Let’s look our three unique situations in which landlords are subject to the FCRA, and how these situations can affect a landlord’s decision to rent to certain individuals. Landlord’s are subject to the FCRA when he or she submits a request to a credit bureau, a consumer reporting agency or a background screening company on either a prospective or current tenant. Because landlords are subject to the FCRA, tenants need to keep up-to-date on the following requests when:

  1. A landlord is reviewing an initial application for housing initiated by the applicant
  2. A landlord is reviewing the credit of an existing tenant, or a former tenant who owes him money
  3. A landlord is reviewing the credit of an existing tenant in order to decide whether to renew a lease or otherwise continue the landlord/tenant relationship

Unlike in an employment screening situation, written disclosures and authorizations are not explicitly required by the FCRA.  However, many state and local laws do have a requirement that the landlord disclose in writing that they intend to run a background check and obtain the authorization of the prospective tenant to do so.

Regardless, obtaining written authorization from the consumer is advisable and is consistent with the purpose of the FCRA and would serve as evidence that the landlord had no intention of causing a misrepresentation or fraud on the consumer.

Want more information on how to comply with the FCRA, or more tips on screening your tenants? Watch our full webinar “Residential Screening – What Every Landlord Should Know.”