Murder headlines spark calls for background checks

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.

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