DESKTOP & TABLET VERSION (MOBILE BELOW)

Nationwide Criminal Database Scan

You want to know everything about your applicant before making that important leasing decision, criminal history included. With CIC, you’ll get all the information you need to begin properly screening your rental applicants. Upgrade your criminal background checks with our multi-jurisdictional court record search from all 50 states + Washington D.C., the sex offender registry, and more.

Criminal Background Checks 101

What is a Criminal Background Check?

Criminal background checks are used by employers, rental housing property owners, and volunteer organizations to determine whether to hire, promote, enter into a contract with, or use an applicant’s services. Overall, they reveal an applicant or candidate’s prior criminal records via national, federal, state, and/or county criminal databases to provide insights that may pose a direct risk to the reviewing organization.

What's Included in a Criminal Search?

When background screening companies scan for criminal records, there is no all-inclusive nationwide criminal repository that covers every single city, county, state, and federal agency in the U.S. (not even the FBI has this). Each background check provider acquires records and filters them for quality – meaning not all resident screening companies scan for criminal records in the same way!
For the most part, common checks for rental housing are a nationwide criminal database scan, federal criminal search, and the sex offender registry.

CIC's unique nationwide criminal search scans all 50 States +D.C. for:

* Some data may be redacted in consideration of different state requirements, or for the purpose of the report requested. If you require special types of criminal background records, please let a CIC representative know during account setup.

0 +
Nationwide Criminal Offense Records

Criminal Background Check Policies for Multifamily Housing

Is it Safe to Consider an Applicant's Criminal Records?

So long as you abide by local laws, criminal background checks are an essential tool when vetting future residents. Some states or counties might have restrictions on what records you can consider, but most rental properties can and should use criminal records in their decision process.

What are the Best Rental Standards for Criminal Records?

When it comes to your written rental criteria, make sure your standards avoid Bright-Line Standards, also known as blanket statements. Standards for criminal records like “no felonies” do not factor in the differences in laws between states (for example, medical marijuana isn’t considered a felony in every state) nor does it allow the applicant to provide additional information regarding rehabilitation. Unfortunately, non-specific blanket standards like these could be seen as discriminatory and get you in legal hot water.

Applying your written rental criteria equally is just as important. CIC’s MyDecision Rental Recommendations can help you stay compliant with the Fair Housing Act by automatically applying your tailored criteria to all of your resident screening reports. With an easy-to-read ‘Accepted’, ‘Denied’, or ‘Conditional’ recommendation attached to each report, you’ll fill those vacancies quicker than ever while reducing your liabilities.

The Myths and Facts of Criminal Reports

Do you know the truth behind these common criminal reporting myths?

MYTH

Criminal convictions can be used against an applicant forever.

FACT

While the FCRA does not have a limit on criminal convictions, many states do. With exception of the sex offender registry, criminal convictions are typically reported for 7 years.

MYTH

Traffic tickets are not serious criminal offenses - typically considered by rental properties.

FACT

While traffic tickets are common, and usually disregarded by rental property standards, the law is the law. A traffic citation is still a criminal offense and many counties’ databases still include them on your record.

Including Criminal Reports in your Leasing Process

Criminal Check Benefits

Multifamily properties are liable for a lot of things, such as if a resident or guest gets hurt or if there’s nefarious, illegal activity on the property. There’s even the risk of accepting a rental applicant that has no intent on paying rent. Rather than be in the dark about a rental applicant’s prior criminal convictions, including a criminal scan into your leasing process can give you peace of mind with your final rental decision.

By using CIC’s criminal reports (and resident screening in general) to assess rental candidates and current renters, you reap these benefits:

3 Essentials to Choosing a Resident Screening Service

Choosing a resident screening service with a nationwide criminal scan is incredibly important, but it’s not the only thing you’ll want to pay close attention to. When considering a screening service, look at these 3 essential points:

Your resident screening company should be trying to get you your report as quickly as possible. As they say, time is money, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on a good resident.

At CIC, our average report time is just 5 seconds. Talk about speed!

If you’re looking for a background report that includes criminal data, make sure they’re scanning the sex offender registry and checking for known aliases in addition to being nationwide. CIC does all three of these things.

Aside from the criminal check, pay attention to the quality of their credit and eviction history scan.

With any service, a reliable, good relationship is necessary. Seek out companies that have your best interests at heart -providing you with additional resources, staff training and compliance education.

Find the Perfect Resident Screening Service for your Company.

Criminal Reports FAQ

Each jurisdiction controls what data fields are stored and how much information will be provided to the public and bulk furnishers (screening companies like us). Because of this, records given by different jurisdictions might vary. Some information you could see are wants and warrants, convictions and appeals from the court (county, state, federal, and military), jails and prison records, alert lists from various government and non-profit agencies (like the terrorist watchlist), and more.

Although arrest records can be concerning, without a criminal conviction they’re merely an accusation at best. Without an updated disposition of the filed court case, it is unwise to make rental housing decisions based solely on an arrest record. Even the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released guidance advising property management companies to avoid using arrest records in their decision.

Yes, the record of the conviction is a public record. However, there are plenty of circumstances in which a judge might grant a record be sealed or expunged.

Yes, a judge can seal or expunge a criminal conviction. Some circumstances in which a record was sealed was if the offender was minor, the person’s first offense, they successfully completed their sentence, and/or have not reoffended within a period of time.

No, criminal records are not on your credit report. Rental housing professionals like property managers and landlords can only see criminal records via the background check provided by a resident screening company. At best the credit report may highlight red flags about criminal history. If there are lengthy and unexplained gaps in the applicant’s credit history then there’s a possibility they were incarcerated during that period of time, however, always ask about the gap before making any assumptions.

Unless the eviction record carried some sort of criminal charge attached to it, the eviction would be filed as a civil record and would not be on a criminal report. Learn more about evictions here!

CIC’s is! Our multi-jurisdictional search covers 50 states + D.C. and incorporates other criminal scans like the sex offender registry and OFAC. In general, not every resident screening provider is guaranteed to provide a nationwide criminal background check, and some may have different prices for statewide versus nationwide searches.

Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act § 605.a, criminal records are reported for 7 years. In some states/counties it can be a reduced period of time, such as in Oregon where it’s 5 years (Senate Bill 91). However, some databases like the sex offender registry or the terrorist watchlist could be longer.

It’s up to your discretion on whether you wish to accept or deny applicants with a past criminal conviction. However, be aware there are reporting restrictions (FCRA Sect. 605) in relation to Adverse Actions for civil suits, collections, and “any other adverse item of information”.

You should provide your screening company with at least 2 full matching identifiers. This includes first, last and middle name and their date of birth. While your screening company may request the SSN to look up alias names and prevent missing records due to fraud or typos, ultimately SSNs are not recorded by the arresting jurisdiction or court.

Primarily these searches are performed using the applicant’s first and last name (middle name or initial will help with accuracy), and their date of birth (DOB). Each jurisdiction may record cases differently, and in some cases they don’t include even the DOB which means the search is completely reliant on the applicant’s name. This is why it’s important to always cross-reference criminal records with any additional information you may have to ensure they are accurate.

Unfortunately, there is the possibility of false positives due to jurisdictions limiting the amount of identifying information that may be used during the background check. If a jurisdiction relies solely on the applicant’s name, and it happens to be a common name such as ‘John Smith’, then it’s recommended to do some additional due diligence before making a decision.

One common method of verifying accuracy includes reviewing the applicant’s provided information (including their provided identification) to cross-reference any details or physical descriptors from the criminal records. Another method you should consider is reaching out to the company that provided the report to ask for a review of the record. CIC offers this for free through our Records Research team.

learn more about Criminal records

800.288.4757 opt 2

available from 6:00 am – 4:00 pm PST

MOBLILE VERSION

Nationwide Criminal Database Scan

You want to know everything about your applicant before making that important leasing decision, criminal history included. With CIC, you’ll get all the information you need to begin properly screening your rental applicants. Upgrade your criminal background checks with our multi-jurisdictional court record search from all 50 states + Washington D.C., the sex offender registry, and more.

Criminal Background Checks 101

What is a Criminal Background Check?

Criminal background checks are used by employers, rental housing property owners, and volunteer organizations to determine whether to hire, promote, enter into a contract with, or use an applicant’s services. Overall, they reveal an applicant or candidate’s prior criminal records via national, federal, state, and/or county criminal databases to provide insights that may pose a direct risk to the reviewing organization.

What's Included in a Criminal Search?

When background screening companies scan for criminal records, there is no all-inclusive nationwide criminal repository that covers every single city, county, state, and federal agency in the U.S. (not even the FBI has this). Each background check provider acquires records and filters them for quality – meaning not all resident screening companies scan for criminal records in the same way!
For the most part, common checks for rental housing are a nationwide criminal database scan, federal criminal search, and the sex offender registry.

0 + Million
Nationwide Criminal Offense Records

CIC's unique nationwide criminal search scans all 50 States +D.C. for:

* Some data may be redacted in consideration of different state requirements, or for the purpose of the report requested. If you require special types of criminal background records, please let a CIC representative know during account setup.

Criminal Background Check Policies for Multifamily Housing

Is it Safe to Consider an Applicant's Criminal Records?

So long as you abide by local laws, criminal background checks are an essential tool when vetting future residents. Some states or counties might have restrictions on what records you can consider, but most rental properties can and should use criminal records in their decision process.

What are the Best Rental Standards for Criminal Records?

When it comes to your written rental criteria, make sure your standards avoid Bright-Line Standards, also known as blanket statements. Standards for criminal records like “no felonies” do not factor in the differences in laws between states (for example, medical marijuana isn’t considered a felony in every state) nor does it allow the applicant to provide additional information regarding rehabilitation. Unfortunately, non-specific blanket standards like these could be seen as discriminatory and get you in legal hot water.

Applying your written rental criteria equally is just as important. CIC’s MyDecision Rental Recommendations can help you stay compliant with the Fair Housing Act by automatically applying your tailored criteria to all of your resident screening reports. With an easy-to-read ‘Accepted’, ‘Denied’, or ‘Conditional’ recommendation attached to each report, you’ll fill those vacancies quicker than ever while reducing your liabilities.

The Myths and Facts of Criminal Reports

Do you know the truth behind these common criminal reporting myths?

MYTH: Criminal convictions can be used against an applicant forever.
While the FCRA does not have a limit on criminal convictions, many states do. With exception of the sex offender registry, criminal convictions are typically reported for 7 years.
MYTH: Traffic tickets are typically considered by rental properties.
While traffic tickets are common, and usually disregarded by rental property standards, the law is the law. A traffic citation is still a criminal offense and many counties’ databases still include them on your record.
Previous
Next

Including Criminal Reports in your Leasing Process

Criminal Check Benefits

Multifamily properties are liable for a lot of things, such as if a resident or guest gets hurt or if there’s nefarious, illegal activity on the property. There’s even the risk of accepting a rental applicant that has no intent on paying rent. Rather than be in the dark about a rental applicant’s prior criminal convictions, including a criminal scan into your leasing process can give you peace of mind with your final rental decision.

By using CIC’s criminal reports (and resident screening in general) to assess rental candidates and current renters, you reap these benefits:

3 Essentials to Choosing a Resident Screening Service

Choosing a resident screening service with a nationwide criminal scan is incredibly important, but it’s not the only thing you’ll want to pay close attention to. When considering a screening service, look at these 3 essential points:

Your resident screening company should be trying to get you your report as quickly as possible. As they say, time is money, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on a good resident.

At CIC, our average report time is just 5 seconds. Talk about speed!

If you’re looking for a background report that includes criminal data, make sure they’re scanning the sex offender registry and checking for known aliases in addition to being nationwide. CIC does all three of these things.

Aside from the criminal check, pay attention to the quality of their credit and eviction history scan.

With any service, a reliable, good relationship is necessary. Seek out companies that have your best interests at heart -providing you with additional resources, staff training and compliance education.

Find the Perfect Resident Screening Service for your Company.

Criminal Reports FAQ

Each jurisdiction controls what data fields are stored and how much information will be provided to the public and bulk furnishers (screening companies like us). Because of this, records given by different jurisdictions might vary. Some information you could see are wants and warrants, convictions and appeals from the court (county, state, federal, and military), jails and prison records, alert lists from various government and non-profit agencies (like the terrorist watchlist), and more.

Although arrest records can be concerning, without a criminal conviction they’re merely an accusation at best. Without an updated disposition of the filed court case, it is unwise to make rental housing decisions based solely on an arrest record. Even the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released guidance advising property management companies to avoid using arrest records in their decision.

Yes, the record of the conviction is a public record. However, there are plenty of circumstances in which a judge might grant a record be sealed or expunged.

Yes, a judge can seal or expunge a criminal conviction. Some circumstances in which a record was sealed was if the offender was minor, the person’s first offense, they successfully completed their sentence, and/or have not reoffended within a period of time.

No, criminal records are not on your credit report. Rental housing professionals like property managers and landlords can only see criminal records via the background check provided by a resident screening company. At best the credit report may highlight red flags about criminal history. If there are lengthy and unexplained gaps in the applicant’s credit history then there’s a possibility they were incarcerated during that period of time, however, always ask about the gap before making any assumptions.

Unless the eviction record carried some sort of criminal charge attached to it, the eviction would be filed as a civil record and would not be on a criminal report. Learn more about evictions here!

CIC’s is! Our multi-jurisdictional search covers 50 states + D.C. and incorporates other criminal scans like the sex offender registry and OFAC. In general, not every resident screening provider is guaranteed to provide a nationwide criminal background check, and some may have different prices for statewide versus nationwide searches.

Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act § 605.a, criminal records are reported for 7 years. In some states/counties it can be a reduced period of time, such as in Oregon where it’s 5 years (Senate Bill 91). However, some databases like the sex offender registry or the terrorist watchlist could be longer.

It’s up to your discretion on whether you wish to accept or deny applicants with a past criminal conviction. However, be aware there are reporting restrictions (FCRA Sect. 605) in relation to Adverse Actions for civil suits, collections, and “any other adverse item of information”.

You should provide your screening company with at least 2 full matching identifiers. This includes first, last and middle name and their date of birth. While your screening company may request the SSN to look up alias names and prevent missing records due to fraud or typos, ultimately SSNs are not recorded by the arresting jurisdiction or court.

Primarily these searches are performed using the applicant’s first and last name (middle name or initial will help with accuracy), and their date of birth (DOB). Each jurisdiction may record cases differently, and in some cases they don’t include even the DOB which means the search is completely reliant on the applicant’s name. This is why it’s important to always cross-reference criminal records with any additional information you may have to ensure they are accurate.

Unfortunately, there is the possibility of false positives due to jurisdictions limiting the amount of identifying information that may be used during the background check. If a jurisdiction relies solely on the applicant’s name, and it happens to be a common name such as ‘John Smith’, then it’s recommended to do some additional due diligence before making a decision.

One common method of verifying accuracy includes reviewing the applicant’s provided information (including their provided identification) to cross-reference any details or physical descriptors from the criminal records. Another method you should consider is reaching out to the company that provided the report to ask for a review of the record. CIC offers this for free through our Records Research team.

learn more about Criminal records

800.288.4757 opt 2