It's tough out there for everyone. Plenty of you are diving into the role of amateur landlord and renting out extra rooms and basements on Craigslist. Stay safe and make sure that before you hand over the keys, you check your new tenant out...
MakeUseOf.com has the inside info on where to get a free background check. Not a "free" background check where they show you someone's name and city before asking you for credit card info, but a truly free check. You'll find it at CriminalSearches.com.
Search by name and click "View Details" and you'll see not only the identifying information the other sites show you; like age, height, race, eye color, hair color, etc; but you'll also see a complete list of all offenses and details of each offense, including the date and place of conviction, the verdict and sentence.
You can also use the site to search for crime stats by neighborhood and get a list of registered sexual offenders—a great resource if you're getting ready to move to a new neighborhood or city.