It is a good thing to do a CRB check on a potential lodger. This record will make the criminal past and present of the lodger known to the landlord. The landlord will known if the person they wish to accommodate is violent or not, and whether the lodger is going to respect them and their home or not. The landlord will also know how safe their home, property and possibly children are with the lodger under the same roof as them. Unfortunately, making all these vital discoveries is difficult as the CRB check doesn’t exist anymore.
After the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority in the year 2012, the CRB check ceased to exist. The body that replaced it is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This body offers two kinds of checks: Standard Check and Enhanced Check. Those checks, unfortunately, can only be made by employers on behalf of their employees, not private nor self-employed individuals. As landlords are neither employers, nor lodgers employees, none of these kinds of checks can be made.
What is left is another kind of check called the Basic Disclosure Check. This type of check is basically for self-employed individuals, visa applicants, personal liquor license applicants, and other companies that feel like doing it. It is particularly for people living and working in Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is done by a body called Disclosure Scotland. Though meant for people in Scotland and Northern Ireland, people in other places can access them if they need to, at a cost of £25. It takes 14 days to be ready.
There wouldn’t be much sense in landlords making potential lodgers go through the Basic Disclosure Check. That is because it only contains either the details of convictions regarded as ‘unspent’ under the rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or states that there are no ‘unspent convictions’. What’s more, landlords are likely to take responsibility for the cost, should they force a potential lodger into getting the check. Moreover, the spent or unspent convictions which the Basic Disclosure Check covers may not be clear enough to enable landlords to take decisions. So, what’s the point?
Landlords should, therefore, go through other avenues of ascertaining a potential lodger’s criminal status or disposition. These include an oral interview and carrying out a search engine and/or social media search on the lodger. As unreliable as these methods may seem to be, they are actually quite helpful.