What New Bills Should You Be on the Look Out For

We all know that times, they are a’changing. Despite the ever-present gridlock in our legal system, somehow when it comes to the rental housing industry and renter protection laws, things move fast. What’s allowed in one place is banned two doors down and congress can create new bills relatively fast that makes your once perfectly legal routine suddenly illegal in a blink of an eye. So, let’s get started and see what rental housing laws and regulations have changed recently. As a consumer reporting agency, are you providing data your end users’ applicants can sue them for? As a property owner or manager, are you practicing safe property management and staying in-the-know?

Eviction Moratorium Extensions

On June 18th, President Biden spoke to the press about extending the nation’s eviction moratorium for another thirty days to protect renters who are still struggling due to the pandemic. While it was scheduled to end on June 30th, now the nationwide eviction mortarium guidelines are still in effect until July 31st.

We all know that times, they are a’changing. Despite the ever-present gridlock in our legal system, somehow when it comes to the rental housing industry and renter protection laws, things move fast. What’s allowed in one place is banned two doors down and congress can create new bills relatively fast that makes your once perfectly legal routine suddenly illegal in a blink of an eye. So, let’s get started and see what rental housing laws and regulations have changed recently. As a consumer reporting agency, are you providing data your end users’ applicants can sue them for? As a property owner or manager, are you practicing safe property management and staying in-the-know?

Eviction Moratorium Extensions

On June 18th, President Biden spoke to the press about extending the nation’s eviction moratorium for another thirty days to protect renters who are still struggling due to the pandemic. While it was scheduled to end on June 30th, now the nationwide eviction mortarium guidelines are still in effect until July 31st.

The President isn’t the only one extending moratoriums. In Seattle, the city’s moratorium has been extended to September 30th. And in California, Governor Newsom proposed extended eviction moratoriums and increased rental relief as California works towards normalization. AB 832 “increases the value of reimbursement” as it now would completely cover past and future rents to help both renters and property managers, owners, and landlords California’s eviction moratorium is also now extended to September 30, 2021. So, for now, the number of vacancies will still be limited in California until the moratorium (hopefully) passes sometime after September.

The President isn’t the only one extending moratoriums. In Seattle, the city’s moratorium has been extended to September 30th. And in California, Governor Newsom proposed extended eviction moratoriums and increased rental relief as California works towards normalization. AB 832 “increases the value of reimbursement” as it now would completely cover past and future rents to help both renters and property managers, owners, and landlords California’s eviction moratorium is also now extended to September 30, 2021. So, for now, the number of vacancies will still be limited in California until the moratorium (hopefully) passes sometime after September.

In Oregon, a rental pause has been initiated for the next sixty days. Although Oregonians have until February of next year to catch up on overdue rents, SB 278 will give renters until July to start paying their monthly dues. The pause gives them “a sixty day pause on being evicted as long as they can prove they are one of more than 10,000 Oregonians waiting on rental assistance.” Additionally, the Landlord Compensation Fund will retroactively and proactively reimburse property owners and applicants for unpaid rent.

Ban the Box on Rental Applications

New Jersey has a new renter protection that was approved last month, also known as A1919. The new Ban the Box law will prohibit landlords and property managers from asking about previous criminal offenses. According to The New York Times, “convictions for certain serious crimes, including murder and many sex offenses, can still be grounds for denying an application.” In addition, amendments were added to give landlords more flexibility with crimes such as “arson and methamphetamine production,” as apartment associations pointed out their duties to provide safe housing.

In Oregon, a rental pause has been initiated for the next sixty days. Although Oregonians have until February of next year to catch up on overdue rents, SB 278 will give renters until July to start paying their monthly dues. The pause gives them “a sixty day pause on being evicted as long as they can prove they are one of more than 10,000 Oregonians waiting on rental assistance.” Additionally, the Landlord Compensation Fund will retroactively and proactively reimburse property owners and applicants for unpaid rent.

Ban the Box on Rental Applications

New Jersey has a new renter protection that was approved last month, also known as A1919. The new Ban the Box law will prohibit landlords and property managers from asking about previous criminal offenses. According to The New York Times, “convictions for certain serious crimes, including murder and many sex offenses, can still be grounds for denying an application.” In addition, amendments were added to give landlords more flexibility with crimes such as “arson and methamphetamine production,” as apartment associations pointed out their duties to provide safe housing.

This bill is targeted towards multifamily apartment buildings with five or more units. Because of the specificity of the law, it may be hard to gage what a rental owners are allowed to use when scanning applicants.  By filtering data using CIC’s exclusive Regulatory Matrix, you are protecting yourself from the legal liabilities that crop up with ban the box laws. For consumer reporting agencies and property management software that offer resident screening, you can feel assured that your clients and users aren’t seeing information that’s illegal in their property’s location, and therefore are at lower risk for lawsuits. After all, legal action due to your data can lead to very unhappy customers.

This bill is targeted towards multifamily apartment buildings with five or more units. Because of the specificity of the law, it may be hard to gage what a rental owners are allowed to use when scanning applicants.  By filtering data using CIC’s exclusive Regulatory Matrix, you are protecting yourself from the legal liabilities that crop up with ban the box laws. For consumer reporting agencies and property management software that offer resident screening, you can feel assured that your clients and users aren’t seeing information that’s illegal in their property’s location, and therefore are at lower risk for lawsuits. After all, legal action due to your data can lead to very unhappy customers.

Renters’ Access Act

New Jersey isn’t the only place wanting to chop up screening capabilities. Philadelphia wants to put eviction records up on the block next.  The Renters’ Access Act will ban property managers from rejecting applications on the basis of credit score, COVID-19 related debts like rent or utility bills, or eviction records more than two years old. Like in the bill’s name, it will also make property managers have their criteria written out and ‘accessible’ to their potential applicants in the hopes of preventing hidden biases. While this would undoubtably hurt the rental housing industry by reducing the financial and eviction data that managers and landlords could consider for New Jersey properties, providers and owners that use CIC’s data will be able to filter out this information automatically if it passes.

It’s hard to know what information you’re allowed to use. Much less, once you’ve seen such information, you’re already asking for trouble once you deny that applicant. Generally using seven years of eviction records are okay, but that can change depending on where you are, Illinois or Philadelphia are just examples.

Renters’ Access Act

New Jersey isn’t the only place wanting to chop up screening capabilities. Philadelphia wants to put eviction records up on the block next.  The Renters’ Access Act will ban property managers from rejecting applications on the basis of credit score, COVID-19 related debts like rent or utility bills, or eviction records more than two years old. Like in the bill’s name, it will also make property managers have their criteria written out and ‘accessible’ to their potential applicants in the hopes of preventing hidden biases. While this would undoubtably hurt the rental housing industry by reducing the financial and eviction data that managers and landlords could consider for New Jersey properties, providers and owners that use CIC’s data will be able to filter out this information automatically if it passes.

It’s hard to know what information you’re allowed to use. Much less, once you’ve seen such information, you’re already asking for trouble once you deny that applicant. Generally using seven years of eviction records are okay, but that can change depending on where you are, Illinois or Philadelphia are just examples.

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Nicole Seidner

Cole Seidner is a copywriter here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in creative nonfiction. Her free time is spent taking pictures of her dogs or reading deep dive analysis on movies that she hasn’t seen.

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