by Marc Courtenay–
Property Managers know how important it is to prevent problems with residents through careful screening procedures. The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as important in today’s society as ever. That’s why experienced property managers don’t cut corners when screening applicants.
Yet there are some legal issues that landlords and all business people face when screening, and it begins at the Federal Government level with the “Fair Credit Reporting Act” (FCRA). The latest versionof the FCRA is worth reading since it also involves procedures for doing a credit and background check on employees.
The Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) is yet another set of rules and regulations that property management companies should become familiar with. There are a number of ways to get the overview for the CFPA and this link is an adequate example.
The purpose of this article is to make you aware of these federal laws, not to explain them in detail. Any kind of background check is a very good idea only if the rules and regulations are followed. Because many of the credit reporting and consumer protection laws are complex you’re likely to need help.
There are a number of online resources that can be useful to make sure your background check doesn’t violate the laws—and those laws include state and local ones. Yet like all online resources, as the song goes, “you’d better shop around.” Another option is to use a property management software solution that includes screening.
The take-away from this article is that most people who own or manage rental properties need a reputable screening services company that’s easy to work with, thorough and fast. The ones worthy of your consideration should welcome your questions and have a phone number you can call to ask a live person to give you straight answers.