Property management expert witness Ann E. Reisch, CPM, CCIM, RPA is Principal of Reisch Consulting Group, Inc. in Central Florida. Also a member of the Industry Standards Advisory Board for the Institute of Real Estate Management, here she writes on resident screening during the leasing process.
Nothing is more devastating to a landlord than to learn that someone was seriously injured or killed on their property. What makes it tragic is to learn that the person responsible was one of their tenants. One of the biggest mistakes a landlord can make is to improperly screen prospective residents during the leasing process. While credit checks, employment verification and reference checking is often done, the most frequent omission landlords make is the failure to check a person’s criminal history.
The safety of residents is paramount. Protecting the property itself is also essential. By obtaining a person’s criminal history before they move in, individuals with prior convictions for violent crimes, sexual assault or other egregious offenses can be identified and rejected for occupancy. When considering that the cost of obtaining this information is typically paid for by the applicant, there is no justifiable reason to skip this important step when leasing property.