When thinking of the term ‘consumer reports' rarely do people associate it with landlords or tenants; but any type of report used to screen tenants are in fact consumer reports regulated by the terms laid out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The definition of “consumer report” according to 15 USC Sec. 1681(a)(d) is: “… any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for (A) credit or insurance to be used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes….”
Landlords often have a rental application that asks potential renters to give personal, employment, credit and previous landlord references on their rental applications. Whether verifying such items is covered by the FCRA depends on who does the verification. A reference verified by the landlord's employee is not covered by the Act; a reference verified by a Consumer Reporting Agency hired by the landlord to do the verification is covered. If a landlord pulls credit from any credit reporting agency, they are automatically held to the restrictions of the FCRA.
Below is a list of Specialty Reporting Companies that focus on the Residential/Tenant industry. The list also includes information on how to obtain a copy of your report with them, if applicable. Most consumer reporting companies are required to give you a free copy of your report if an ‘adverse action' was taken against you – namely you were denied something because of what they found in your report; in this case it would be an apartment rental.
Further, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, some consumer reporting companies must provide you with a free copy of your report every 12 months; if the report is not free, all consumer reporting companies must give you a copy of your report for a nominal fee (the current maximum is $11.50).
Again, not every consumer reporting company will have information on you.
If, upon review of your consumer report, you believe there is information that is not reporting 100% accurately, you can exercise your right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to dispute that information with the reporting agency directly and the company providing the derogatory information.
LexisNexis Screening Solutions Resident History Report contains information related to your tenant history as well as other information regarding your background. Call toll-free (877) 448-5732 or visithttps://personalreports.lexisnexis.com/index.jsp to obtain a copy of your report.
Tenant Data Services provides the rental industry with a variety of reports including rental performance history, bad check reports, and criminal history reports. Consumers may order their free report by completing the form athttp://www.tenantdata.com/downloads/AuthorizationforFileDisclos_new.pdf or by calling (800) 228-1837.
First Advantage Resident History Report conducts background screening services. The company will provide one free report every 12 months by visiting www.fadv.com or by calling (800) 321-4473.
Leasing Desk (Real Page) provides data for tenant screening. The company will provide one free report every 12 months by visiting www.realpage.com or by calling (877) 325-7243
Hope this helps! If you know you'll be in the rental market soon, it is a good idea to see what your report looks like ahead of time.