Tenant Screening – Adverse Action & Consumer Rights

tenantriskverification July 24, 2012 0

Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act(FCRA) gives prospective tenants specific rights when Adverse Action is taken based in whole or in part on the content of a tenant screening report.  Adverse Action is any decision other than a straight-up approval.  Denial of tenancy is obviously an Adverse Action.  But so too is a conditional approval – such as “approved with an increased deposit” or “approved with a qualified co-signer”.

First of all, you must be notified that information in your tenant screening report was used against you.  Some states require that such notification be delivered in writing.  Regardless of the medium, Adverse Action notices must include contact information for the tenant screening service that produced the report.

You must be told if the adverse action was based in whole or in part on a credit score, the source of the score, score range, factors effecting the score, etc.

You have a right to a free copy of your tenant screening report.  At least one state requires that end-users (landlords) provide a copy of the report upon request (if you paid a tenant screening fee), but this right is generally exercised by contacting the tenant screeniang service that produced the report.

You have a right to dispute information you believe is reported in error.  The tenant screening service must then conduct a reinvestigation and delete or correct any inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information within 30 days of receiving the dispute.  You may have additional rights under both state and federal law.

It is obviously important to know and exercise your legal rights when adverse action is taken against you.  But it is even better to avoid the problem in the first place – by understanding the tenant screening process and avoiding, for example, paying multiple tenant screening fees in your search for housing.

Perhaps the single most important step you can take is to ask prospective landlords for their criteria – to determine whether you will qualify before parting with an application fee or holding deposit.  The assumption, of course, is that you know what will come back in your background check.  If you are unsure, you may want to start your search by purchasing your own report – like a those offered by Moco, Incorporated through its MyScreeningReport.com® direct-to-consumer tenant screening service.  There are several advantages:

  • You will know exactly what is in your report before you apply.
  • You can discuss the content of your report with the landlord or landlords of your choice and know with a high degree of certainly that you will qualify before you apply.

Source : myscreeningreport

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