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Crime Free Programs

Crime Free Multi-Housing logoThe Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is an international program. The program began in 1992 and has spread to over 40 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and over 1500 cities. Tim Zehring, founder of the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, can be seen below left in New  Westminster, B.C. (Canada) which was the first international city to join the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program.

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(Click on photo to enlarge.)


  • A stable, more satisfied tenant base.

  • Increased demand for rental units with a reputation for active management.

  • Lower maintenance and repair costs.

  • Increased property values.
  • Improved personal safety for tenants, landlords, and managers.

Points to Consider

Costs of Drug Activity In Rental Property

When drug criminals and other destructive tenants operate out of rental property, neighborhoods suffer and landlords pay a high price. That price may include:

  • Decline in property values -- particularly when the activity begins affecting the reputation of the neighborhood.
  • Property damage arising from abuse, retaliation, or neglect; property damage from police raids.
  • Fire resulting from manufacturing or growing operations.
  • Civil penalties, including temporary closure of the property -- or even property seizure.
  • Loss of rent during the eviction and repair periods.
  • Fear and frustration when dealing with dangerous and threatening tenants.
  • Increased resentment and anger between neighbors and property managers.
  • The loss of other valued tenants.

The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program will teach you:

I. Prevention and Applicant Screening

  • How code compliance (preparing the property) can protect your rights as a landlord.
  • Benefits of applicant screening.
  • Tips to strengthen rental agreements.
  • How to become a proactive property manager.
  • Maintaining a fire safe environment.
  • Development of life safety awareness.

II. Drug Nuisance Abatement

  • Warning signs of drug activity.

  • Actions you must take if you discover your tenant or tenant's guests are conducting illegal activities at your property.

  • Role of the police.

  • Crisis resolution and the eviction process.

III. Resource Materials

  • 100-page manual with additional community resources for tenants, landlords, and property managers.
  • A manual addressing fire and life safety awareness for tenants, landlords, and property managers.


Management should have a set criterion or standards that they want the residents of their manufactured housing community to meet. The application form is their chance to gather information about their future residents. By making their application clear, concise and thorough, management will be able to make an informed decision and ensure that their criterion is being met.

It is imperative that management carefully reads the entire application before accepting it, making sure that every question is fully answered. If the applicant discloses information that does not meet their rental criteria the application should probably be denied.

After accepting the application their job is only half done. The application is of no use to management if they do not carefully screen or verify the information. Management should take the time themselves, or hire someone qualified to do a thorough screening and background check on all of the information received.

Suggested Criminal History Questions:

Management should have a keen interest in the people that want to live in their rental community. No one wants to live next door to a person with a violent or extensive criminal history.

As part of the application process management should ask the applicant, (and any other people who will be living in the home), about their criminal history. If they refuse to disclose this information to the management, they have the option not to rent to them.

It is recommended that management get as much detailed information as they can. To assist management in gathering this information, here are sample questions that may be asked on the application:

Have you, or any member of your household:

1. Ever been arrested, cited, prosecuted, plead guilty to, or been convicted of a crime?

2. Ever been placed on probation, parole, or any other release from jail, or prison?

3. Ever been or currently are a member of a gang?

4. Is there a current warrant for the applicant or any members of their household?

5. Are applicants or any members of their household currently involved in any criminal activity?

6. Ever been evicted or had a forcible detainer filed against you?

7. Ever moved to avoid eviction or because of problems with other tenants or a landlord?

Management should be sure the applicants explain all “Yes” answers in detail. At a minimum management should ask if the applicant or any person living in the home has ever been convicted of a crime. Management should inquire about all crimes, not just felonies. Many of the crimes that will cause management the most problems are not felonies. I do not recommend you discriminate against applicants based on an arrest. This is especially true if the charges were ultimately dropped.

Criminal Background Checks

Many credit reporting agencies will offer to search local or county court records for criminal data pertaining to their prospective tenants. While many of these companies make promising claims, the results they get may vary as greatly as the costs.

It is important to "shop around" for the best results, using a control group of names currently being processed. In most cases, management will see the best results from companies that use licensed private investigators, and search multiple courts and jurisdictions.

Material Falsification

In most states, material falsification of the information provided on the rental application, will allow the management to serve a notice to the resident, terminating the rental agreement.

If the residents claims the misinformation was an “honest mistake” but the corrected information they provide would have disqualified the applicant as well, the manager probably should proceed with the written notice.

If the corrected information would have allowed the resident to qualify, the manager should probably void the notice. Most states allow for an eviction against a resident who has given untrue or misleading information on the application pertaining to such things as:

  • Criminal records
  • Pets
  • Prior eviction records
  • Income of prospective resident
  • Current criminal activity
  • Social security number
  • Number of occupants in dwelling unit
  • Current employment

Refusing An Application

It is important that management keeps documentation for the applications that they have refused to approve. This documentation should be kept in the application file and retained for future use. Along with documentation, management must be consistent in following the defined criteria and standards they have set for their manufactured housing community.

Remember that the Fair Housing Laws do not say you have to turn your I.Q. back 30 points, nor do they require that you have to rent to everyone who applies. The Fair Housing Laws simply prohibit discrimination based on the applicable protected classes in your area.


  • This website is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Click here.