Two Recently Enacted Laws Highlight Need to Work With Third-Party Tenant Screening Companies

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Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "Recently, Oregon and Wisconsin, enacted laws that greatly affect the tenant-landlord relationship. This is evidence of an ever changing legal environment for tenant screening and highlights the need for landlords to work with third-party tenant screening companies to stay compliant with existing and new laws."

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When it comes to the use of public records, specifically for the use of tenant screening, a landlord and/or property manager would benefit greatly by working through a third-party tenant screening company.

The world welcomed in a New Year with the tick of the clock at 12:00 AM on December 31st. Typically, with the changing of the calendar year, laws across the nation change as well. Two key bills became law on January 1, 2014, and, subsequently, changed the renter-landlord relationship in Oregon and Wisconsin, and, potentially, across the country.

In May of 2013 the Oregon legislation passed Senate Bill 91. Key provisions of the law take effect on January 1, 2014.

The Oregon legislation clarifies the restrictions on how eviction records, as well as criminal records, can or cannot be used.

From the Bend Bulletin webpage (Dec. 01, 13)

Landlords may still screen tenants for certain crimes, particularly those involving drugs, sex, violence or financial fraud, for example. But, they may not deny an applicant based on an arrest that did not result in a conviction or a charge that was dismissed.

While the legislative action has taken great strides in creating clearer and more well-defined legal parameters in regards to the use of public records as part of a perspective tenant screening process, questions will certainly continue.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "Any time there is a change in the law one should be prepared for a degree of confusion until the dust settles. When it comes to the use of public records, specifically for the use of tenant screening, a landlord and/or property manager would benefit greatly by working through a third-party tenant screening company. These companies must stay current with all laws regulating the tenant screening industry and their experience only benefits the landlord."

To review Oregon's SB 91 please refer to the following link:
Senate Bill 179 was passed into law in the State of Wisconsin on January 1, 2014. As with the law in Oregon, SB 179 greatly affects the tenant-landlord relationship.

As stated on the CBS58 webpage: (Dec. 12, 13)

Senate Bill 179 —aids tenants by eliminating the possibility they will be evicted if they are a victim of a crime by enforcing landlords to provide specified notices of domestic abuse protections. The bill also helps landlords to recover any damages caused by tenants and allows them to deal with property left behind by tenants in a more effective manner.

Evictions are entered into public record and are a core document utilized in the vetting process of a perspective tenant. By protecting tenants, as provided in the Wisconsin law, from fallacious eviction, an individual's ability to move without discretion is greatly improved.

Almeida states: "Valid or otherwise, once an eviction is entered into public record it can be enormously difficult and time consuming to remove. Laws protecting individuals for false eviction have an obvious benefit. And the Wisconsin law protects the landlord as well by clearly defining their legal position and responsibility."

For a transcript of Senate Bill 179 (Wisconsin) please follow the link:

State legislators, public advocacy groups, tenants and landlords alike will watch the actions in Oregon and Wisconsin to see if other states follow. Almeida states: "It is critical that landlords utilize a third-party tenant screening company to ensure they are fully compliant with all local, state, and federal laws and the recent actions in Oregon and Wisconsin show a nuanced action can have a broad-ranged effect." is a third-party tenant screening company with a highly trained and experienced staff fully versed in the laws that govern tenant screening on a state and federal level. Utilizing the most current data, can provide landlords and property manager’s information necessary to make a knowledgeable and compliant decision regarding perspective tenants.

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