CFPB and FTC: Share your Experiences with Rental Background Checks and Fees
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) want to hear about your experiences with background checks used to screen potential tenants for rental housing.
Most landlords and property managers use tenant background checks, or tenant screening reports, to decide whether to rent to someone. CFPB has received thousands of complaints about tenant background checks and heard many stories of people being rejected from housing because someone else’s negative information, like a criminal record or eviction, incorrectly appeared in their report. Other complaints have highlighted how difficult it can be to have tenant screening companies fix errors. Finally, people tell us they can’t find out what information factors into the “risk scores” used to deny them rental housing.
When background reports containing inaccurate information are used to make rental decisions, it can have serious consequences for renters, such as being charged higher security deposits or an inability to secure housing.
To learn more about tenant background checks, check out CFPB's video .
Sharing your experiences with tenant background checks
CFPB and FTC want to hear from renters, landlords, property managers, advocacy organizations, tenant screening companies, and researchers about tenant background checks. In particular, they are seeking information about:
- Your experiences with tenant background checks, as a renter, landlord, or property manager;
- Transparency for landlords and renters about what information goes into background checks and where that information comes from, including for risk scores;
- Accuracy of information in background checks, particularly regarding criminal and eviction records;
- Whether and how renters know if they’ve been denied housing or charged more in rent because of a background check;
- Challenges renters face when trying to correct information in a tenant background check;
- Types of risk scores marketed to landlords, and what challenges they may present for renters and landlords
The agencies are also working closely with other federal partners, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Department of Agriculture to address problematic practices by tenant screening companies.
Share your experiences by submitting a public comment on regulations.gov .
Here's what else you should know
- Read the FTC press release on this RFI .
- The CFPB has taken a number of steps already to address issues caused by inaccurate data in tenant screening reports (here and here ).
- Learn more from CFPB’s reports on tenant background checks: a Consumer Snapshot: Tenant Background Checks and a Tenant Background Checks Market Report.
- If you think your rights have been violated by a tenant screening company, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online. The CFPB monitors consumer financial markets, including tenant screening and credit reporting companies to ensure that they are fair, transparent, and competitive. Complaints are invaluable to CFPB and they continue to use them to hold companies accountable in its enforcement and regulatory work.