San Diego Property Management Blog

How to Run a Criminal Background Check on Potential Tenants

How to Run a Criminal Background Check on Potential Tenants

Part of being a successful and responsible property owner in the San Diego, CA area is making sure that your buildings are safe places for their inhabitants to live. That means not only ensuring the building itself is sound, but making sure that the people who live there don't pose a threat to their neighbors. 

One of the best ways to do so is to run a tenant screening that includes a criminal background check. This helps you get a better idea of your tenants' past behavior, their criminal record, and understand whether they're a good fit for your building.  

To make things easier for you as a San Diego property owner, we've put together a quick guide on how to run a criminal check on your tenants. Let's take a look at what the process is like and what you'll need in order to conduct a rental background check. 

How Do I Run a Criminal Background Check?

Running a criminal background check is actually a pretty straightforward process. Most of the time, all you need to do is identify a reputable background check service and pay a small fee. 

Many San Diego Property Management Companies choose to charge their tenants a background check fee. The reason for this is that if a tenant refuses to pay the background check fee, it could be a sign that they won't be willing to pay their rent further down the line. 

How Much Does a Background Check Cost?

If you're planning to run a criminal background to find the best tenant for your rentals, you'll need to know about the costs and fees of a background check. Luckily, they're typically fairly low. 

The most affordable background checks start at around $19. They don't include as many reports as more involved background checks but will give you a good sense of who you'll be renting to. 

More thorough background checks can get up to $49. These checks involve more details and provide you with information and reports that will help you understand how likely it is that your tenant will pay rent.

What Information Shows Up On a Background Check?

So, now that you're ready to conduct a background check, you probably want to know what shows up on one. Here are a few common details that will appear on a criminal background check:


  • Personal information
  • A history of the tenant's past address's
  • Income
  • Credit score
  • Employment history
  • Inquiries from lenders and landlords
  • Tradelines
  • Collections
  • Rental history
  • Any evictions
  • Public records including bankruptcies and civil judgments

All this information makes it easy for you to determine if it's a good idea to rent to your tenant or not. It gives you details about the person's stability and the likelihood that they'll make timely rent payments or inflict extensive tenant damages

Protect Your Properties With a Criminal Background Check

While running a criminal background check might seem extreme, it's an important part of the rental screening process. Without it, you have no way of knowing if your tenants have a criminal history that you should be concerned about. 

If you found this helpful and want more support in running your properties, be sure to reach out to Penny Realty. With our San Diego property management services, we make screening your tenants and running your properties easier than ever.