Waltham, MA (PRWEB) October 15, 2013
Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "Landlords and property managers should fully understand the laws their tenant screening companies operate under, otherwise consequences could adversely affect their business."
As reported by the Associated Press on September 18, 2013 a third-party tenant screening company agreed to a settlement of a lawsuit brought forth due to illegal background screening practices.
The class-action case was filed in April by a Kent woman who was denied rental housing based on drug convictions that were 17 and 24 years old. Under state law, such background checks aren't supposed to include cases unless the conviction, sentence or parole period occurred within the past seven years. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/150k-settlement-lawsuit-over-background-191809938.html
The class action suit (MARKELETTA WILSON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. RENTGROW, INC., a Delaware corporation; YARDI SYSTEMS, INC., a California corporation, Defendants. NO. 13-2-15514-1 SEA CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT) was presented by the ACLU and Terrell Marshall Daudt and Willie PLLC on behalf of a Washington women denied rental housing due to unfair practices of a tenant screening company.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who says her decades-old drug convictions cost her a chance to rent an apartment—a violation of Washington state law. http://www.kplu.org/post/aclu-suit-tenant-screening-company-illegally-flagged-woman
In the state of Washington, as well as a majority of jurisdictions across the United States, it is illegal to consider criminal convictions older than seven years as part of a criminal history records check. http://www.kplu.org/post/aclu-suit-tenant-screening-company-illegally-flagged-woman
Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com states: "Tenant screening companies should know the laws regulating the use of public records, especially criminal records. Landlords and property managers that rely on third-party tenant screening companies should have confidence in that company to know the law. In the Washington class action suit many of those involved could have been excellent tenants. Not only did perspective tenants lose out but the landlords and property managers had to go through the time and expense of re-renting properties. There is a potential of lost income."
In Washington DC the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to bring greater scrutiny to the use of criminal histories as part of pre-employment practices. A similar light is being cast upon the use of criminal histories in tenant screening. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has "called into question" the use of criminal histories in a rental environment. http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b61bb45c-0c97-4631-b23e-e058c0b0705c
Almeida states: "There is a greater analysis of the use of criminal records both in pre-employment and tenant screening. As the laws become increasingly complex it is becoming essential for landlords and property managers to work with third-party tenant screening companies to ensure compliance. But due diligence should be conducted on that screening company. Go beyond the webpage, contact a representative and ask the questions. Don't lose a potential long-term, financially viable tenant because of the illegal or wrongful use of public records."
TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening firm that monitors state and federal laws and legal actions that may impact the tenant screening industry. Specializing in small to mid-size rental properties, TenantScreeningUSA.com can greatly assist a landlord/property manager remain legally compliant in the use of all public records, including criminal histories, in their use with Tenant Screening.