Landlords and Background Checks

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A background check involves the process of investigating and compiling records dealing with a person's criminal and financial history. If you have ever filled out an application for lease, you likely provided the landlord all the information needed to perform a background check on you. The question now is: What do landlords look for in a background check?

Applicant's Identification

A background check can confirm to your prospective landlord that you are who you say you are. Landlords typically look for other aliases. Landlords can also make sure that the Social Security number you submitted on the application matches the one revealed in the search. If the background search reveals that other names are associated with the same Social Security number, it could be a case of identity theft and would raise a red flag.

Applicant's Current Physical Address

A landlord can use the background search results to verify your current address and find out who owns the property. Renter's who have experienced problems with previous landlords will often provide a relative's or friend's address on the application. A background check can help landlords screen applicants who attempt to hide past problems with landlords.


Evicting a tenant is a lengthy process. Landlords often incur financial losses in the process, according to Market Watch. Background checks help landlords reduce the risk of possible evictions.

Criminal History

If a tenant with a were to cause trouble for other tenants, the landlord could find himself in the middle of sticky situation. Landlords typically look for signs of criminal activity when reviewing background search results.

Negative Credit History

Landlords also look for signs of financial trouble when reviewing the results of a background check. They want to make sure that you can pay your rent in a timely manner. If you have too much debt, you've filed for bankruptcy or a history of late payments, a landlord might question your ability to meet your financial obligations, including paying rent.

In summary, landlords run background checks on applicants to protect themselves and protect other tenants. If you're filling out a lease application and you've had problems in the past, be honest about it. Mention the problem to your prospective landlord. Your honesty could play an important role in the determination of whether to deny or approve your application.

Copyright © 2011 Ana Jackson. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part constitutes plagiarism, is illegal and strictly prohibited.


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