Anyone who may have done a bit of research on background checks or knows anything about them may not know the whole story. There are many myths out there about background checks and it is recommended that before a landlord attempts to perform a background check on a potential tenant, they learn more about these myths and determine what is true and what is false about background checks.
One of the biggest myths about background checks comes from the misguided idea that there is a grand central place that a person can go to get information on another and search national criminal records. The websites out there like to give consumers the idea that this is the case, but it is simply not true. There is no central repository out there that has all national records in one place. Many third party companies do have their own national databases where they have collected records over the years, but it would be false to say they have information on every person. If a company offers a national background check, it would be advised to find out where they are getting their information, as it is not from a central records repository.
Another common myth about background checks is that all the information you need is instantly available. Again, this just isn't true. It can take several days to get information from a background check, especially if a company is getting a national background check. Information from all states will need to be ordered and only about half of US states have automated systems. If information is needed from a state that has an automated system, the information will likely be available faster.
Finally, many people fall for the ads online that there are free background checks that you can do online. Again, this is simply not true. Though it is possible to find public records online for free in certain instances, there is no company who will perform a full background check for free. It is important to remember that it takes time and money, in some cases, to get the records that are needed to compile a background check. How can that be done for free? Don't fall for the hype. There is always a fee, even if the site advertises a "free" check.
The Truth About Background Checks