For some who share apartment spaces in informal or even more formal group releases, a background check can help out in those times when a new roommate appears somewhat threatening or potentially dangerous. It’s not always easy to screen individuals who show up to rent in a shared space, and a quick check of various basic background information can help out, but it’s important to do more than just a background check to protect yourself and your home.
Using Easy Background Check Services
There are a lot of different online background check services that you can use to get information on a new roommate. Lots of these provide a criminal history (or lack of one) along with past residents locations, and other useful information. The check is to have solid information about the individual, such as a Social Security number or other key identifier. Established renters can ask for proof of identification when the new person moves in, as part of a general leasing procedure. Otherwise, there will be hard to tell whether you’re searching for the right person.
Asking questions is one of the most basic ways to learn more about a person’s background. You want to be discreet and seem genuinely interested, not just prying. Sometimes, you can learn whether a person is likely to be deceptive if they provide different answers than what your background check turned up.
Secure Your Stuff
A background check isn’t always going to help with theft. There is the chance that your roommate stole before, and just didn’t get caught. Then there’s the chance that this person is just turning to a new “life of crime.” The point is that anyone can steal if they feel like it, and a lock on your personal space is much more effective than running a background check on somebody. If there are no locks on existing spaces, ask your landlord if you can either temporarily or permanently modify the space to protect your own belongings. Even in a shared space, there should be security for a renter’s personal items.
Setting Ground Rules
A background check can also be a good way to find out about other illicit activities like substance abuse, but to really nip this kind of thing in the bud, be clear with your prospective roommate up front and let them know that you are in a drug-free house. Setting clear ground rules can help later if a new house member brings an element of risk into your home.
One rule of thumb is that you never want to let someone know that you are going through their background with a fine toothed comb. When a new roommate finds out that the others are doing background checks on him or her, the whole thing is likely to escalate into a fiasco. Cover the tracks of your work, don’t leave documents laying around, and don’t discuss your research when the new guy or gal is around. As mentioned, it’s also best to rely on personal interactions and the daily life in your apartment or house rather than getting obsessed with digging up information, which is likely to offend your new roommate if they ever find out what you are up to. An atmosphere of mistrust can ruin a lot of good situations, so use your best judgment in checking up on those who move into your shared space.