8 min read

All About Background Checks

Background checks are one of the important tools at your disposal for vetting potential housemates, not to mention demonstrating your own trustworthiness and interest in homesharing. This article covers why you should get a background check, how to interpret background check results (for yourself and others) and how to safely share your results. 

 

In this article: 

 

Why get a background check  

Background checks are one of the tools HomeShare Online provides to help you learn more about potential housemates, gain insight into mutual compatibility and jumpstart open, transparent conversations. 

 

The benefits of background checks aren’t one-way. Getting your own background check signals to other HomeShare Online users that you are who you say you are and may even increase your chances of finding a match.  

 

Keep in mind that background checks are only one of several ways HomeShare Online equips you to make the best decision for you about your living situation. Other tools include: 

 

Background check process overview 

HomeShare Online uses an industry-leading background check processor, Checkr, to run comprehensive background checks in compliance with all federal and state laws. Since 2014, Checkr has been serving top companies across industries including Netflix, Lyft, Uber and Instacart. Learn more about Checkr. 

 

Here's a high-level overview of the HomeShare Online background check process: 

  1. From within the HomeShare Online website, you will:
    1. Enter the essential information Checkr needs to run your background check.
    2. Provide your authorization and consent for Checkr to run your background check.
  2. Checkr will run your background check.
  3. You’ll receive an email from HomeShare Online when your results are ready.  
  4. You’ll be able to view and share an abbreviated version of your results with prospective housemates (or you can choose not to share them).  
  5. You’ll also be able to download a copy of your full results report from Checkr. This full report will contain sensitive personal information, so we recommend you don’t share it. Learn more about how Checkr handles and protects your information here. 

  

How to start your background check  

To begin the background check process: 

  1. Log in to HomeShare Online. 
  2. Click your profile photo icon in the upper-right corner of your screen and select Your background check from the dropdown menu that appears:
    your-background-check
  3. On the next page, click Get a background check to begin the process of purchasing your background check.   

Note: If you are a HomeShare Online Plus user, background checks are included in your membership for free. Learn more about HomeShare Online Plus features and pricing.  

 

What’s included in a background check 

A background check includes the following: 

  1. Social Security Number (SSN) Trace: Learn more here 
  2. Eviction Search: Learn more here 
  3. Sex Offender Search: Learn more here 
  4. Global Watchlist Search: Learn more here 
  5. National Criminal Search: Learn more here 
  6. County Search (only if records are returned from the National Criminal Search): Learn more here  

 

Note: Reporting for misdemeanor and felony records typically looks back approximately seven years, and reporting for motor vehicle records typically looks back approximately three years. Learn more about reporting periods. 

 

Sample background check results 

This is an example of how background check results appear in HomeShare Online: 

Note: As mentioned above, the full version of your background check results available from Checkr will contain more information than this shareable version. 

  

Glossary of background check terms 

Clear

Both entire reports and individual screenings within reports can be marked as Clear. If an individual screening (Global Watchlist Search, County Search, etc.) is marked as Clear, it means that the individual screening did not contain any potentially adverse information. If an entire report is marked as Clear, it means that the report did not contain any potentially adverse information. 


Complete

Both entire reports and individual screenings within reports can be marked as Complete. If either a report or an individual screening is marked as Complete, it means that the screening is ready for your review. Please note that the Complete status does not indicate whether there is adverse information for you to evaluate. It simply indicates that the report has been run. 

 

Consider

Both entire reports and individual screenings within reports can be marked as Consider. If an individual screening (Global Watchlist Search, County Search, etc.) is marked as Consider, it means that the individual screening contains some information for you to evaluate. If an entire report is marked as Consider, it means that the report contains some information for you to evaluate.  

 

Pending

If either a report or an individual screening is marked as Pending, it means that the report or individual screening is still processing. While most reports take 2-3 days to finalize, some may take longer. Please note that some County Searches take longer than others and cannot be expedited. Timelines vary based on the processes and procedures of individual counties. 

  

How to interpret background check results 

Background checks are only one of several tools HomeShare Online provides to help you make a good decision about where and with whom to live. Just like individual people, background check results can be nuanced. Here are some tips for interpreting the statuses you might see in your own background check results or someone else’s. 

  

Consider 

To cast a wide net and find potential offenses, Checkr queries 2,200 databases and over 900 million records to complete a background check. A Consider status will be returned for any “hits” that result from this search—including felonies, misdemeanors and even some infractions and traffic records.  

 

Because so many different types of offenses could return a Consider status, it’s not a rare phenomenon. In fact, nearly one-third of the population has a criminal record of some sort. So do your research, ask questions and don’t automatically assume a potential housemate is incompatible or should be disregarded because you see Consider in their background check results. Learn more about vetting and screening housemates. 

 

If your own background check returns with a Consider status, keep an open line of communication with potential housemates about it. The status doesn’t need to be treated as a secret, and being transparent can help build trust that may lead to a successful match.  

  

Clear 

Just as a Consider status doesn’t automatically indicate that someone would be a bad housemate, a Clear status doesn't automatically indicate that someone is a perfect match. Do an online search, check references and trust your instincts. Learn more about vetting and screening housemates

 

Note: A completed background check does not indicate HomeShare Online’s endorsement of home providers, homes or renters for homesharing.  

 

How to share your background check results 

HomeShare Online will never share your results with potential housemates (or anyone else) without your consent. To share your background check summary with another HomeShare Online user:  

  1. Go to your dashboard and select the PENDING RENTERS tab. 
    Review Pending Renters-2 

  2. Select Other actions next to the name of the person you'd like to share your results with: 


  3. Click Share background check from the dropdown menu that appears.  
     
  4. A popup window will appear. Click the box next to “I consent to sharing my background check summary” and click Share Summary
    Share Background Check Summary -1 

  5. You can also download the full version of your background check results from Checkr for your personal use. Note: The full report will contain sensitive personal information, so share it with care if you share it at all.
     

Frequently asked questions 

Are background checks mandatory? 

HomeShare Online does not automatically perform background checks on users. It is up to each user to decide whether to purchase a background check. Note: HomeShare Online Plus comes with background checks included (including refreshing yours every 90 days if desired).  

 

I already processed a background check through HomeShare Online. Can I use that? 

If you have processed a background check through HomeShare Online, the results can be shared with as many HomeShare Online users as you like for 90 days. If it’s been more than 90 days since your HomeShare Online background check, you’ll need to process another one to be able to share the results. HomeShare Online Essential users can purchase background checks a-la-carte for $29.99. Background checks are included at no extra cost for HomeShare Online Plus users. Learn more about HomeShare Online plans and pricing. 

  

I already have a background check through work. Can I use that?  

You’re welcome to inform potential housemates about other background checks you may have completed, but there’s no way to upload a non-HomeShare Online background check to the HomeShare Online platform to share with other users. 

 

Who runs my background check? 

HomeShare Online uses an industry-leading background check processor, Checkr, to run comprehensive background checks in compliance with all federal and state laws. Since 2014, Checkr has been serving top companies across industries including Netflix, Lyft, Uber and Instacart. Learn more about Checkr. 

 

What information do you collect for my background check?  

Checkr uses the following information to run a background check: 

  1. Your full legal name (including your middle name, if you have one) 
  2. Your date of birth 
  3. Your Social Security number (more on why your Social Security number is needed below)
  4. Your zip code 
  5. Your phone number  
  6. Your email address 

 

Why do I need to enter my Social Security number? 

A Social Security number (SSN) is required to identify addresses or aliases that an individual has used and to serve as a pointer for additional searches. Click here to learn more about the Social Security Number Trace in Checkr’s help center. 

 

Can I get a background check without entering my Social Security number?  

It’s not possible for Checkr to run a background check without a Social Security number. 

 

How does Checkr protect my Social Security number? 

Checkr takes frequent precautions to protect personal data. Their internal security staff and third-party security specialists conduct regular application and infrastructure security vulnerability and penetration testing. For specific security-related questions, contact security@checkr.com. 

  

How long does a background check take to process?  

Every background check is as unique as the individual applying, so the processing time varies with each report. Most background checks take 3-7 business days to process, but some may take longer. 

  

Why can’t I share my background check results after 90 days?  

A background check represents a snapshot in time, and circumstances change. Background checks expire after 90 days to ensure that all HomeShare Online users have access to the most up-to-date information about their potential housemates. After 90 days, HomeShare Online Essential users can purchase a new background check for $29.99. HomeShare Online Plus users can renew their background check for free. Learn more about HomeShare Online plans and pricing

 

Troubleshooting 

Why don't I have my results yet? 

Most background checks take 3-7 business days to complete, but some may take longer. County Search processing time varies from county to county, with some County Searches returned the same day and others taking several days or more. Most counties provide a Public Access Terminal (PAT) where records can be searched in real time at the court. Slower counties typically require a court-clerk-assisted search to be performed, whereby an employee of the court conducts the search on Checkr’s behalf. 

  

Why does my background check say I have a criminal record?  

To cast a wide net and find potential offenses, Checkr queries 2,200 databases and over 900 million records to complete a background check. A Consider status will be returned for any “hits” that result from this search—including felonies, misdemeanors and even some infractions and traffic records. Because so many different types of offenses could return a Consider status, it’s not a rare phenomenon. In fact, nearly one-third of the population have a criminal record of some sort.  

 

Why are traffic tickets showing up in a criminal background check?  

Traffic tickets may appear on a criminal record if the state where the ticket was issued considers it a criminal charge. Keep in mind that paying a ticket does not guarantee that the state will remove a violation from your motor vehicle record. Please contact your state Department of Motor Vehicles with any questions about violations that appear on your motor vehicle record. 

 

What if I notice an error in my report?  

If you need to dispute your background check, you can:  

  1. Submit a request to Checkr’s support team and upload any supporting documents 
  2. Call Checkr at 844-824-3257 
  3. Mail an explanation of your dispute with any supporting documents to:  

    Checkr Inc.  
    1 Montgomery St.  
    Suite 2400 
    San Francisco, CA. 94104 

 


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