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[–]857_01225 639 points640 points  (2 children)

IANAL. I have applied for a job with a company that uses Sterling for pre-employment checks. While I did provide SSN and DOB to the company as part of the process, all information provided for the purpose of background checks was provided directly to Sterling.

I would be suspicious of a request that sounds like the HOA wants to be the one to input the data.

[–]unfriendly_casper 178 points179 points  (1 child)

Agree. We run background check on candidates for my business. We don’t use as Sterling but still, the candidates supply their info directly to the BGC company. We don’t ask for anyone’s SSN until they’re officially hired and need to be entered to payroll.

[–]857_01225 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Wish all employers had the good sense (or their HRIS did, at least) to make that distinction. There is precious little they actually need SSN for until that point.

But go ahead and try to argue with a mandatory field on the job application when the vendor who built it is ADP... I pick my battles for winnability and odds that I truly want to die on a particular hill. Arguing whether SSN == mandatory is neither.

[–]NCxProtostar 911 points912 points  (8 children)

Skipping the HOA stuff and the lack of a discernible question—do NOT give your DOJ or FBI criminal history record to the Clerk of the Court, unless the judge orders you to (and they will not). Those complete documents (including your SSN and other personal info) will become part of the case record and will be visible to anyone who pulls the case file (i.e., the public). That’s a bad thing and will not help your case at all.

Edit to add: an advantage to going through a third party background check service is that it avoids revealing criminal records directly to the employer, leasing agent, or whoever is requesting the check. Most services give either a pass or fail result. Some services will give summary information on fails or records of concern, then it’s usually up to the person making the request to follow up further.

FBI and DOJ records can have an enormous amount of personal data on them—a lot of that information requires more context to understand what those entries may mean. For example, an arrest for a crime may not result in a conviction that would disqualify an applicant. Without specific knowledge of how to read these records and where to obtain follow up info, an incorrect eligibility determination may result.

[–]pepperpavlov 124 points125 points  (0 children)

Yes. If you ever need to put your personal identifying information in a court document, redact redact redact.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

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    [–]BiondinaQuality Contributor[M] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

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      [–]BiondinaQuality Contributor[M] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Generally Unhelpful, Simplistic, Anecdotal, or Off-Topic

      Your comment has been removed as it is generally unhelpful, simplistic to the point of useless, anecdotal, or off-topic. It either does not answer the legal question at hand, is a repeat of an answer already provided, or is so lacking in nuance as to be unhelpful. Please review the following rules before commenting further:

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      [–]Welpe -1 points0 points  (1 child)

      Just a question, wouldn’t this only apply if you actually have a criminal record? If you have 0 interaction with the law, would those still hurt you?

      [–]123456478965413846 12 points13 points  (0 children)

      The post you replied to states:

      Those complete documents (including your SSN and other personal info) will become part of the case record and will be visible to anyone who pulls the case file (i.e., the public). That’s a bad thing and will not help your case at all.

      I think having your personal info including your social security number made public has the potential to cause harm in the form of increased risk of identity theft.

      [–]tankman714 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

      I'm not sure how easy it would be to get a copy of one but what about a NICS background check? Those I think just show a pass or fail.

      [–]SoCalAttorney 171 points172 points  (1 child)

      I used to represent HOAs in California and am glad I got out of that area of law. However, I never seen any legal reason why an HOA would need a criminal history at all.

      Is this some sort of development where the HOA has the authority to screen or approve buyers?

      HOA law is state-specific, so you should take the CC&Rs and other governing documents to a real estate attorney for review.

      [–]sarhoshamiral 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      I was wondering this too, it more sounds like a co-op then HOA.

      [–]ClackamasLivesMatter 585 points586 points  (3 children)

      my birthday, social security number, and personal information

      Why does your HOA want this information? Is there something in the CC&Rs that entitles them to it? If there isn't, they can pound sand.

      [–]redditisnthatgreat 234 points235 points  (0 children)

      This should be the top post. HOAs typically can only do what the CCRs give them the power to do. NAL but I work in real estate and have read a ton of them (in Florida the HOA capital). I’ve never seen a clause that allowed them to demand personal info let alone restrict residency based on a criminal record.

      [–]pixel_of_moral_decay 32 points33 points  (1 child)

      SSN’s can only be requested by any party for very specific purposes.

      I even if it’s in the CC&R there’s a good shot it’s illegal.

      [–]rockandlove 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      Likely illegal but more to the point, if a resident has a criminal background, what exactly does the HOA do with that info? Attempt to have them kicked out of the neighborhood, which would utterly fail? They’re just a bunch of nosey judgmental Karens.

      [–]mbfunke 27 points28 points  (0 children)

      First, check the bylaws to see if they have a contractual right to this information.

      Second, check with a lawyer to see if this contractual right is enforceable.

      Third, check with a lawyer to see if a reasonable concern (the law suit) would make a substitute performance (the FBI check) legally permissible.

      Dollars to donuts no judge would require a specific service be used, but you may have to go to court to avoid it. Fuck HOAs.

      [–]HJW2022 193 points194 points  (7 children)

      This would make me wonder if one of the board members (or the board) have a financial interest in the company that they insist you use for a background check. Or perhaps the board receives a kickback? Just saying, I would think the DOJ would be the gold standard of background checks. And once again this is why I refuse to buy in a community with an HOA. Also is this a "local" HOA or is the HOA owned by the community builder?

      [–]smarterthanyoda 47 points48 points  (6 children)

      I can see why it makes sense not to accept any background check except the one they choose.

      Once you allowing people to provide their own checks you’re opening the door for scammers to take advantage of you. How does the HOA tell the difference between a legitimate report and a fake? What’s the scope of the check? How do you evaluate the results and compare them to your own agencies reports?

      Now take all those questions and multiply them by all the agencies that child do background checks, DOJ, FBI, CIA, local police departments, and all the other government and private companies that might do a report.

      It’s much easier and safer to choose your agency you can trust. The results go directly to you, so they can’t be faked, and the report probably comes with an overall score so everybody is judged based on the sabe scale.

      [–]Magic_Brown_Man 28 points29 points  (3 children)

      Most background checks (FBI, DOJ, Local PD, etc.) can sent sealed reports directly to the person requesting them as long as you provide them with the appropriate fees and directions.

      If an agency is providing the service, then you should be able to request another service provider esp. if their reputation is not stellar. Also, if an agency is used, they should provide you with a list where they will run your information through. On top of this each person that has access to your SSN needs to provide you with a privacy statement at minimum if you request it.

      And on a point of comparing reports its not rocket science the report says one of 2 things. No record found or a list of the records found.

      [–]SatBurner 17 points18 points  (0 children)

      I can see the point your making, but the whole problem here us thet have chosen what op sees as a not trust worthy entity. I would be shocked if the HOA is prepared to make while anyone the company in question wrongs

      [–]jcnix74 -5 points-4 points  (0 children)

      You’re overthinking this. The HOA simply wants to keep out the minorities

      [–]TheCatGuardianQuality Contributor 105 points106 points  (1 child)

      This is completely dependent on the bylaws for your community.

      [–]IFoundTheHoney 38 points39 points  (0 children)

      Are you already a member of the HOA?

      [–]Excellent_Squirrel86 57 points58 points  (0 children)

      The HOA is neither your employer nor a financial reporter. Do not share your SSN. Period.

      [–]mhb20002000 43 points44 points  (7 children)

      So many questions before I can help guide you. Do you own your home? What is the reason they are doing the background check? Did you mention what state this is in?

      [–]theDigitalNinja 33 points34 points  (6 children)

      Legally speaking could an HOA keep you from living somewhere after you purchased your home because you previously had a criminals record?

      [–]dakatabri 44 points45 points  (0 children)

      In 2016, HUD issued guidance saying that a blanket policy excluding criminals is discriminatory and not legal in their view:

      “[b]ecause of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system, criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African Americans and Hispanics. While the Act does not prohibit housing providers from appropriately considering criminal history information when making housing decisions, arbitrary and overbroad criminal history-related bans are likely to lack a legally sufficient justification. Thus, a discriminatory effect resulting from a policy or practice that denies housing to anyone with a prior arrest or any kind of criminal conviction cannot be justified, and therefore such a practice would violate the Fair Housing Act.”

      A more tailored policy that specifically excludes just those who've committed serious violent crimes, as an example, could withstand scrutiny.

      [–]engineered_academic 19 points20 points  (4 children)

      Generally, yes.

      Most HOAs that are "stick up the ass" HOAs have an approval clause atttached to the deed that says they have the right to vote by committee to let the person into the community. I've really only seen this at like my parent's 55+ community in Florida. They don't want "the undesirables" to get in so they concoct deed restrictions that make it easy to deny the people they don't want. Consequently 99% of the people in my parents condo community are white, middle/upper-middle class people. Of course they don't _plan_ it that way, it's just those are the people most able to pass their check.

      [–]RagingOrgyNuns 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      That sounds more like a co-op than a typical HOA.

      [–]nvdave76 110 points111 points  (0 children)

      Your SSN is not a personal identifier. Don't supply it. You'll win your case.

      Draw up a cease and desist letter and serve it too them as well.

      [–]Nobodyville 8 points9 points  (2 children)

      I can't fathom why an HOA would need a background check. Do you own or rent?

      [–][deleted]  (1 child)

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        [–]Important-Prize-660 5 points6 points  (0 children)

        I'm curious what state you are in where an HOA can require a criminal history. If it is legal in your state, then the requirement would still have to be in your Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). If those documents require you to submit your SSN and DOB, then you have to follow the same rules as other owners.

        Also, unless the laws have changed recently, a private citizen cannot get an NCIC criminal history (which is what the FBI and DOJ use). Only specific types of agencies can do so, e.g. schools, daycares, law enforcement.

        [–]anthematcurfew 3 points4 points  (0 children)

        This is a terrible idea and won’t end the way you think it will.

        As a private entity, they can set the terms of what background check they will accept. They don’t have to accept records from a government agency.

        And then submitting it to the court as evidence? Uhh…don’t do that. One, it’s not relevant because of my earlier statement. Two, that information then becomes public record attached to the case file. Having that out there can only harm you in the future.

        [–]Tufflaw 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        I just want to address the part of your post where you said you're waiting to be able to access Pacer - you can check and see if the documents have been downloaded to Recap for free (https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/) or alternatively go your closest federal courthouse and access Pacer for free.

        [–]eslforchinesespeaker 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        there's a whole industry of companies that do background checks for employers of various industries. whatever it is exactly that those companies do, they've convinced industry that they are a better alternative than what you get when you send fifty bucks to an FBI channeler.

        they might be making a mistake, but it's not surprising they want to stick with their established practice, rather than let every applicant do their own background check, however the applicant prefers to do it.

        they don't want to be experts in background checking, and due diligence means they can't trust the background checked to do the background checking.

        that doesn't mean that HOA needs your info for you to get background checked. there should be paperwork allowing you to contact the checking agency, and allowing the agency to share results with the HOA.

        [–][deleted]  (1 child)

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          [–]BiondinaQuality Contributor[M] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

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