LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Recent crime in Little Rock’s Oak Forest neighborhood, including the death of a two-year-old girl one week ago, has some homeowners in the area questioning how well landlords are vetting tenants renting their properties.
For anyone considering renting an Oak Forest home managed by Deaton Group Realty, a thorough application awaits them before they ever step foot through the door.
“We use a third party tool to give us a guideline of what this applicant looks like,” says Scott Deaton, with Deaton Group Realty.
Deaton manages more than 20 homes in the Oak Forest area and helps landlords who want to rent them to the right people.
“Ultimately it’s up to that homeowner to make a decision if he wants to lean one way or another based on the credit and background check that we receive,” Deaton adds.
Deaton says not all landlords working on their own are vetting tenants this way.
“The criminal activity can affect the pricing,” Deaton continues.
Members of the Arkansas Community Organizations meeting told us Tuesday they see the effects of landlords they say are looking to make quick cash without doing much questioning.
Members tell city leaders they feel the questionable tenants could be contributing to a rise in crime in the area.
Deaton says a rise in criminal activity could have a ripple effect on the neighborhood.
“The demand for those housing units goes down and when the demand goes down that’s going to affect the price,” he explains.
According to Zillow, rental homes in Oak Forest range from under $500 and upwards of $900 per month.
Deaton says more vetting from landlords could help prevent tenants with criminal histories from coming into the neighborhood and keeping prices where they are.
“It protects everybody. It protects the homeowner. It protects our real estate agency, but it protects our overall economical real estate market as well,” Deaton says.