Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Outsourcing Your Pre-Employment Screening

Pre-employment screening is a necessary hiring practice to avoid lawsuits and costly hiring mistakes, regardless of the size of your business. The days of a simple reference check and a few phone calls to screen new employees, is long gone. Security concerns, corporate scandals, and workplace violence have brought pre-employment screening to the foreground.
Background checking is an important component of pre-employment screening. Over 96% of HR professionals report that their companies do background checks of new hires, up from 66% in 1996 according to The Society for Human Resource Management Workplace Violence Survey.

A popular solution for small businesses needing pre-employment screening is to employ the services of a background checking company. Your outsourcing screening provider should be able to help you navigate the legal requirements as well as federal and State regulations of background screening. Also an added bonus is under FCRA, your small business can have limited legal immunity by using a third-party background pre-employment screening company.
Background screening is a recommended standard practice of operating a successful small business. Many small business agencies such as SCORE or the Small Business Administration (SBA) can provide counsel. Visit your government’s websites on FCRA and ADA. Take the necessary time to educate yourself on the process whether you decide to outsource or conduct pre-employment screening practices on your own.

Pre-employment Screening Professionals
Your company's hard-earned reputation can be severely damaged by even one bad hiring decision, not to mention the tremendous costs involved. The consequences can include: sexual harassment, corruption, disclosure of sensitive information (subjecting you to civil suits), workplace violence, theft, and many others. That's why an essential step towards protecting your company and your employees and customers is implementing a comprehensive background check and pre-employment screening solution from AAACredit.net
You can depend on the screening report we provide to you because every manually-searched background report is hand inspected for accuracy, integrity and compliance with Federal, state and industry screening standards. AAACredit.net’s Background checks have been helping companies make safer hiring decisions for over a decade.
Many Risk Management and Human Resource directors have already discovered the value of pre-employment screening with AAA Credit Screening Services. Don't wait to learn the truth about prospective employees. Make safer and better informed hiring decisions today!

Tenant Screening

Reasons to Screen
No one but a criminal would want to move into your property if there are criminals there. The price you as a property owner or manager will pay for not conducting a thorough tenant screening is very significant. When destructive tenants such as drug dealers or other types operate out of your property, your property value declines, and you can be held criminally liable or negligent and the entire neighborhood suffers from lowering of property values.
Additionally, the cost of repairs and the rental revenues lost while preparing the property for the next tenant are real problems for landlords. Property damage is common with bad tenants, either from abuse, retaliation or neglect. The cost to get rid of this tenant can be added to the cost of repairs.
When you invite bad tenants to your property, you can bet that the desirable tenants will leave your property. When you let a criminal move in next door, you send the message to that great tenant (who takes care of the property and always pays on time) that you don’t value them. In addition, when a bad tenant makes it through your tenant screening efforts (Hopefully you make the effort!) he usually tells his friends how easy it is to move into your property.
Eviction is very expensive! You won’t be able to rent that unit for 90 days or more. And you will be saddled with legal process fees and all of your time spent working on the effort. Simply stated, it’s a lot easier to keep them out than to get them out!
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), arguably the largest property management firm on planet Earth requires that housing applicants be screened. Their guide (Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook) states; "Mistakes in admission can be costly to Public Housing Authorities… If families with serious lease compliance or criminal problems are admitted, their behavior is likely to consume the limited time and resources of property management staff and drive out the best residents." With the level of expertise represented at HUD, this strong direct statement should clarify that thorough tenant screening reports are JUST GOOD BUSINESS.
Selecting a Tenant Screening Provider
There are many companies in the tenant screening industry today. While comparing their products is relatively difficult, due to the fact that the information they give you has varying levels of depth, it is important that they are providing reliable data that is relevant to a landlord. Remember, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. If one product is priced well below the others, you should be asking very pointed questions of the vendor as to the source and depth of their data. Imagine the costs associated in ridding yourself of that sex offender you just leased to because you wanted to save a buck or two!
The most complete tenant screening services would include the credit report, eviction report, possibly a criminal report, and would verify the applicant’s current job and their residency history. Spending a little extra on tenant screening services is well worth the minimal extra cost. We at http://www.aaacredit.net/ can tailor your report to fit your needs.

All of the items in a credit report (see below) are included in tenant screening reports, plus the following:

  • Rental history verification for current and previous rentals.
  • Employment verification (and salary where possible).
  • Checking account fund verification (with submitted copy of tenants deposit check).
  • Optional inclusion of criminal record checks in tenant screening reports.

Complete credit reports are included in our tenant screening reports.They are nationwide and contain the following:

  • Social security number check to identify misused or recently issued numbers and numbers of deceased persons.
  • Address check to identify misused addresses and potential problems such as mail receiving services or prison drop addresses.
  • Employment information verification where available.
  • Public record items if they exist, such as:

* Tax liens (reported for 7 years after the lien is filed)
* Judgments (reported for 7 years after the judgment entered)
* Chapter 7 bankruptcies (reported for 10 years following the bankruptcy)
* Chapter 13 bankruptcies (reported for 7 years following the bankruptcy)
* Collection items (if they exist) and their status

  • Up to 7 years of credit history
  • A list of companies making inquiries into the individual's credit file
  • A list of member companies (creditors) and their phone numbers

Tenant Screening is Crucial in Difficult Times

When Economic indicators are down and apartment occupancy drops, the natural temptation for those charged with filling apartments is to reduce applicant screening efforts. One way to reduce expenses is to settle on reduced data in your screening reports. It is easy to understand the drive to fill an empty unit, but by not screening effectively you are reducing the standards of acceptance for your rental community. The results are predictable and not favorable.
By looking back at the past couple of years we see the upward swing in vacancy rates in metro areas around the country. Many property managers reduced their standards by either not screening well enough, or by looking the other way when they saw information that would normally cause them to reject an applicant. While that may have solved the immediate problem of filling a unit, it didn’t solve the real and lasting problem of having that unit produce income. These landlords must now deal with lost income, court costs, and in many cases damage to the unit and the resulting repair costs. Diligence Pays.
Apartment dwellers with good credit take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates and purchased a home. The remaining pool of available tenants therefore has a lower average credit rating. It just doesn’t make sense to reduce your screening efforts or your standards of acceptance in an environment like this. At times like these you need to more vigilant than ever, to prevent a further increase in your eviction rate. Remain Diligent and Profit!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Criminal Records Checking 101

Texas criminal Records Checks are standard procedure when due diligence research is conducted on an individual. However, even in this age of instant access to digitized information, old-fashioned investigative techniques usually must be relied upon for the research of criminal records. This segment will discuss how criminal records searches are conducted and how criminal records are maintained, court access fees in each county and how they are retrieved.
How Criminal Records Are RecordedCrimes are usually divided into three categories; (1) Felonies, (2) Misdemeanors and (3) Infractions. Within these categories can be subdivisions, levels of severity, etc. Generally, a felony is a crime that is punishable by a sentence of 365 days or more in jail, or death.

Common felonies include: murder, theft, burglary, serious drug possession and distribution, weapons charges, rape, kidnapping, robbery, assaults, etc. A misdemeanor generally is an offense punishable by a sentence of less than 365 days in jail, and includes minor theft, minor assault, some forms of drug possession, harassment and serious motor vehicle violations. An infraction is usually a “ticket” type of offense where resolution is either paying the fine or appearing in a lower court. Infractions are not reportable offenses for employment purposes unless the case is escalated into a misdemeanor.It is not possible to simply "plug in" someone's Social Security number into a criminal records search database and find all the criminal convictions pertaining to that individual. Criminal records are indexed by the name of the defendant. Therefore, getting the correct spelling of the name is critical to obtaining accurate criminal records report results. If the person had a former name, that name should also be included in the court records search. In those jurisdictions where the clerk of court will be performing the research, a full date of birth is usually required.
While the majority of jurisdictions have computerized their criminal records search, there are some that do not allow offsite access. Therefore, a criminal records researcher must be physically dispatched to the courthouse to search the public access terminals. Many courts will perform a free criminal records check over the phone. Most courts will respond to written requests; however, it can sometimes take weeks or even months to get the results back and this of course is unacceptable. There are thousands of separate criminal records indexes maintained at the county, parish, township, and city levels throughout the United States. Conducting a nationwide search would require accessing each individual index. Proprietary, aggregate databases have been created to access that information in its’ raw format. AAA Credit Screening can conduct research through these databases to acquire information.
Checking for criminal court records at the county level is a primary method used by AAA. The county courthouse is where the record originated, and therefore represents the logical and accurate starting point. The information is current, which is a requirement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act for employment verification search purposes. In some counties felony and misdemeanor records are maintained in a combined index, in others felonies and misdemeanor records must be checked separately.