Landlords in any city face difficult questions when renting property. Can the individual or family afford the location? Will the home be maintained in a safe and orderly fashion? Is there any reason to suspect the tenant will be troublesome?


Simple background screening can provide landlords with answers to those questions. However, the lack of screening is the top shortcoming afflicting landlords in San Francisco, according to Fast Forward Property Management, a leader in Bay Area property management.

"Background screenings are the best method of determining what sort of tenant a landlord is bringing into the building. They can show two crucial areas of a prospective tenant's history: whether he/she has a criminal record, and whether he/she pays his/her bills," the company said in a statement.

Background checks may be especially important in 2011 after the Bay Area witnessed a rise in homicides during the first three weeks of the year. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who oversees the Lower Haight district, says the statistics are a concern after local leaders diminished their community policing tactics. That should encourage landlords to increase tenant screening.