The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA) was established in 1972 and is intended to provide quality standards and to spell out the rights and responsibilities related to housing for both landlords and tenants. In most instances, a lease is used as a written agreement of the complete terms and obligations assumed by each party. A tenant screening background check is an integral part of owning and renting property, and one which all landlords should take seriously, in order to protect themselves and their property.

Having a tenant break a lease early can be stressful and costly for the landlord. To help mitigate this worst case scenario, establishing certain requirements within the lease, such as requiring them to find a replacement tenant, forfeiture of the security deposit, and/or suing in small claims court, can provide a level of security. However, under certain circumstances, a tenant may legally break a rental agreement:

• upon delivering notice of entering military service
• when landlord fails to maintain a minimum level of habitable housing
• when the property suffers damage or is destroyed by no fault of the tenant
• if the landlord repeatedly interferes with the tenants right to privacy or peaceful living conditions
• due to unlawful harassment, stalking, domestic violence, or sexual assault

In regards to the last point, background checks on tenants can go a long way toward identifying potential perpetrators and preventing such incidents from occurring. This type of background check will provide information on an individual’s criminal history, including domestic violence and sex offenses.

If such an offense occurs at the tenant’s residence, the Landlord-Tenant Act allows for the victim to break the lease and move by providing the landlord with a protective court order, or a written report by law enforcement, clergy members, mental or health care professionals, or domestic violence advocates, within 90 days of the incident. The Landlord is required by law to evict any perpetrator within 7 days after an arrest is made in relation to violence executed against another tenant.

Tenants are only required to pay rent through the last day they reside on the property, and are entitled to a prorated refund of any paid rent before the rental period, in addition to a return of their security deposit provided there is no damage beyond reasonable wear and tear.

Therefore, it is in every landlord’s best interest to conduct an instant online background check tenant screening on each rental applicant to avoid such potentially costly and time consuming situations. Instant Background Checks ( is a recognized leader in providing reports which will immediately identify any past reported criminal related problems. Consider it a small investment for your peace of mind.