Changes in Law Highlight Potential Shift in Tenant Screening; Opines

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Change in laws in Pennsylvania and Ohio point to a potential shift in how Criminal Records are viewed and utilized as a part of Tenant Screening. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of, opines: “A best practice remains that all landlords and property managers work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency, such as, in order to remain fully compliant with current and potential law.”

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Anytime laws affecting tenant selection practices occur landlords and property managers should work with a third-party tenant screening agency in order to stay fully compliant with a rapidly changing legal climate.

Laws and practices governing tenant screening can change very quickly and in Ohio and Pennsylvania such a change is occurring. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of opines: “How criminal history, in general, and criminal background records, specifically, are handled as part of tenant screening is changing rapidly; and a best practice remains that landlords and/or property managers work closely with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency in order to stay fully compliant with law.”

In July 2018 Pennsylvania Governor signed the “Clean Slate Law” and effective January 1, 2019 this law went into effect.

From (Jul 09, 18)

That is going to change under a new Pennsylvania law that will automatically seal records of most second- or third-degree misdemeanor offenses from public databases if a person has been conviction-free for 10 years. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the so-called Clean Slate Bill into law Thursday, and it takes effect next year. It’s the first law of its kind in the nation.

The new law rightfully doesn’t apply to more serious crimes such as murder, kidnapping, child endangerment, sexual offenses and firearms charges. And it won’t completely erase eligible people’s criminal records because police, courts and prosecutors will still be able to see them. (1)

Almeida states: “Every year new laws go into effect that could greatly alter current practices. The new Pennsylvania law will greatly assist individuals with past criminal history to more easily gain access to rental housing. But as with any change landlords and/or property managers should work with a third-party tenant screening agency in order to stay fully compliant with a rapidly changing legal climate.”

From (Jan 06, 19):

Pennsylvanians with old, low-level offenses on their records have fresh hope that past mistakes won’t cost them new jobs or housing.

As of Dec. 26, the state’s new Clean Slate Law allows people to petition to seal legal records in many misdemeanor cases that are more than 10 years old. (2)

In Cleveland, Ohio the Housing Court is easing the process of sealing eviction records to better assist renters in finding new housing.

From (Dec 30, 18):

Cleveland Housing Court is making it easier for tenants to ask to seal an eviction record with a new court rule that takes effect this week.

Once sealed an eviction record will no longer appear online or be available from the clerk’s office, limiting what landlords can find out about potential renters. (3)

Almeida opines: “Laws and regulations governing tenant screening are changing rapidly and as highlighted by the Fresh Start legislation as well as changes to eviction record rules in Cleveland a best practice remains for all landlords and/or property managers to work with a well-qualified third-party tenant screening agency such as” is a third-party tenant screening company with highly trained investigators well versed in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, and all public record reports, as part of a tenant check.


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Dan Adams
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