Background Checks on Tenants in Texas

Oct 4, 2008 - 10:17 am | By

Increasingly, cities across the United States are considering new laws to govern apartment complexes, including new regulations mandating criminal background checks on tenants.  Irving City, Texas is the next big city who’s city council is considering a sweeping proposal of reform.

Landlords also would be required to conduct criminal background checks on all new tenants and would have to participate in a crime-free training program conducted by police. And property owners who lease to tenants who have committed certain crimes, including sexual assault, arson and the manufacture or sale of drugs, could face Class C misdemeanors. Police would provide direction on which prospective tenants are granted exceptions.

This is the first example we have seen where a city would seek to criminalize noncompliance with the new law.  Since we work daily in the background check world, we wonder about all the potential problems this regulation could cause should a problem arise. For example, what happens if the background check misses an arson conviction that occurred 20 years ago and is no longer available at the courthouse record?  What happen an expunged case?  As cities pursue these tougher regulations, and we congratulate them for pursuing this, we hope that city leaders would be fair to their property managers and owners, and not through draconian policies force them to pursue owning property elsewhere.

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