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Tenants Need Access to Landlordsí Criminal and Credit Backgrounds

Landlords are given access to tenants' criminal, credit and rental histories, yet tenants are not allowed equal access to landlords' criminal, credit and rental histories. Talking to past tenants would be as helpful to a potentially new tenant, as talking to ex-landlords is to landlords considering new tenants. How many batterers and child molesters rent to single mothers in poverty and the women have no access to the landlords' criminal histories in the rental process? Recently, I was battered by my landlord and it has brought to light how vulnerable tenants are having no access to landlords' criminal and other histories. I believe potential landlords should have to pay potential tenants to run *their* background checks the same way tenants have to pay landlords to run their background checks.
Landlords are given access to tenants' criminal, credit and rental histories, yet tenants are not allowed equal access to landlords' criminal, credit and rental histories. Talking to past tenants would be as helpful to a potentially new tenant, as talking to ex-landlords is to landlords considering new tenants. How many batterers and child molesters rent to single mothers in poverty and the women have no access to the landlords' criminal histories in the rental process? Recently, I was battered by my landlord and it has brought to light how vulnerable tenants are having no access to landlords' criminal and other histories. I believe potential landlords should have to pay potential tenants to run *their* background checks the same way tenants have to pay landlords to run their background checks.

It should be somewhat obvious why knowing your landlord's criminal history would be helpful to potential tenants. We don't know, as renters, if we're renting from stalkers, batterers, weenie wagers, robbers or child molesters! Landlords have tremendous power over low-income people who are desperate to find housing with very limited resources. And housing is contingent upon not making your landlord mad. Resisting sexual advances can make a landlord mad; I've had it happen to me in the past. There is really little to no protection for the renter in this whole landlord-tenant equation.

Additionally, knowing your landlords' credit history would let you know if they have proper finances to make decent, timely repairs, etc. I recently saw a turn-off notice for the property on my landlord's door which is alarming. My recent landlords took nearly 2 months to do a 2 week maximum repair due to trying to be cheap and getting around proper repairs with unlicensed workers. I can see how a tenant would prefer a landlord with a strong credit rating just as much as a landlord prefers tenants with high credit scores.

And finally, landlords talk to the previous landlords of potential new tenants, but we tenants have no right to speak to former tenants. I believe if you spoke to the last 4 tenants of my current landlord, you would get an earful of bad reviews. Most bad landlords have patterns, just as much as a "tenant risk" does. Talking to former tenants should be part of the application process, alike speaking to past landlords. There need to be databases of bad landlords the same way there are databases of tenants with evictions. And landlords should need to provide past tenant referrals to future tenants, where we can speak to them directly and privately, the same way landlords ask for landlord referral phone numbers from renters.

The reality of this unfair playing field really shows how the tenant/renter takes the brunt of the burden in this landlord-tenant contract. There is *not* an arm's length bargaining power present in the landlord-tenant contract, although that arm's length distance is required for a contract to be valid and free of duress in other circumstances. Until we renters have equal access to our landlords' backgrounds, renters are at a disadvantage and prey to landlords with hidden background records.

homepage: homepage: http://www.kirstenanderberg.com


unlicensed workers 23.Jan.2015 12:45

k

A big corporate owned apartment complex will generally have a full time maintenance crew that is competent. Not necessarily licensed, but again, you are going to get what you pay for. You want licensed, then expect $100 a month increase in your rent even if nothing breaks.

You can pay to do criminal background checks on people. plenty of services out there for that. Best bet is to own, not rent. You just may have to move out of your comfort zone in order to afford it.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits 25.Jan.2015 03:42

marc

2-3 million units were created through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a federal program that can make all the difference between housing and dreaming. Cities and counties need political will and love and passion for the future. For centuries or decades myths were handed down about lifting yourself by your bootstraps, markets tending to equilibrium, supply always meeting demand, corporations as suffering servants, homelessness as voluntarily chosen etc.

The state must act when the private sector sits on $2-3 trillion, when $3-5 trillion is stashed in tax havens and when the corporate share in federal revenue has fallen from 40% in the 1960s to 11% in 2013. When the state creates housing with tax credits, it creates public spirit and trust between the generations. The state becomes active and caring, not activating and punishing. In Vancouver BC, you can immediately feel the wonder of public spirit thanks to their cradle-to-grave health insurance.

 link to portal.hud.gov

Good idea! 27.Nov.2015 05:23

daisy

kirsten that is a good idea, i hope this will develop. it needs to definitely be more balanced, the power is mostly on the landlord side and it can be physically dangerous and devastating for the renters, even if it's a financial victimization. that can put people out into the street in the middle of winter and prevent them from having enough money to get into a place. etc. but think about it- that guy has the keys to your home!!!!! there is a dire need to be able to check out landlords for safety sake. Not just that, but more protections in general for renters, they seem to have slidden lately, in the state legislature. We are talking real threats and harm to poor people's survivability, by lack of adequate protections from those with too much power over another person.