housing Laws by discriminating against everyone with a criminal record either. You're also not allowed to do a background check without the person's permission. The best way to get these tensions to work together is by getting a property manager to help run your background checks and set up your policies.

Run a Bulletproof Tenant Criminal Background Check

A tenant criminal background check is a vital part of the tenant screening process. Without such a check, you could rent to a potentially harmful person and be partially liable for any damage they cause.

Sometimes, renting to someone with a record has amazing benefits. Doing the background check lets you make an informed decision.

Owning a rental unit can come with much more admin and hard work than many people have time for. At Brink, we provide unbeatable service to property owners and tenants. Contact us today for the best tenant screening service available on the market.