MAKING TENANT SCREENING MORE TRANSPARENT

News from the Blue Room. Introductory Number 5-A requires landlords, realtors, and others who rent residential properties to disclose the contact information of the tenant screening agency that they use to investigate potential tenants.  Realtors and landlords often use tenant screening agencies to determine if a potential tenant has appeared frequently before housing court, but their determinations are not transparent; reports do not provide context on why the tenant appeared in court, and few tenants even know that such a report has been compiled. 

"Introductory Number 5-A sheds light on this process.  It requires that all rental applications contain contact information for the tenant screening agency that the landlord will use, as well as a disclosure of the rights afforded to potential tenants under State and Federal law.  This information will also have to be posted in the offices of realtors and others who accept rental applications.  This legislation will encourage tenants to exercise their rights to inspect their reports and ensure that the information contained therein is accurate. Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

  • March 08 2010 - Staten Island
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Answers (1)

Because housing court data is reported by name, not social security number, the reported information may not even be about the prospective tenant, but may be connected to another tenant with the same name. As a result, a tenant can be denied an apartment because they are thought to be another tenant with a similar or same name. With the passing of this legislation, tenants will have a chance to see their tenant screening reports and correct any inaccurate information.The Tenant Fair Chance Act to give tenants a greater level of protection when applying for housing. Specifically, this law will require landlords and any other person who uses a tenant screening report to determine a potential tenant's suitability for housing to disclose any the name and address of the tenant screening company who prepared the report. A tenant screening report is a type of consumer report listing a person's housing court history. Often landlords use these reports to determine whether to rent to a tenant. Federal law permits tenants to receive one free copy per year of their tenant report yet many people are unaware of the existence of tenant screening reports and how to access them.
  • December 15 2010
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