For 51 years, the Fair Credit Reporting Act has been in place to promote accuracy, fairness, and the privacy of personal information assembled by credit reporting agencies. If you have accessed any type of resident screening within the last half century, you have done so within the confines of this law. But times are changing, and so are the laws.
Since 2012, there have been at least 35 laws enacted that impact the resident screening process. Of those 35 laws, 29 of them have been passed since 2019! What is the purpose of these new laws? In short, they have been created to protect consumers and provide stronger fair-housing opportunities by limiting how property managers can use screening information to determine lease eligibility. Knowing what these restrictions are and applying them is very important. With the help of your attorney or legal representative, it’s imperative to create policies and procedures that promote adherence to these legal mandates.
Have you been impacted?
Many ordinances restrict housing providers from using specific criminal offenses, crimes that are older than specified time frames, and criminal charges that did not result in a conviction when making residency determinations. Other background-information limitations include:
- NY S 6458
- Cook County Just Housing Ordinance (JHO)
- Rental Application Fairness Act
- Amending Title 5, Adding New Chapter 16, Residential Rental Application Fees)
- Human Rights Ordinance with Restrictions to employment and tenant screening & Residential Application Fees
Below are additional examples of states or cities/counties that have passed laws impacting the screening process in the last two years:
- Urbana, IL – City of Urbana Human Rights Law Sec 12-39 and 12-64 (February 2020)
- Portland, OR – Portland City, OR – Fair Access in Renting Ordinance (March 2020)
- Oakland, CA – Fair Chance to Housing Act (March 2020)
- Champaign, IL – City of Champaign-Ban the Box 17-3 and 17-75 (August 2020)
- Virginia – Virginia-2020- HB5106 (February 2021)
- St. Paul, MN – Tenant Protections (March 2021)
- Jefferson County, KY – Louisville Metro Ordinance 0-395-19 (March 2021)
- Ann Arbor, MI – Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance (April 2021)
- Montgomery County, MD – Housing Justice Act (July 2021)
- New Jersey – Fair Chance in Housing Act (January 2022)
Can you impact residential screening laws?
Yes! If you are members of a local, state, or national apartment association, stay engaged and active on legislative or public policy committees to remain informed about newly introduced bills. Having an opportunity to weigh in early with your feedback can help shape the outcome of these laws.
As Rent Manager’s preferred screening partner, AmRent monitors these laws and implements necessary system and report display restrictions. AmRent verbally and/or electronically notifies impacted customers about any changes that potentially affect them. Anyone with questions about compliance changes in your state/city can reach out to AmRent to learn more about solutions to reduce potential risks surrounding the improper use of resident screening information. Visit AmRent.com and navigate to the Resources page to find additional information about compliance obligations that impact consumer reporting agencies and users of consumer reports. Download National Criminal Database: Myth or Reality to learn about access restrictions and regulatory requirements surrounding criminal records.
*This does not constitute legal advice and each customer should refer to their counsel.
**If your screening service is not delivered through Rent Manager from AmRent, check with your current provider to learn how they are managing compliance obligations for these state laws and city ordinances.