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Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) recently announced plans to introduce legislation that would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to enact stricter regulations on resident screening providers?  and offer renters additional protections after reports of abuses which have included alleged “blacklisting.”

Housing providers have an important interest in the accuracy of screening information, but NMHC/NAA have concerns with the legislation as drafted, and are continuing to talk to the Senator’s office about possible changes that would acknowledge the critical role of resident screening and current obligations under FCRA.  NMHC/NAA members already must comply with a host of fair housing and consumer reporting rules. Specifically, the proposed legislation would:

  • Prohibit consumer reports from including information from a landlord-tenant court or other housing court record unless the case to which the record pertains resulted in a judgment of possession in favor of the landlord;
  • Prohibit a consumer report from containing information from a landlord-tenant court or other housing court record unless the case occurred less than three years before the report is created;
  • Require the creator of a consumer report that contains tenant-landlord information to make reasonable attempts to assure the accuracy of the record;
  • Require any person who takes an adverse action with respect to a consumer report to provide the consumer with a free copy of the report;
  • Require the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to create a centralized clearinghouse though which consumer may annually obtain a copy of their report from each tenant rating agency free of charge and correct any inaccuracies, and;
  • Require the CFPB to conduct a study and submit to Congress a report on tenant rating agencies and their compliance under FCRA.

While not opposed to enhanced resident and consumer protections, NMHC/NAA will continue to advocate for policies that balance fair housing and consumer reporting responsibilities with legitimate business necessities.