There is new guidance from the FTC issued for landlords and for background check companies. The FTC issued last month, without a press release, two new guidance postings on residential screening, Using Consumer Reports: What Landlords Need to Know and What Tenant Background Screening Companies Need to Know About the Fair Credit Reporting Act (emphasis added). In the guidance for criminal background check companies, the FTC discusses that “[c]ertain practices may be indicators that a background screening company isn’t following reasonable procedures.” An example the FTC provides is where
a report lists criminal convictions for people other than the applicant or tenant – for instance, a person with a middle name or date of birth different from the applicant’s – that raises FCRA compliance concerns. Other examples that raise FCRA compliance concerns include screening reports with multiple entries for the same offense or that list criminal records that have been expunged or otherwise sealed. Another indication that a company’s procedures might not be reasonable are reports that list housing court actions, but do not include the outcome of the action – for instance, that a case was resolved in the tenant’s favor.
The guidance for landlords offers a number of examples of when adverse action notices should be given.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More