The Credit Bureaus and Tenant Screening

The use of credit reporting from the three main credit bureaus, Trans Union, Equifax and Experian by financial institutions has been in play for decades.  As we have written on our blog, there are many other types of consumer reporting agencies that provide information that is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.   There are reporting agencies for employment purposes, for insurance purposes, and for nearly any business transaction engaged in.  However, less known is that the credit bureaus provide reports about more than just your credit.  The credit bureaus have provided tenant screening reports as well.

 

What is in a tenant screening?

Many landlords care less about whether you pay your credit cards on time, and more about whether you prioritize your rent, or have a history of evictions.  As such, landlords will obtain reports about prospective tenants, and they are able to obtain these reports from some of the credit bureaus themselves.  We have seen examples of the main credit bureaus providing reports that focus on these matters that landlords are concerned about.  The credit bureaus may provide reports that remark on an individual’s leasing history.  And, as the report reflects upon matters such as one’s character and mode of living, such a report qualifies as a “consumer report” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

 

What if there is an error in a tenant screening report?

Therefore, should a tenant screening report be prepared by a credit bureau that contains false information, they may be held accountable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.   Similarly, if there are inaccuracies, you have the right to dispute this screening report and force the credit bureau to investigate, free of charge, within 30 days of receiving your dispute.   If the dispute does not correct the inaccuracy, you may have claims to bring against not only the credit bureau but the company that furnished the information to them.  If you are dealing with inaccuracies on your credit report, background report, or tenant screening report, call SmithMarco, P.C. for a free case review.

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