Start Your Records Search:

Vermont Public Records

Vermont started keeping records back in 1776 in all 14 counties. Property records were some of the first records kept, but they grew to births, death, and marriages. Over the years, the records have gone from paper files to digital files, which makes them easier to access. 

While records are more accessible, the process to obtain them can still be difficult. To help citizens navigate the public records system in the state of Vermont, this guide can help. You’ll find specific information on where to find specific records, including criminal, inmate, court, and vital records, and how to go about accessing them in the easiest way possible. 

What does the Vermont public records law say?

Under the state’s Vermont Records Laws, the Department of Public Service must provide access to its records unless there are specific exemptions stating otherwise. The Public Records Act in Vermont was a result of the Watergate scandal and ensures that free and open examination of records held by state agencies is met, transparency and accountability are practiced, and better decision-making procedures are practiced by government agencies in order to recognize the rights of individuals to privacy.

There are some records created by the Vermont legislature and judicial branches that the state has deemed exempt from public access. The attorney general has ruled in favor of keeping these legislative records sealed.  

Under the law, there is a stated time frame with a list of procedures to be adhered to, authorizing any aggrieved person the ability to make a challenge in court if denied access to records. The Vermont Supreme Court has liberally construed this law, noting that the identity of the requester is irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether or not to provide documents.

How can a person access public records in Vermont?

In some cases, government records can be found online. In other cases, a public records request must be sent via email, mail, or by phone to the record-holding department. 

Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places. 

In general, a public records request should include: 

  • Your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
  • The name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
  • A specific time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
  • How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail

Due to COVID-19, if you have public interest in records, be aware that some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead. 

More information can be found on the state website, Vermont.gov.

Vermont criminal records

In the state of Vermont, criminal records are most typically utilized by employers who are executing background checks on potential employees. In order to assist employees in searching for a person’s criminal records, we have provided some information and resources below.

What’s on a criminal record?

A criminal record provides a detailed record of a person’s interactions with law enforcement. These records are pulled from various sources and include arrest records, convictions, and incarcerations within the state’s four prisons. 

More specifically, a criminal record or a background check will provide the following information: 

  • Personal information like a person’s name, birthday, nationality, etc.
  • A mugshot and full set of fingerprints
  • A list of distinguishing features like tattoos and other physical attributes
  • The type of offense (misdemeanor or felony) and description of the crime

Where can a person find Vermont criminal records?

The criminal records in Vermont are official documents that are provided through the Vermont Criminal Conviction Record Internet Service, a division of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. Under this service, users are able to purchase criminal conviction records from the Vermont Crime Information Center. 

The information contained in these files are usually gathered from several sources and are then organized in personal record depositories that are available to the general public for a criminal background report. These records include any misdemeanor and felony crimes, as well as any subsequent arrests, indictments, and/or convictions of their alleged involvement. A request for criminal conviction history records costs $30 each, which is non-refundable, whether or not a records search produces any actual records.

Vermont inmate records

Inmate records in Vermont consist of offenders that are incarcerated within the state and correctional facilities, detailing inmate-specific data like sentencing, offense class, parish information, and the location of the inmate. 

What’s on an inmate record?

The information listed on an inmate record varies, but in Vermont the records usually contain a combination of personal information and specific details about a person’s incarceration situation. 

A public records database can provide the following information when accessed: 

  • Personal information like a person’s name, birthdate, and gender
  • A mug shot
  • Inmate location
  • Inmate registration number
  • Jail transfer information
  • Custody status

Where can a person find Vermont inmate records?

The Vermont Department of Corrections is in charge of maintaining all inmate records in correctional facilities throughout the state. You can easily access inmate information using the VTDOC website’s offender locator, which allows anyone the possibility of viewing information about inmates, including booking details, location, and identification numbers. Inmates can be searched by name, alias(es), and DOC number. Released offenders can also be found utilizing this tool.

Vermont court records

Court records in the state of Vermont contain a wealth of information that is produced via court proceedings across the state. Those that are requesting court records can use the resources below to ensure the most efficient methods. Keep in mind that records can be hard to access as they are typically held across several state courts within the state of Vermont. 

What’s on a court record?

In the majority of cases, court records are quite large and come with several varying documents. Most people find these documents the most helpful: 

  • Court minutes
  • Case files
  • Dockets
  • Orders of the court
  • Judgment documentation
  • Jury records and files
  • Witness documentation

Where can a person find Vermont court records?

The majority of records in the state of Vermont are held at the local court clerk’s office, but many cases can be found online. VT Courts Online was developed by the Vermont Judiciary in order to allow requesters to access public information through the internet. 

Through this portal, anyone can search for case by case docket number, the name of the litigant in a case, or through court calendars. Currently, ONLY civil division cases are accessible by the general public. For other cases, like those heard in superior courts, you need to request records from the court clerk. 

Vermont vital records

Since 1857, the state of Vermont has required all of its town to record all births, marriages and deaths. These vital records have been used to research and monitor the health of its residents and includes the other vital records: civil unions, divorces, dissolutions, fetal deaths, adn abortions. 

What information is needed to request a vital record?

A request for information can be done via Health Statistics and Vital Records site, where interested parties can provide relevant information about a specific record. This information may include:

  • The location of the event
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The full name of the person, including maiden names 
  • A case file number for divorce records
  • The license number for a marriage record

Where can a person find Vermont vital records?

In order to access the vital records in the state, requesters can go through the registry that is maintained by the Vermont Department of Health. Also, Vermonters can access the vital records through the MyVermont.gov state portal. Accounts there are free to set up and can easily facilitate a request, like a request for a certified birth certificate.

Frequently asked questions about Vermont records

To further assist Vermont citizens in their search for public records within the state, here’s a list of commonly asked questions: 

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

Yes. Whether you live in Burlington, Montpelier, or New York City or nowhere near a New England State, anyone can conduct a public records search. 

Is there a records custodian in Vermont?

No.

What exemptions exist?

With 40 general exemptions, Vermont works under the type that are more specific and to be construed rather narrowly. Most of these are common throughout the state’s Freedom of Information laws. 

How long does that state have to respond?

Agencies in Vermont have 2 business days to respond to any requests, although this can be extended by up to 10 days with a written notification. 

Is there an appeals process in place?

Yes. However, Vermont’s public records law says a requester must be able to show that without litigation, the records would not likely be disclosed, plus any public benefits associated with the release of the documents. It is advisable to appeal sooner as chances to overturn an appeal are slimmer after 2 years. 

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

There are nominal fees associated with requesting public records in Vermont, with staff time fees kicking in after half an hour of search time. A public agency can only charge the actual cost to reproduce records.

  • Updated November 12, 2020
  • States

Maine Public Records

To request public records in Maine, you need to know how the process works. Every state differs in the way it handles its public records requests, but Maine is fairly straightforward. 

Maine’s Freedom of Access Act governs public records and gives everyone access to public documents, with a few exceptions. 

To assist your search for public records, we have created this state-specific guide that will help people understand state laws as well as provide directions on how to access criminal, inmate, court, and vital records. 

What does the Maine public records law say?

Maine agencies are generally described as helpful and responsive when it comes to public records searches. Anyone can request public records in the state of Maine. While some states only allow state residents to request records, Maine does not.  

Under the Maine Freedom of Access Act, government agencies have five days to respond to a request. If the request is denied or rejected, a notice must be sent within five business days from the date of submission. 

If a request is denied, the public records act does not provide an administrative way to appeal the decision. Instead, appeals must be made within 30 days of the denial of the superior court. 

There are some exemptions to records within the state of Maine; they are specific and mandatory exemptions that have been outlined in the law or mentioned in statutes. If any record is redacted or withheld, the state agency must provide a reason for it.  

The biggest exemption in the Public Records Act is the judicial branch of government. 

Maine.gov has more information on the public records act.

How can a person access public records in Maine?

Some records are readily available online, but other state records require an official records request. The request can be sent by mail, email, or by phone to the corresponding department. 

Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places. 

In general, a public records request should include: 

  • your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
  • the name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
  • a specific time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
  • how to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail

Due to COVID, some public offices may have limited hours of operation and may require that anyone inside wear a mask. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead. 

Maine criminal records

An individual’s criminal history record is available to the community and general public 24 hours a day/7 days a week, with some restrictions on how that information can be released. Individuals have the right to request public criminal history records maintained by the Maine State Police. 

What’s on a criminal record?

A criminal record provides a detailed record of a person’s history with law enforcement. These records are pulled from various sources and include arrest records, convictions, and incarcerations within the state’s prisons. 

More specifically, a criminal record or a background check will provide the following information: 

  • Personal information like a person’s name, birthday, nationality, etc.
  • A mugshot, plus a full set of fingerprints
  • A list of distinguishing features like tattoos, birthmarks, or other identifying marks
  • Type of offense (misdemeanor or felony) and description of the crime

Where can a person find Maine criminal records?

Criminal background checks in Maine are executed by the Maine State Police, State Bureau of Identification. The system, called InforME, produces criminal records reports exclusively for the state of Maine. 

Either a name-based or a fingerprint-based check can be ordered, with a name-based report possible by request for anyone, with or without a consent. 

The Maine Criminal History Record and Juvenile Crime Information Request Service is an online service which provides electronic access to criminal history records and juvenile crime information maintained by the Maine State Police and the State Bureau of Identification. 

Through these records, you have 24-hour access to all the conviction and adjudication information for adult and juvenile crimes committed within the State of Maine that are currently on record, including pending issues that are less than one year old. 

Criminal history requests are only accessible up to 30 days. After 30 days, the records are no longer considered valid and a new request is necessary. 

For general public or non-governmental entities, there is a fee of $31 ($21 for inforME subscribers within the state of Maine) in order to process requests for criminal history records or juvenile crime information records. This fee is required for any records searches and doesn’t depend on the results of the search in question. The fee remains the same for a name-based check or fingerprint-based check. 

Maine inmate records

The state of Maine has about 5,000 inmates within its corrections system. Inmate records can provide information on current inmates that are housed within any correctional facility within the state. 

What’s on an inmate record?

The information on inmate records varies from state to state; in Maine the records usually contain a combination of personal information and specific details about a person’s incarceration situation. Public access to inmate records can provide the following information when accessed: 

  • Personal information (first/last name, birthdate, gender)
  • A mug shot
  • Inmate location
  • Inmate registration number
  • Jail transfer information
  • Custody status

Where can a person find Maine inmate records?

Information on inmates can be accessed via the Maine Department of Corrections, which has its own page to search for inmate records. Using the portal, you can find an inmate’s address, case number, and expected release date. 

The Maine Adult Prisoner/Probationer Search Service is free for everyone to use and is the most convenient way to search for inmate records in the Maine Department of Corrections system. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is updated every day. 

Note that minors are not included in this search service. Those making requests should also know that the information provided from this service is not a complete criminal history, which must be obtained through the online Public Criminal History Request service. 

Maine court records

All court records in Maine are maintained by either state or local governments and can be accessed and disseminated to the public, providing full documentation of allegations, sworn affidavits, and proceedings taken in a court of law. Maine court records that can be searched online include only the opinions and orders from the state Supreme Court. 

What’s on a court record?

In most cases, court records are quite extensive and come with several varying documents. Most people find the following documents the most helpful: 

  • Court minutes
  • Case files
  • Dockets
  • Orders of the court
  • Judgement documentation
  • Jury records and files
  • Witness documentation

Where can a person find Maine court records?

The State of Maine Judicial Branch has a new system in place for criminal and civil search requests. A case number must be presented in order to obtain documents on a person. 

The procedures listed below are applicable for Maine’s District courts, Superior Courts, and Violation Bureau records:

  • All record search requests are to be submitted using the Request for Records Search form
  • Requests via mail are sent to the Judicial Branch Service Center
  • Any individual that requests a record search on him/herself may query the court to learn where their record is held. Individuals requesting their own record are  exempt from a research fee. 

Maine vital records

Vital records are records of life events including birth certificates, marriage licenses/certificates, and death certificates. In some jurisdictions, vital records can also include records of civil unions or domestic partnerships.

What information is needed to request a vital record?

To obtain vital records in Maine, like a death record, for example, a person must provide certain information to aid in the search. The information includes: 

  • The location of the event
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The full name of the person, including maiden names 
  • A case file number for divorce records
  • Date of birth for birth records 
  • The license number for a marriage record

Where can a person find Maine vital records?

There are a multitude of reasons why vital records are sometimes necessary and it is always advisable to have at least one personal copy in your possession. 

Vital records in Maine, including birth, death, and marriage certificates can be found at the Division of Public Health Systems in the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

For birth or death records that pre-date 1955, you should speak with someone in the Maine State Archives.

Due to COVID-19, the state of Maine is asking that people request copies of vital records by mail with payment by check or money order. To order through the mail, enclose a copy of your photo ID and a self-addressed, stamped envelope with the request. Applications for records can be downloaded on the site.

Frequently asked questions about Maine records

To further assist Maine citizens in the pursuit of government records, here’s a list of commonly asked questions: 

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

Yes. In Maine, there is no law dictating a residency requirement. 

Is there a records custodian in Maine?

In Maine, there is no single custodian of records. 

What exemptions exist?

There are more than 300 statutory exemptions to the Freedom of Access Act’s definition of what constitutes a public record. Many of these exceptions focus on personal information, medical information, and public safety information. 

How long does that state have to respond?

Responses typically take up to 5 days. 

Is there an appeals process in place?

The appeals process can be made to the Superior Court in the county where you live.

Can anyone access, review, and challenge their records?

In accordance with Maine laws, each person has the right to review and challenge their criminal history record information. If someone disagrees with any information contained on a record, it is possible to contact the State Bureau of Identification by person or mail to request either an amendment or correction of the criminal history record. The request should indicate the record in question, the nature of the correction sought, and the justification for the amendment. 

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

Fees cover copies and no search exceeds $15 an hour. 

  • Updated October 26, 2020
  • States

Nevada Public Records

Whether you’re working on a school project to trace your family tree, need proof of divorce, or are doing background checks on applicants for your company, Nevada public records can help you get the information you need.

Nevada updated its Public Records Act in 2000 and it applies to government agencies, as well as any subdivision of the state, including schools, university foundations and other entities that serve a role in the government.

Although there are some exceptions to the Nevada Public Records Act, they’re pretty standard limitations that you’ll find in other states under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ready to get started? Use this guide to help you find public records in the Battle Born State.

What does the Nevada public records law say?

The Nevada Public Records Act provides a way for residents and nonresidents to access public records of any governmental entity, including books and records. In most cases, there is no need to explain why you want the records and Nevada even provides a template to help requestors obtain information on the Freedom of Information Act.

Members of the public can learn more about the public records act by visiting Nevada.gov. 

How can a person access public records in Nevada?

There are several ways to request a public record, including email, fax, phone or via postal mail. Although it’s also possible to request Nevada public records in person, it’s recommended that you call first due to some limitations being created due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a general rule, any written (mailed, faxed or emailed) request for Nevada public records should contain the following information:

  • Your name, mailing address, phone number and email
  • A description of the requested records 
  • A written acknowledgment to pay any fees for searching and copying the records (with a request to be informed if costs will exceed the amount of your choosing)
  • A request to be notified if the request for public records will take longer than 5 days
  • A plea for the agency to cite specific exemptions if the request for public records is denied
  • A request to be notified if a different entity holds the public records

Nevada Criminal Records

The Nevada Department of Public Safety Records, Communications and Compliance Division maintains all Nevada criminal records. The information is collected from agencies of criminal justice and includes arrests, detention and indictments, as well as the status of an offender on parole or probation, among other things. In essence, a criminal record is a “rap sheet” that contains criminal activity within Nevada’s jurisdiction. Information concerning juveniles is not available. The detailed information is available to the person of record or through criminal background checks.

What’s on a criminal record?

The Nevada Criminal History Repository provides personal criminal history records for the state, but not for other states or the Federal Bureau of Investigations. To get your own record (in which you are the subject of the record) or to get a letter indicating that no State of Nevada Record was found, take the following steps:

Employers seeking to do a criminal background check can download forms and directions on the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation website.

So, what’s on a criminal record? The document provides a detailed summary of that person’s criminal activity within the state jurisdiction. This information covers arrests, criminal offenses, indictments, convictions and, in some cases, incarceration details. Depending on the scope, a background check may reveal any/all of the following:

  • Sex offender status
  • Felony and misdemeanor convictions that haven’t been sealed
  • Pending arrests
  • Whether the person is currently on parole or probation
  • Credit, employment and education history
  • Driving records
  • Credit history

Where can a person find Nevada criminal records?

Nevada uses the VINE online portal to provide those in search of public records with access to criminal records. A simple search by name (or ID number) will provide you with basic information on an offender or defendant. Although you don’t need to register to search, registering on the site will display the full date of birth and ID number of an offender. While the site was designed to empower victims of crimes with information, it’s available for anyone to use. Results show offenders who are currently in custody or who may have been recently released. It does not include federal inmates or those in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

The results of a VINE search will provide the following results:

  • Supervision type and status
  • Supervision status date
  • Supervision start and end date
  • Supervision event reason and date
  • Supervising officer and his/her phone number
  • Reporting agency

You can also sign up for notifications to be alerted when something changes with the offender’s status.

Nevada inmate records

The State of Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) maintains three types of facilities that include 11 conservation camps, nine correctional facilities and two transitional housing centers. Although searches for inmate records can be done through the NDOC inmate search portal, copies of public records can be requested. There are some nominal fees associated with requesting a copy of the public book or record, but the requestor will be notified in advance prior to the request being honored.

What’s on an inmate record?

Public records are available on most Nevada inmates who are currently incarcerated or have been released. Search results of inmate records will provide the following information:

  • Name and aliases
  • Offender ID
  • Gender, ethnicity, age, height, weight and build
  • Hair color, eye color and complexion
  • Institution
  • Offense
  • Sentence status
  • Sentence minimum and maximum
  • Sentencing county
  • Sentencing type and start date
  • Parole hearing date and location (if relevant)

Where can a person find Nevada inmate records?

In Nevada, you can search for inmates through the Department of Corrections. As a general rule, only offenders who have received a sentence of incarceration in a Nevada state prison will be in the database. Although information on parolees is available, it may not be current. Those serving probation or who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or sentencing may not be included. To find information on someone who has been arrested by not sentenced, contact the city or county where they were arrested. To search the inmate database, use the offender’s first and/or last name or the person’s Offender ID number.

Nevada court records

With some relatively standard exceptions, the majority of court records in Nevada are available to the public through a simple online search. In Nevada, there are three trial courts: municipal, justice and district. Municipal courts tend to handle the small stuff, such as ordinance violations, misdemeanors and traffic violations. Justice courts deal with small claims, landlord/tenant disputes and misdemeanors in their jurisdictions, as well as some other civil, criminal and domestic relations cases. But district courts usually preside over criminal cases that include felonies, gross misdemeanors and other cases that fall outside specific jurisdiction courts.

What’s on a court record?

Court records show the following information:

  • Case number
  • Party name and type
  • Charge
  • Filing date
  • Hearing date, time, type and judge
  • Docket information
  • Agency (e.g., Nevada Highway Patrol)

Where can a person find Nevada court records?

To conduct a records search for court records, you’ll need to go through the court where the case was heard. Although there is a Nevada Supreme Court, as well as appellate courts, you’ll most likely be searching individual district courts to find court records.

Some courts do provide searchable online databases, but others will require you to submit a request in writing or in person. If you must request a record in person, speak with the county clerk and be prepared to provide case information along with your contact information so records can be delivered to you.  

Always call your district court first to ensure they’re open as many have closed to walk-ins due to the pandemic.

Nevada vital records

There are a number of ways to obtain vital records—including marriage and divorce records and birth and death certificates—in Nevada, but your search will depend on the several factors, including the event date, whether you can access records in person due to COVID-related closures, and your relationship with person whose record you’re seeking.

Like most state agencies, Nevada has requirements for proof of identity in some cases, which helps protect the identity of the person of record and others, prevent fraud and preserve the record’s integrity.

What information is needed to request a vital record?

In some cases, you’ll need to provide proof of your relationship to the person of record in order to obtain vital records. If you order vital records online through a site like VitalChek, you may not need to provide much as the system uses an identity verification document.

Where can a person find Nevada vital records?

The Nevada Office of Vital Statistics is managed by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public and Behavioral Health. State records of marriage and divorce after September 2005 are handled at the county level. You can search for the various counties’ records offices here. For records of marriage and divorce events occurring after 1968 but before September 2005, fill out this form and send it to the address for the Office of Vital Records and Statistics at the top.

For birth and death certificates, the state uses Vitalchek. (You can also get some marriage and divorce certificates on this site.)

Frequently asked questions about Nevada records

Nevada isn’t necessarily one of the best states in terms of ease of access to all public records, but a little guidance can help you narrow down your search. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about public records in the state:

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

Yes. Nevada law does not require residency to submit public records requests.

Is there a records custodian in Nevada?

Although the law requires the appointment of an employee at each agency to serve as the records official for the entity, they don’t need to formally designate a records custodian.

What exemptions exist?

Yes, there is a list of exemptions.

How long does that state have to respond?

Although agencies have five business days to respond, they can also provide the requester with written notification of why the record is not yet available by the deadline and when it will be.

Is there an appeals process?

Although there is no administrative appeal option, you can take court action at the county district level where the request was made.

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

Nevada law allows agencies to charge fees, but they can’t exceed the actual costs to provide the record and fees top out at $.50 per page.

  • Updated November 16, 2020
  • States

The Complete Guide to Tenant Screening

Every Landlord has faced the question before: How do you get a good quality tenant to lease your rental?

You want to make sure that your prospective renter can do three things really well:

  1. Pay the rent on time.
  2. Keep the apartment in good condition
  3. Not disturb other tenants or cause trouble.

Enter the tenant screening process. While well known and well used, it’s actually quite misunderstood.

In this guide, I’m going to cover a few important issues. If you follow them well, you have an incredibly high chance of getting high quality tenants without much fuss.

We’ll cover:

  1.  What is tenant screening and How does it work?
  2. What makes a great tenant?
  3. How do you find a good tenant?
  4. How Do Fair Housing Laws Affect Tenant Screening and Apartment Marketing?
  5. How to Pre-Screen Tenants with your Rental Application
  6. What You Must Put On Your Rental Application
  7. How to Run a Background Check and Credit Report on Your Tenant
  8. Tenant Employment Verification to Verify Income
  9. How to Verify Previous Rentals with a Landlord Verification
  10. Running a Background Check on a Co-signer or Coapplicant
  11. The Adverse Action Letter: Denying a Tenant Application

What is Tenant Screening?

Tenant screening means finding out everything there is to know about your potential tenants, as it affects their ability to pay and meet the requirements of their lease. In other words, it’s a deep dive into who your tenants are and what you can learn from their past actions.

Tenant screening works by taking all of the important qualities you want from a tenant (we’ll get to that in a second), and making sure they exist. It involves checking their criminal and credit history, talking to landlords and employers, and making sure they have the money to pay the rent for the next year.

When you think about it, you’re giving someone access to a product (your rental) over a year or longer, so you need to make absolutely sure that your renter can handle it. Thinking about it like a much smaller version of mortgage lending will help you evaluate risk and make the right decision when it comes to choosing a tenant.

What are good qualities for tenants to have?

The most important thing you look for in a tenant is their ability to pay the rent, on time, every time.

All of the qualities below influence that:

  1. Ability to pay You need to establish the tenant’s ability to pay the rent. A good rule of thumb is that the tenant must make at least 3 times the rent in monthly income. Settling for less may jeopardize your ability to collect rent from a tenant.
  2. Consistently pay on time The tenant needs to show that not only can they pay the rent, they will. This is usually established by looking at credit reports and talking to previous landlords.
  3. Long term Income Will the tenant always have a job over the length of their lease? This is not 100% easy to predict, but a history of stable work history over the last few years with consistent income and paychecks is a good sign.

How to Market and Find a Great Tenant

Apartment marketing is an art unto itself, and is probably deserving of another post altogether. But to put it briefly, there are plenty of great tenants out there. When you first post your ad, make sure your screening requirements are clearly listed in the ad.

Make sure you are honest about what your apartment is, and the type of tenants it can support in terms of income and employment.

Different internet sites drive different types of tenants. Make sure to test ads both on Craigslist AND other sites like Facebook.

 Fair Housing Laws,  Tenant Screening and you

You can screen people based on some information and details but not on others. For example, it’s fine to disallow a prospective tenant because of a poor credit history or a violent criminal past. What’s not ok, and is illegal, is discrimination against someone in what’s called a “protected class”.

The Fair Housing Act make it illegal to discriminate based upon “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap”. While that seems obvious, it means you can’t write things like “No Kids” or “Great Hispanic Neighborhood” in your ad.

When talking to prospective tenants, you can’t ask them about their family or mention what a wonderful catholic neighborhood your apartment is in.

To reiterate – you can deny someone rent based on their criminal background, a past eviction, or all sorts of monetary criteria. But you can’t violate the basics of the fair housing laws.

How a Rental Application will Get You Great Tenants

The rental application is actually a core process of your tenant screening. Most tenants hate applying, because they’re incredibly long and take a good 15-20 minutes to fill at least. For the Landlord or Property Manager, however, the leasing application is the second line of defense after making your requirements clear in your marketing.

Simply put, the property application and leasing form allows you to gather all the information you need, and to catch tenants in lies. Many prospective tenants who don’t meet your requirements, will balk at paying and filling out the application. Other tenants, who don’t want to put the effort in to filling out the application, may not put the effort into paying the rent on time, either.

In short, the rental application is a great way to weed out those who wouldn’t make it to the final stage anyway, while saving you a ton of time and money.

What Should Go  On Your Rental Application

The Rental Application should have a few important sections:

  1. Identity Verification: Here you ask for the Applicant’s Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Driver’s License, Current Address and phone and email.
  2. Employment and Income: Current and previous employers going back 5 years. Salary information and any other claimed income.
  3. Rental History: Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers of Previous Landlords going back 5 years.
  4. Criminal, Eviction and Bankruptcy questions: Asking the prospective tenant if any of these issues have affected them makes things much simpler off the bat.
  5. Consent form: You must have a consent form, separate from any other form, in order to run credit, background and landlord screening.

How to Run a Background Check and Credit Report on Your Tenant

Once you have your tenant’s application, and a separate signed consent form, it’s time to run the actual background check and check the credit report. We’ll add more info here about logging into your background check system and pulling credit reports.

Make sure your tenants know that the credit report for renting will be a hard pull, so they’re not surprised when it shows up on their systems.

Verifying your Tenant’s Income and their Employment

Assuming the background check came back clear [no felonies, evictions, reasonable credit score and information], it’s time to make sure they’re telling the truth about how much money they make and who they work for.

Verifying income is tougher then most landlords consider. W-2s and Income statements can be easily faked.  Most Landlords will be ok with pay stubs anyway, but there are a number of more secure ways to verify income:

1. File IRS Form 4506-t and get access to the previous years W2, 1099 or 1040 Form

2. Do an online screen share with your tenant to view their income from their bank account.

3. Use a background check service to authenticate employment verification for your tenants.

The next step is via employment. You might do this via a service like The Work Number, or by simply calling the reference. When calling the reference, google the phone number first to make sure it really belongs to the company. Call the company main line and ask to speak to the person listed as a reference. Unscrupulous tenants have been known to provide cell phone numbers of friends and family, instead of a bad reference from a boss.

Verifying Previous Landlords

Call previous landlords to find out how the tenants acted. Did they pay rent on time? Were they evicted? Did they cause trouble?

Before calling the landlord, verify with the county assessor that the name given is the owner of the property. Sometimes it may be a property manager or real estate agent, but you need to check these things. Tenants can sometimes provide the most bizarre and inaccurate information to try and trick you.

Should you run a background check on a co-signer?

This is the simplest answer: anyone who is going to be on the hook for rental payments, needs to have their background screened and verified.

The Denial Letter

If you decide not to accept a tenant, you must send them an Adverse Action letter telling them why, and notifying them of the name of the Consumer Reporting Agency who created the report.

 

INFOGRAPHIC: HOW GOOGLE, FACEBOOK and APPLE TRACK EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU

EMBED THIS INFOGRAPHIC ON YOUR SITE

(use this code to ensure proper source attribution)

Utah

The role of public records is crucial in an open government. While the Freedom of Information Act grants federal access to documents, each state has its own laws as well. 

Public records in Utah are governed by the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). As you might expect, the law can be a little confusing. As with many states, records are often held by different agencies, which makes locating records difficult. Once located, the process to request records varies.

To help requesters gain access to Utah public records, this guide will provide valuable information to obtain criminal, inmate, court, and vital records.  

What does the Utah public records law say?

Each of the states has different policies and laws. In Utah, all government branches are subject to the law, and any member of the public can view records.

However, there are some exemptions. Records that contain any private information like medical records, addresses of elected officials, or details about government employees are exempted from open record laws.

Usually, a government agency responds to requests in ten days. If a media outlet makes a request, it’s usually answered a little faster; within 5 business days. 

If a request is denied, there is an appeals process. A requester can file a complaint with the head of the agency and the State Records Committee. If the case goes further, it ends up in district court. 

You can learn more about conducting a public records search at Utah.gov.

How can a person access public records in Utah?

For public records access in Utah, you may be able to access some online. Others are held by specific agencies. In some cases, you may need to file a request form. If so, it can be filed by mail, email, or by phone to the record-holding department. 

Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places. 

In general, a public records request should include: 

  • Your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
  • The name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
  • A specific time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
  • How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail

Due to COVID-19, some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead. 

Utah criminal records

The summary of a person’s criminal history is known as a criminal record. It’s also referred to as a rap sheet, which consists of convictions and arrests. These records are maintained by local law enforcement agencies. 

What’s on a criminal record?

A criminal record is the history of the individual that gives complete details related to the person’s interaction with law enforcement. Various resources are used to pull these records and ensure that the person’s previous arrest records, convictions, and incarcerations are recorded for the future. 

Information that is recorded within the criminal record more specifically includes:

  • The personal information of a person, for example, name, date of birth, nationality, etc. 
  • Biometrics of the person, including fingerprints and the mug shot. 
  • Highlights the distinguishing feature of an individual like physical attributes or any other tattoos.
  • Details regarding the type of crime. 

Where can a person find Utah criminal records?

The state of Utah has certain rules when it comes to requesting criminal records. Only certain businesses can gain access. Businesses that work with children, like a childcare center, or any state or local government can run a background check. Other private companies aren’t allowed to request records. However, a company can ask that an employee request his or her own record, which must be accompanied by a set of fingerprints.

The link above has more information and explains who can and can’t access records.

Utah inmate records

Utah inmate records contain information regarding a person’s current and past incarceration status. These documents can also include sentencing information. 

Maintenance of these documents is generally done by the Utah Department of the Corrections. 

What’s on an inmate record?

Inmate records contain an individual’s name, mugshot, and physical attributes. Furthermore, it also contains detailed information regarding an inmate’s conviction, incarceration, and the prospective release dates.

Where can a person find Utah inmate records?

Utah inmate records are maintained by the Department of Corrections. You can access information by visiting the website above and filling out the online form. You need the inmate’s first and last name or the inmate’s ID number. You’ll receive an immediate response if there’s a record on the inmate that you searched. 

Utah court records

Court records are recorded by the courts themselves. Information provided in court records includes allegation documents, proceeding, and affidavits that are taken under oath.

What’s on a court record?

A court record usually contains specific information that was presented during a trial. You’ll find copies of evidence, witness testimonies, and expert reports inside court records. Think of court records as a complete summary of a case. 

Where can a person find Utah court records?

Utah, unlike other states, has an online database of court records that’s easy to search. You can run an appellate docket search, look through appellate court records, or browse district court records. If you’re looking for a case that’s more than 50 years old, you’ll need to look through archived records.

While many records are available online, you may be directed to a clerk of court or a county clerk if a record is missing or not electronically logged into the Utah state courts system. 

To access supreme court records, visit the Utah Supreme Court website.

Utah vital records

Birth records, death records, marriage records, and divorce records are included in vital records. These records are maintained back to 1905 and can be accessed when ordered in person, through email, or requested online. 

For marriages that took place after 2011, certificates can also be obtained from the county where the event took place. However, many agencies are requesting that people place orders online due COVID-19.

Only the person listed on a vital record or a family member can obtain these records in Utah.

What information is needed to request a vital record?

When requesting other records, providing your personal information isn’t necessary. When you request a vital record, however, it is necessary. You must be listed on the record or be of blood relation to the person listed on the record. 

Where can a person find Utah vital records?

Vital statistics and records can be requested online. Many government agencies, including the Utah Department of Health, are encouraging residents to use the online ordering feature to limit the number of people inside of buildings due to the Coronavirus. 

To request a vital record, you’ll need to create an online account, prove your identity, and pay a fee. Certified copies of birth certificates or death certificates are mailed to your home, but it usually takes 2-8 weeks to receive them. 

Frequently asked questions about Utah records

There are lots of questions about utilizing the state’s records service. To provide further assistance, here’s a list of frequently asked questions that should further explain the Utah code.

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

Utah does not have a residency requirement in its constitution. In other words, you can live anywhere in the United States and request public records.

Is there a records custodian in Utah?

Yes. The state law does appoint a records custodian or an ombudsman who can handle all requests. 

What exemptions exist?

Utah’s public records law is fairly open. The only time records are restricted or exempt from the law is if they contain personal information or can impact public security. 

How long does that state have to respond?

In Utah, a state agency has ten business days to respond to a public request and five business days to respond to a request from the media.

Is there an appeals process in place?

Yes. Utah does have several administrative appeals options. A requester can file a complaint with the head of the public agency that holds the records or file a complaint with the State Records Committee in Salt Lake City. If these options don’t work, a case can be filed in district court. 

Are property records considered public?

Yes. Real estate transactions and unclaimed property are both considered public information. Most counties in the state, like Utah County, have an online database that can be searched online. If the records are older, consider visiting the Utah State Archives for more information.

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

Utah’s law says a state agency can charge a “reasonable fee to cover the actual cost of obtaining the record.” This language is meant to keep fees low. 

  • Updated December 3, 2020
  • States

Oregon

With the creation of open record laws like the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it’s easier than ever to access documents that were once unavailable to the general public. That’s not to say finding criminal, court, inmate or vital records in Oregon is always simple; only that access to public records has improved over the past few decades.

In the Beaver State, the Oregon Public Records Law was designed to guarantee that members of the public have access to documents from every government agency at all levels. Sometimes, the information is exempt from the Oregon Public Meetings Law or the Oregon Public Records Law. Other times, the information falls under the public records umbrella but is harder to track down because it’s handled by different agencies or departments. 

Use this guide to help you track down the specific Oregon public records you seek. Whether it’s proof of a divorce, a court case, an incarcerated ex or birth record, this guide can help narrow down your search to save time. 

What does the Oregon public records law say?

Enacted in 1973, the Oregon Public Records Law is similar to the federal law and says that a public record includes “any writing that contains information that relates to the conduct of the public’s business, is prepared, owned, used or maintained by a public body regardless of physical form or characteristics.” This does not include information contained on a privately owned computer.

To learn more about the public records law, visit Oregon.gov. 

How can a person access public records in Oregon?

One simple way to request a public record is by using the Oregon Sample FOIA Request template. Created by the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the letter can be sent to the agency that you believe holds the record. 

The sample letter provides much of the information you’ll need to improve your chances of getting a prompt response, including:

  • A place to indicate your name and contact information
  • A place to detail the public record you are seeking
  • A place to limit the maximum fees you are willing to pay (and a request to be informed if the costs will exceed that amount) 
  • A request to be contacted if the agency expects a significant delay in fulfilling the public records request
  • A request to cite each specific exemption if the request is refused
  • An explanation of the appeal procedure if the public records request is denied  

Oregon criminal records

Oregon state law provides limited public access to criminal history records through the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division in Salem. You can request a copy of your own criminal record using your fingerprints or someone else’s using their name, date of birth, and last known mailing address.

By law, the Oregonian or the individual whose record you are requesting must be notified of your request. They have 14 days to challenge the accuracy of the criminal offender information. Employers or prospective employers are required to inform the person whose criminal record they will be requesting in advance and indicate on the request form how they informed the record-holder.

What’s on a criminal record?

Unlike more detailed background checks, Oregon’s criminal record results may provide less detailed information. If there is no “rap sheet” to report, or the person’s record consists only of non-conviction data, you’ll get nothing more than a notice that there is no criminal record. If the request turns up a criminal history, you will receive any Oregon record of conviction or Oregon record of arrest less than one year old in which there has been no acquittal or dismissal. This information will include:

  • Date of arrest
  • Offense
  • Arresting agency
  • Court of origin
  • Disposition, which includes the sentence imposed and if applicable, the date of parole and parole revocations

Although requests can be made by mail or email by submitting this Request for Oregon Criminal History Information, results that include a criminal history can only be mailed (not emailed).

Where can a person find Oregon criminal records?

The Oregon State Police is the state agency that manages criminal history information for the state. Access is provided through the Oregon State Police’s CJIS Division’s own record program or open records. 

For employers seeking to do a more thorough background check on employees or prospective employees, there is another option. In 2020, Oregon started using the Oregon Criminal History and Abuse Records Data System (ORCHARDS) as its background check system. The Background Check Unit (BCU) requires employers to obtain authorization from the subject individual (SI) to perform such a check. This gives the SI time to enter the authorization and any disclosures. This is done by requiring the employer to enter an email address for the SI when submitting a background check request. 

Oregon inmate records

There are currently around 30,000 offenders under supervision in Oregon with approximately 14,900 offenders serving their time in the state’s 14 prisons. To learn more about visiting, contacting or sending money to an inmate, visit Oregon’s prison locations page.

What’s on an inmate record?

Search results will show the following information for each offender:

  • Age and month/year of birth
  • Heigh, weight, race, and hair and eye color
  • Location (e.g., current correctional institution)
  • Status
  • Field admission date
  • Earliest release date
  • List of offenses (including docket number, county, crime, sentence type, start date and termination date)
  • VINE link for the offender

Where can a person find Oregon inmate records?

The Oregon Department of Corrections hosts a searchable web portal that the public can use to find offenders in the state. This public website displays information on offenders currently in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections or a local Community Corrections office. Results only include information associated with the offender’s current incarceration; not a full history of all charges, sentences or incarcerations. Searches can be done by first, middle or last name or State Identification (SID) Number.

Oregon court records

If you have public interest in court records, many Oregon court records are available through an online record search, although there are limitations. The Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) does not provide court related to adoption, juvenile or mental health cases, or cases that fall under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

What’s on a court record?

Court documents are not available through the OJD Online Records Search and personal identifying information—such as social security numbers, address or other private information—will not be shown in the results. However, most circuit courts have a court kiosk which provides some additional information and access to most documents on public court records. 

So what court records are available through the OJD Online Records Search?

  • Basic case information
  • Party information
  • Event entries
  • Dispositions on a particular court record

Where can a person find Oregon court records?

The Oregon Judicial Department provides free online access to limited case information in the state courts, circuit courts, court of appeals, and supreme court, although the results should not be relied upon as an official record of the court. 

There are two ways to obtain the full official register for non-confidential case types: Via the courthouse public terminals or, for some business entities, by subscribing to the OJCIN online

As for the specifics of what information search results will present, you may find:

  • Warrants (including the status, issue date, location and warrant number)
  • Cases (including the type, file date, status and location)
  • Judgments (including the date/time of judgment, type and award)

Oregon vital records

Oregon’s Public Health Division has a dedicated vital records department. The Center for Health Statistics issues requestors copies of vital records for marriages, divorces, deaths and births that occurred in Oregon. Some of these records can also be obtained through the local health department in Oregon counties.

Although the Oregon State Vital Records counters are currently closed for in-person records requests, orders are still being accepted by mail, phone and online. 

What information is needed to request a vital record?

As in other states, vital records in Oregon may be accessed restricted based on the relationship of the requestor to the person of record. To order by telephone or phone, regular mail or rush mail, you may need to provide any or all of the following:

  • A valid ID or alternative ID
  • The date of the birth, death, marriage, divorce, etc.
  • The full name of the person whose record you are requesting 
  • Relationship to the person of record or your interest in obtaining the vital record

A detailed list of required information for each type of vital record can be found on Oregon’s Vital Records page.

Where can a person find Oregon vital records?

The Oregon uses VitalChek to fulfill online orders for vital records. Although the identity of the applicant is typically screened using a Social Security Number, you may be required to provide a Valid ID or alternative ID to access the public record. 

There is a nonrefundable fee of $43.25 to order a record search and additional copies of the same record are $25 if ordered at the same time. Records are shipped within three business days in most cases, although Express Mail or UPS Next Day Air is available for an additional fee. Applicants can pay by credit or debit card.

Information on ordering by phone or mail is available on the Oregon’s Vital Records page.

Frequently asked questions about Oregon records

For any United States citizen who is curious about Oregon public records, here are some of the most common questions about Oregon public records:

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

There are no residency requirements for obtaining Oregon public records. In other words, you can live in Portland or Manhattan and request records.

Is there a records custodian in Oregon?

There is no designated records custodian in Oregon.

What exemptions exist?

The exemptions in Oregon are fairly straightforward. Records that contain personal information, deal with matters of public safety, or include addresses of elected officials, for example, are all exempt from public disclosure. Most exemptions of Oregon’s Public Records Law are standard and can be found here.

How long does that state have to respond?

There is no specific deadline to respond, although the law states that agencies should be given “reasonable opportunity to inspect and copy records.”

Is there an appeals process?

There is no appeals option in the state of Oregon. While many states offer an administrative appeals option through the attorney general, Oregon does not. A requester can, however, file a lawsuit. 

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

Fees must be kept to the actual costs of searching and copying records. Agencies must provide the requestor with an estimate if the fee will exceed $25 before proceeding. There are fee waivers for media outlets.

  • Updated December 3, 2020
  • States
2

Georgia

There are many records you can legally access as an American citizen. Records can be kept by a vast number of government agencies, and you could feel like you are running in circles to find the right agency for the record you are trying to obtain. 

While having everything online makes it easier to access records, there could be some agencies that don’t offer this an option. Generally, any public record can be obtained using a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter of request submitted to the agency with the record. 

Records can be difficult to track, so this article provides some helpful information on how to find criminal records, inmate records, court records, and vital records in the state of Georgia.

What does the Georgia public records law say?

Open records under Uniform Court Rule 21 applies to all three branches of Georgia’s government including executive, legislative and judicial. However, there are specific exemptions where you can’t ask for public records that include:

  • National historic places
  • Wildlife refuges
  • Security plans or measures that fall under homeland security
  • Sports records of those under the age of 12
  • Certain real estate documents where a government agency is trying to buy or construct on land

In Georgia, officials and agencies have three business days to respond to your FOIA request. The state no longer is allowed to charge search and retrieval costs because of the 1991 court case Trammell v. Martin. The copying cost can run $.25 per page, but that is the limit. There could be an exception if there is an unusual time, effort, and cost in searching and retrieval, but the state must let you know in advance of any unusual circumstances or cost.

If a request is denied, a requester has a few options. You can file a complaint with the attorney general or you can file a civil or criminal case in court to fight the decision. 

To learn more, visit the official website of the state, Georgia.gov. 

How can a person access public records in Georgia?

Some records are online while others must be requested using an open records request form. If a formal request is needed, it can be sent via email, mail, or by phone to the record-holding department. 

Every department is different, so expect some variation to the rules if you’re accessing records from multiple places. 

In general, a public records request should include: 

  • Your name and contact information, including an email, phone number, and mailing address
  • The name of the document you want access to with as much detail as possible
  • A specific time period that you’d like to receive the materials by
  • How to deliver the documents, whether by email or mail

Due to COVID-19, some public offices may have limited hours of operation. As a result, online requests are best, but if you want to go in person you should call ahead.

Georgia criminal records

People may want to see someone’s criminal record for several different types of reasons. The most common reason is employment as most employers require potential employees to agree to a background check before hiring. Other reasons could be to check someone out before dating them or because a family member is dating them. It could also be helpful if you are planning to bring someone on as a business partner. 

What’s on a criminal record?

A criminal record is a list of someone’s arrests, convictions and sentences as reported by law enforcement and the courts. This can include arrests and charges against them, convictions and which prison or jail they served time in for a conviction. A criminal record pulls from many types of sources to put the information in one place.

Pulling a criminal record will also reveal: 

  • Legal name 
  • Birthdate 
  • Residence and nationality
  • Arrests and convictions
  • Mug shot

Where can a person find Georgia criminal records?

Those seeking criminal records on any individual in Georgia must make an appointment to go to the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) lobby office and speak to someone. This is where record inspections and fingerprint services are offered under the command of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)

Georgia law states that anyone can obtain a criminal history record as long as they provide signed consent of the person being researched. It must be submitted to an official from the GCIC and must include the person’s full name, address, social security number and birthdate.

Georgia inmate records

The last published statistics, which are from 2016, show there are 53,064 people in Georgia’s prison system, which puts it relatively high in nationwide ranking for the number of inmates houses. It’s national rate is 512 per 100,000 people who face sentences of more than a year in 2016.

People may want to see an inmate’s record for several reasons including employment or if they are a crime victim.

What’s on an inmate record?

States are different in exactly what is on an inmate record, but Georgia is typical as there is certain personal information all states include in this type of public record. That information is:

  • A mug shot
  • The inmate’s name, birthdate and gender
  • An inmate registration number
  • The location of where they are incarcerated
  • Their custody status
  • Jail transfer information

Where can a person find Georgia inmate records?

There is a state website that makes it convenient to search for inmate records in Georgia. 

Using the website is simple. You can enter either the person’s name, ID number or case number to search. However, someone using the site must agree to its terms of use which includes acknowledgement that some records may not be complete.

If you request the record, it’s your responsibility to verify the information by writing a request to the Inmate Records and Information office located at P.O. Box 1529, Forsyth, Georgia 30129.

Georgia court records

State court records can include a lot of information regarding any connection a person has with the courts or a case. Records can include probate issues such as death and divorce records, bankruptcy, civil court matters and criminal court records. Each of these types of records are held in different places, so you will need to know where to look but many are a part of public record.

What’s on a court record?

There can be stacks of court records regarding a person or a case and there are many different types of documents to sort through. Some of the most common records sought out are documents of judgements, court orders and jury records and files. Other records can include:

  • Case files
  • Court minutes
  • Dockets
  • Witness documentation

Where can a person find Georgia court records?

This Georgia website consolidates each county’s civil and criminal cases into one place. You click under the county where the case is and can file and research the case. You must register for an account at the provider’s link though but registration is free.

State and local court records are stored at the courthouses in each Georgia County, under the specific court that heard the case. Most are available through the county clerk’s office, which tends to handle all records. You can call the court clerk in the county where the record may be to arrange for a time and method of obtaining court records.

Georgia vital records

All states, including Georgia, have a division dedicated to vital records. These are personal records that include birth documents, marriage certificates and death certificates. It can also include adoption records.

People seek out vital records usually when they need them for a personal issue. They may need a birth certificate to get married or obtain a passport or may be doing genealogy research on their family. Vital records are relatively simple to get.

What information is needed to request a vital record?

Every person requesting a vital record in Georgia must have some information to narrow their search and request the correct record. Information needs to  include:

  • The date or date range of the life event
  • The event’s location as in city or county
  • The full name of the person being searched, including maiden names
  • A license number for a marriage record
  • A case file number for divorce documentation

Where can a person find Georgia vital records?

Georgia has an office called the Department of Public Health State Office of Vital Records where these types of records can be found. Not all marriage records are held there as Georgia onl has marriage records from 1952 to 1996. Local probate courts have other marriage records, especially newer marriage certificates. Death records are available through the state office.

The department can confirm divorces, but a person seeking paper records of a divorce decree must go to the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the divorce occurred to request a copy.

Frequently asked questions about Georgia records

Those who need more information may find these FAQs helpful.

Can a request be submitted by non-residents of the state?

Yes, any United State citizen, whether they live in Atlanta or Denver, can request records. However, but this wasn’t always the case. The citizenship requirement was removed from the Georgia Open Records Act in 2012. 

Is there a records custodian in Georgia?

No, there isn’t a general records custodian or ombudsman in Georgia. 

What exemptions exist?

There are several exemptions to public records’ access in Georgia including documentation on national historic places, wildlife refuges, security plans or measures that fall under homeland security, sports records of those under the age of 12 and some real estate documents where a government agency is trying to buy or build.

How long does that state have to respond?

In Georgia, a government agency has three days to respond to your FOIA request. However, due to the Coronavirus, agencies are informing those seeking information that it could take longer to process your request and provide you with an answer.

Is there an appeals process in place?

Someone denied an open records request can file a complaint with the Georgia Attorney General’s office or file a civil or criminal action in the court overseeing the records. In some cases, that could be the Georgia Supreme Court, a federal court, or a local superior court for criminal and some civil matters, as well as a local magistrate court or probate court.

What fees are associated with requesting public records?

Changes in Georgia’s laws prevent agencies from charging hefty search and retrieval costs. The most that can be charged is $.25 per page copy. There are some rare cases where a search and retrieval cost is required should the document be hard to find. The agency with the record is required to notify you of an anticipated cost when they send a response to a FOIA inquiry.

  • Updated December 8, 2020
  • States
1 38 39 40 41 42 45