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Background checks aren’t just for the government, employers and landlords any more. Now homeowners associations are getting into the background check act. The Clarion-Ledger from Clarion, Mississippi reports the following.

A new development in Jackson requires criminal background checks for its potential residents. And a set of tony subdivisions building country French- and European-style homes in Rankin County has banned registered sex offenders in its protective covenants.

Homeowners Association is a general term that’s used for a variety of associations that manage common interest developments. The association has the authority to enforce the covenants, conditions, and restrictions and to manage the common amenities of the development.

Many homeowners associations have required background checks on renters for quite some time. What’s new is the increasing use of background checks for people who want to buy property in the development.

There’s good news and danger here. The good news is that more and more people are understanding that, in a world where everyone is mobile, you need some way to make sure that you’re protected from people who might want to do you harm. The good news, also, is that there are tools available to help you.

The danger is that the information you get on a background check is only worth something if you apply judgment to it. Many members of homeowner association boards may not understand that background check information is a starting point for analysis and not the final word.

I’m betting that if we see a big upsurge in homeowner association use of background checks, we’ll also see an upsurge in lawsuits from people who feel they’ve been unjustly or illegally excluded from owning property in a particular development.

Comments

2 Responses to “Homeowners associations are using background checks”

  1. Julie McIntire on January 22nd, 2010 2:17 pm

    I’m a Board Member of a recently developed Homeowners Association. We are currently drafting a rental policy and are requiring any homeowner leasing his/her property to have the tenant screened for a background check. The question is, do we have a right to a copy of the actual background check report or do we have to take the owners word that their tenant has passed the screening?

    Any advice on this would really help us get this policy drafted.

    Thank you!

  2. Julie McIntire on January 22nd, 2010 2:42 pm

    I forgot to mention that this COA is in Washington state.

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