Background and Criminal Checks

Background and Criminal Checks:

Does Sharing Spaces do background checks of hosts and tenants?

If we have enough information to identify a tenant or host who lives in the United States, Sharing Spaces may check public criminal conviction and sex offender databases and we may delete listings on based on the results of those findings.

Although background checks may help identify past criminal conduct where records are available, background checks don’t always identify a person’s past crimes or other red flags, they are never a guarantee that a person won’t break the law in the future. Due to the way certain databases are maintained, there may be gaps in the coverage provided by public records searches, and the online databases may be only updated periodically by local governments which we do not control or direct. Results of these database checks may not reveal or include recent criminal record activity.

No background check should ever be relied upon as the sole indicator of suitability. You should always exercise your own judgment about whom to interact with, communicate or meet up with or decide to live with. 

What are some of the limitations of background checks?

Although background checks may identify past criminal conduct where records are available, they have several limitations, and do not guarantee that all past criminal conduct has been identified or that a person won’t break the law in the future. For example:

A. The scope of our search is limited

Most background checks are limited to U.S.-based guests and hosts. In addition, screening is often not conducted on additional guests that may be staying with a host or other guest in a property.

Even where background checks have been completed, accurate reporting requires correct and accurate legal name and other identifiable information.  It is always possible that inaccurate information was given.

In addition, for users who live in the United States, screening companies do not always check every state and county courthouse records and other criminal registries or other public databases (such as but not limited to Moving Violation Reports (MVRs) and Driving Records). It’s important to know that the criminal record information searched and reported for each type of check varies by state, and sometimes county, due to variations in state laws and state and county criminal record reporting systems.

Lastly, because of differences in foreign laws, language, and the manner in which foreign records are maintained and reported, background checks on users located outside the United States may be income or inaccurate. 

Finally, criminals may circumvent even the most sophisticated database or search technology.

B. Search results do not guarantee safety

In sum, while we hope user vetting tools will be useful to help protect our community, they don’t always identify a person’s past crimes or other red flags, cannot guarantee that a person won’t break the law in the future, and are never a guarantee of safety or that a host or tenant who has completed a background check is safe or safer than any unknown person you may meet in any other way.

What safety tips should I follow when interacting with a host, tenant or prospective tenant?

  • Consider doing a web search and checking public government databases such as the U.S. federal or state sex offender registries for the name(s) of anyone with whom you interact offline.

  • If they are a college student, you can ask for their school ID or a letter from their school or employer.  If you are not able to confirm their identity, don’t give them your full name or address and don’t schedule a showing.  

  • If you feel confident the prospective tenant is who they say they are, and you are ready to schedule a viewing at your home, we recommend having a friend or someone with you when you are going to show your property.  We recommend only schedule showings during the daytime.
  • Protect your privacy and physical security of your financial information, including your social security or other tax ID number, your date of birth, credit card and bank account information, and government issued IDs.
  • Be cautious when sharing personal information, like your email address, phone number, home address, place of work.
  • Keep a clear mind and avoid doing things that impair your judgment..
  • Please report any users who violate our Terms and Conditions to us. Examples of users who violate our terms of service include:
    • Users who send you harassing or offensive messages
    • Users who behave inappropriately online or at a listing
    • Fraudulent registration, user profiles, or listings
    • Users who otherwise create a safety risk
  • Tell a friend or family member of your travel or hosting plans.
  • Know the contact information for emergency responders in the city of your listing, and keep that handy in case you need it.

If you live in California, Sharing Spaces can help with your background check and documentation needs:

Hosts, for $299, you can hire Sharing Spaces to help you screen your tenant and help with the rental agreement and addendums.  Once you have decided a tenant meets your criteria, just give the tenant our email address: and the tenant will request an application link for your listing.  You will also send an email to with your name, address and phone number, tenant name and your qualifications and we will follow up with you on the next steps. 

Tenants, suggest to your host to utilize Sharing Spaces for screening and rental agreement documents.  We offer services in which we will screen hosts, collect rents and manage deposits.  Ask us for more information.

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