Rental Applicant Screening
Any rental licensee in the City of Hopkins must conduct criminal background checks on all prospective tenants. The criminal background check must include the following:
- A statewide (MN) criminal history check of all prospective tenants covering at least three years. The check must be done utilizing the most recent update of the state criminal history files.
- A statewide criminal history check from the prospective tenant’s previous state of residence, if available, if the tenant is moving directly from the previous state.
- A criminal history check of any prospective tenant in their previous states of residence, if available, covering the last three years if they have not resided in Minnesota for three years or longer.
- A criminal history check of any prospective tenant must be conducted in all seven counties in the metro Twin Cities area (Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott and Washington) covering at least the last three years including all misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony convictions.
Tips for criminal background checks
- Use a professional screening company, like those listed to the right.
- Obtain a signed release form from all adults.
- You must have the full name of each applicant (with the correct spelling of first, middle, and last name) along with the accurate date of birth to obtain accurate information.
- Be prepared to check all cities, counties, and state where applicant has lived.
- Rejections for criminal behavior should be based on convictions, not just police contacts.
What else should I check for?
In addition to the required background check, be certain to do the following for all persons who may potentially reside at your property.
- Check for a valid photo ID/resident alien visa and social security number.
- Run a credit check.
- Contact previous landlords. (Look them up in the phone book and check addresses with the county assessor's office. For Hennepin County, you can use the online property information search.)
- Verify income sources.
Tips for applicant screening
- Thoroughly screen each applicant using the same process for all prospective residents.
- Never discriminate based on someone's race, gender, creed, disability, nationality, marital status, familial status, source of income, or sexual preference.
- Establish rejection criteria in writing and be prepared to apply it equally to all applicants.
- You may charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs associated with conducting a background check.
- Consult your attorney for legal advice regarding all policies/procedures.
- Make certain that all applications are completed on site or in your presence. (It is much more difficult for criminals to make up a story or falsify information!)
- Be prepared to assist other property owners and managers with truthful references on residents you would not allow to apply or would not rent to.
Using a professional screening company helps protect you...
- You may simply state that "based on the information from your screening report, the application does not meet the posted screening criteria".
- Refer applicant back to screening company if they feel there is an error.
- Inform applicant that they are free to re-apply if the error can be corrected!
Reputable screening agencies
Apartment Services Plus, Inc
First Advantage SafeRent
Lexis Nexis Resident Screening
MultiHousing Credit Control
Rental Research Services, Inc
RHR Information Services, Inc
Screening Reports, Inc
Twin City Tenant Check, Inc