When a prospect walks into your leasing office, one of the first things that a leasing agent will do is run a credit check. A process that we’re all familiar with, the property management industry would cease to function as we know it without the ability to run a credit check. In some parts of the country, some property managers have begun to perform background checks on their potential tenants as well. Particularly useful for inner city apartments looking to clean up the area by reducing crime, criminal background checks give management a heads up to any potential situation that may arise.
But have you considered giving prospective employees a criminal background check? While some of you may already be doing this, the vast majority of property management companies probably are not performing criminal background checks on potential employees. But some disturbing events around the country have some property managers rethinking the prospect.
While criminal acts against tenants remain uncommon, it’s not a bad idea to consider giving potential employees a criminal background check prior to hiring, keeping the following in mind:
- Property managers have access to a great deal of personal information including social security numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers. While this information is typically safely secured, it can also be easily accessed by office employees. It’s vital that those employees are honest.
- That temptation is multiplied when you realize that property employees have access to tenant homes. While these units should not be accessed without 24 hour notice, or for emergency purposes only, those with a criminal background would likely not care about following the rules.
- Employees would also have privy to information such as work schedules and out of town trips, making them an easy target for theft.
- Sexual predators would find tenants an easy target. Because of the position that they are put in, and their access to tenant apartments when performing basic maintenance tasks, this is a potential disaster.
- Tenants may not be the only target. Staff typically keeps cash and checks on property before daily deposits, and expensive equipment can also be a target to a less than honest individual.
While I think we can all agree that the vast majority of property management employees are honest, hardworking individuals that would never rip anyone off, for the protection of your tenants, and the reputation of your property management company, performing routine background checks on your potential employees will provide you with assurance that your employees are doing their best for your tenants, and not anything else.