Retaining Resident's Criminal Record
Q How long should I retain the results of a criminal background check performed on a resident?
A According to Cheryl McMillon, a 25-year veteran of affordable housing management, HUD's general rule on retention of criminal background checks states:
All criminal records received are to be maintained confidentially, not misused or improperly disseminated; and destroyed upon completion of the originally intended use. When destroying records of criminal background, a notation should be made in the tenant file that includes the date the records are destroyed and a statement that the records were destroyed for purposes of confidentiality [HUD Handbook 4350.3, Change 2, 8-14 C 13].
Sometimes a site owner or manager will obtain criminal background checks through the local public housing authority (PHA), McMillon says. If a PHA conducts the criminal screening, it must retain the criminal records in a confidential manner and may not disclose the contents of the background check to the owner, she notes. The PHA may inform the owner only of whether the applicant meets eligibility requirements. The PHA may destroy the records in accordance with regulations at 24 CFR 5.903(g).
Even if a criminal background check does not come from a PHA, you should retain the results of the criminal background check for three years beyond the term of the resident's tenancy, McMillon says.
Cheryl McMillon: Manager, Rampart Apts.; Port Arthur, TX