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Murder headlines spark calls for background checks

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Guest | 05 Jun 2012, 03:46 PM Agree 0

Red flags in background checks could have kept landlords from accepting those high-profile bad tenants now claiming headlines across the world, according to BackCheck, a company specializing in providing that service.
Magnotta – arrested in Germany Monday -- is accused of dismembering a human body in his Montreal apartment and of posting body parts to political parties. Last week in B.C., Angus Mitchell shot his ex-landlord and two others in murderous rampage.
According to a press releas from BackCheck, Magnotta's landlord had only performed a credit check, which did not reveal that Magnotta reportedly had been convicted on four counts of fraud in Ontario, served 16 days in pre-trial custody and received a further nine-month conditional sentence and 12 months' probation.
"Unfortunately, getting paid the rent is only one aspect of finding a good tenant," says Dave Dinesen, BackCheck president and CEO. "A proper screening, which involves credit, criminal, employment and previous rentals, would have uncovered red flags."
In the case of Mitchell, a background check would have revealed he had reportedly been fired by several employers, and had been evicted multiple times.
Other survey statistics show that 86 per cent of Canadians would not be discouraged from applying for a property rental if they had to get a background check.
"While some renters would be discouraged, it may be for good reason. According to Corrections Canada, one in 10 Canadians have a criminal record,"  says Dinesen.
  • Brigitta Waller | 05 Jun 2012, 06:48 PM Agree 0
    Perhaps you should notify the BC Government of this. Here is what they have to say on their tenancy website:

    ** 20. Can a landlord request to check a tenant’s criminal record?
    No, a landlord cannot as a condition of renting or providing any service to a tenant, ask for consent to collect personal information beyond what is necessary to provide tenancy or that service. Requiring a criminal records check is not reasonably necessary.**
    Are you advising property owners to work outside the rules?
    Please note that I AM NOT on the tenant's side here. Just wanted to point out that legislation ties Landlord's hands in many ways..... Perhaps it is time for a change?
  • Angela Hendry | 05 Jun 2012, 08:55 PM Agree 0
    I have found that Googling a potential tenants name sometimes provides further information and this is totally permissible.
    I agree legislation needs to change. So many rentals turn into grow ops also, a criminal check could help uncover not only potential criminal activity but the thousands of dollars in damage caused by these types of tenants. It should be at an owner/leasing agent's discretion to find out facts about potential tenants in this case I don't think privacy rules should apply.
  • Elizabeth | 05 Jun 2012, 09:36 PM Agree 0
    YES, IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE. HELP THE LANDLORD TO PROTECT HIMSELF FOR FUTURE FRAUD, THEFT AND MURDER. THIS PRESENT LEGISLATION TIES OUR HANDS AND THE TENANT GETS AWAY WITH OUT ANY CRIMINAL CHARGE.

    PLEASE HELP THE LANDLORS
  • John | 05 Jun 2012, 10:19 PM Agree 0
    I appreciate that ex-criminals need homes too, but you have a human right to protect your self and your family. They need a place to live but it doesn't have to be YOUR house.
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