Can property managers use background checks?
Property managers can use background checks to screen tenants. According to the Federal Trade Commission, tenant background checks can “include a variety of information, including rental and eviction history, credit reports, or criminal records.” In the industry, these reports are typically referred to as “consumer reports.” When you choose to use background investigations in property management decisions, you are required to abide by the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You are only allowed to obtain a consumer report under the FCRA if you have a “permissible purpose.” Landlords are permitted to obtain such reports on tenants renewing a lease or on new rental applicants. The report requestor is also required to certify to the company conducting the background check that any results will only be used in housing decisions. Results cannot be used or shared in any other manner.