Background Checks for Property Management
How do you pick a trustworthy handyman, groundskeeper, leasing professional, or office manager? If your answer consists of only using your intuition and a resume, you need to also consider running a background check on your employees to prevent bad hires and costly lawsuits.
As a property manager your job is to provide your clients with peace of mind when it comes to keeping their property safe and secure. Obviously this involves tasks such as prompt responses to emergency repairs, finding good tenants, and inspecting properties. Often overlooked is the duty all employers have, which is to hire responsible and qualified individuals by running a background check.
The fact of the matter is, whether it’s sales or maintenance related, your employees will likely interact with clients and or tenants in person and may also visit current tenants’ homes. When considering a job applicant to help with these types of responsibilities it is clear that hiring the wrong candidate could result in a significant liability.
For example, imagine you’ve unknowingly hired a repairman with a criminal history of theft. Suddenly items are missing from a tenant’s home. Not only would this cause a setback to your company’s reputation, you could be held legally liable for the incident if you did not perform your due diligence when hiring the employee at fault. This is known as negligent hiring, meaning that the employer knew or should have known that an employee’s background indicated a propensity for violence or untrustworthiness. The best way to prove that you performed your due diligence when you hired an employee is to show that you ran a thorough background check that did not result in any red flags. In this type of situation, saying you interviewed the candidate and looked at their resume is not enough.
Admittedly, not all background checks will reveal with 100% certainty whether an employee will be a good fit for your property management company. However, it will prevent you from hiring an individual that has provided inaccurate qualifications on their resume or may have a criminal history. The Society of Human Resources Management estimates that 53% of all job applications contain inaccurate information. This could include outright lies about experience, education, and ability to perform essential functions on the job.
If you hire an employee only to find later they are not qualified for their job role it may cost you up to 50% of the person’s salary to replace them (Society for Human Resource Management, Recruitment and Selection Presentation, 2008). Moreover, if a job candidate is not honest on their job application, resume, and interview, you’ll have a clearer perception of that person’s character, and can make a better hiring decision.
Recommended background reports include criminal and sex offender reports that date back seven years, an employment verification check, drug screening, and if required for the position, an education history report to verify the institution, dates of attendance, and GPA.
Similar to tenant screening, background check reports must follow standards laid out by the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), so you’ll want to leave the background screening to the experts. Not only can background screening companies pull accurate criminal records in minutes and handle time-consuming calls to verify education and employment history, they make sure to closely adhere to the FCRA. Specifically, there are a set of guidelines to follow when rejecting an applicant based on a background report. Qualified background screening companies can also help guide you through this process so you stay compliant and avoid employment litigation.
You’ve all heard or perhaps experienced the horror stories of renting to a tenant without running a thorough background check. So why wouldn’t you take the same precaution when hiring an employee? Passing a background check should be an integral part of the hiring and leasing process. The bottom line is, job applicants may lie, but background checks don’t.