By: Max Petkevicius
Criminal history is a key aspect of the tenant screening process and at Bemrose Consulting we pride ourselves in finding all charges a potential renter has on their record. We do this by searching every state the applicant has been and, if available, the counties they resided in as well.
There is, however, a common misconception we come across quite often; there is no national criminal database that has every person in America’s criminal records readily available. This is why we search primarily by state and county. There is a national public sex offender search that we use of all screenings but it lists if someone is a sex offender not their charges, dates of charges and disposition, which is what we need to provide full information on said criminal charge.
Perhaps there is a national search with everyone’s records that can be accessed through the Federal government or the FBI or CIA but it is not a service that is offered to the public. This means we are not privy to a national search providing any and all charges. Finding criminal charges the US is one thing but if an applicant has criminal charges out of the country they will be impossible to find.
Just because this database does not exist does not mean we are letting charges get by us. When we know of a charge or are suspicious a charge exist we do not stop until it is found. When our state and county searches do not reveal a specific charge that does not stop us, that is the moment we do what other companies are either unwilling or unable to do and call around. We will call local, district, and county courts until the charge is found.
All of this searching mentioned here has been just about criminal charges but we also pride ourselves on finding any and all evictions. Evictions are harder to locate because courts are not as diligent in reporting them and less identifying information about the applicant is provided. The same diligence on our end exists for evictions and the same level of effort is put forth.
Our goal is always to provide the most information possible in aiding our client’s ultimate rental decision. Everything we can find we do without the help of this national database that so many assume exists. Our ability to find criminal charges in all states and counties is not hindered by the fact that this database does not exist. This is just a reminder that a national criminal database with all of every single person’s charges is not a reality at this point.
DISCLAIMER: READ CAREFULLY: The information provided in this article is not considered legal advice and is given only for information purposes. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR LEGAL COUNSEL.