The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have united to inspect how background screening can impact American renters, with a particular emphasis on examining the use of criminal and housing court records and tenant screening practices. As part of a whole-of-government effort detailed in the White House’s January 2023 Blueprint, the FTC and CFPB are seeking public comment until March 30, 2023. We urge you to voice your unique industry perspective.
What to Do
Until May 30, 2023, the FTC and CFPB are requesting current tenants, prospective tenants, advocacy groups, commercial and individual landlords, property managers, background screening companies, other consumer reporting agencies, and others to weigh in on a wide array of issues that affect tenant screening such as:
- how criminal and eviction records are used by landlords and property managers in making housing decisions
- how and which potential inaccuracies in criminal and other records affect rental housing decision
- whether consumers are informed about the criteria used in tenant screening or notified about what information in their background check led to their rejection
- how landlords and property managers are setting application and screening fees
- how algorithms, automated decision-making, artificial intelligence, or similar technology are used in the tenant screening process
- whether there are ways to improve the current tenant screening process.
Our Two Cents
The rental housing industry is very well regulated – and tenant screening, criminal records, and housing court records are no exception. As the FTC reports, the FTC and CFPB are gathering additional information for the purpose of “identifying practices that may unfairly prevent consumers from obtaining and retaining housing, and comments to the RFI will help inform enforcement and policy actions under each agency’s jurisdiction.”
CIC will continue to uphold the golden standard with FCRA-compliant identity matching, daily record quality control, compassionate customer and consumer support, and more. We will continue to build educational resources for consumers and promote consumer confidence when reviewing their report. CIC is committed to empowering the rental housing industry with top-tier tools to safeguard your businesses, employees, and the communities you serve.