CRB checks for tenants in an HMO

by Readers Question

7:50 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

CRB checks for tenants in an HMO

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CRB checks for tenants in an HMO

Does any one know whether it is possible for a landlord to commission a CRB check on prospective tenants? CRB checks for tenants in an HMO

I am a landlord with several properties but am now branching out into an HMO for single working people, it seems strange I would need this check to spend a few hours volunteering for a charity where there will be dozens of people floating around but that I am expected to allow tenants to share a house with strangers who could potentially be convicted axe murderers , rapists or thieves and have no knowledge of their past.

We ask if tenants have a criminal conviction but wouldn’t expect a real criminal to tell the truth.

I would like to know I have done everything possible to keep my tenants safe, and would be happy to pay the cost myself for peace of mind.

Many thanks

Andrea Peacock



Comments

Mandy Thomson

8:50 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

CRB checks have been replaced by disclosure and barring checks (DBS). You would need to ask your prospective tenants to apply for this themselves - the information can't be disclosed to anyone else. They need to make a subject access request (under the Data Protection Act 1998) to the police authority for the district where they've been living - it costs around £10. For more information see: http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Making-a-subject-access-request/1400005855548/1400005855548.
I would suggest you request this after you've run the normal tenant check - so that you're aware of their previous addresses and any aliases.

Ian Ringrose

9:13 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

In real life would any HMO tenant or landlord be willing to wait for the result?

Mandy Thomson

9:24 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "15/05/2014 - 09:13":

Yes but simply asking for this might in itself be enough to deter trouble makers.

Sam Cowen

9:40 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

There's full information on the checks you can do on your potential tenants and lodgers here: http://www.spareroom.co.uk/content/info-landlords/lodger-screening/

Mandy Thomson

9:49 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Another idea - if you rent to professional tenants: there is a specialist room letting site, Rooms4KeyWorkers http://www.rooms4keyworkers.com/landlords that only carries room wanted ads from public employees such as police officers, teachers and civil servants who have already undergone a disclosure and barring check.

Ray Davison

10:51 AM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi there are only certain circumstances where you can ask for such a check. Even employers can only ask for a check if the job concerned is in certain categories. And remember the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act applies which allows any convicted person, where their conviction is older than the prescribed periods, to say they have no convictions even when asked directly- unless it is for an exempted employment such as teaching , childcare etc.

It may also be illegal for you to ask for a disclosure check if the circumstances are not provided for in the legislation..

Mandy Thomson

12:06 PM, 15th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ray Davison" at "15/05/2014 - 10:51":

Hi Ray - thanks for that - I've doubled checked and from what I gather the Data Protection Act 1998 prohibits demands for such information unless by Court Order or if it would be in the public interest.
I've made an enquiry with the police as to whether a private landlord letting a room in a shared property could argue that the information was in the public interest, especially if there were children or other vulnerable people living there - I will update this board when I get their reply.

Mandy Thomson

9:50 AM, 17th May 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mandy Thomson" at "15/05/2014 - 12:06":

I have now had the answer to my question (via https://www.askthe.police.uk/content/@1.htm):

QUESTION: "Does a private landlord letting a room in a shared house have the right to request that a prospective lodger or tenant does a subject access request? Does this alter in any way if there are children or other vulnerable people living there?"

ANSWER: "To the best of our knowledge a landlord could make such a requirement of a prospective tenant, irrespective of whether there were children in the property. It would then be a matter for the tenant as to whether or not they made a subject access request."

In other words, a landlord would have a very good argument that the information was in the public interest, most especially if children were involved.

However, I need to just amend my original answer as I didn't make it clear - the tenant would request a subject access report NOT a disclosure and barring check (DBS) - this can only be requested by certain groups such as employers proposing to hire someone to work with vulnerable people; see https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview

Ray Davison

11:36 AM, 19th May 2014
About 4 years ago

I think what that gets you is a report of any convictions that have not 'Expired' under the ROA, but really,do you not think you may end up scaring all the good tenants away due to the extra hoops they have to jump through? I would say to myself, ''Stuff that for a game of soldiers I'll rent somewhere else'' . After all it's not something your average person in the street is familiar with and I think it can take some weeks for these reports to come through which means more delays for you at the very least.


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