Significant Increases in Evictions Point to Next Battleground in Tenant Screening, Comments TenantScreeningUSA.com

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"Across the United States evictions have become increasingly commonplace and have disrupted numerous lives and, combined with decreases in rent-controlled units and decreases in affordable housing, evictions are poised to be the next significant challenge for landlords and tenant screening, pointing to an urgent, immediate need to work with third party tenant screening companies to stay ahead of potential legal changes;" states Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com. In cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle evictions continue to increase, significantly impacting protected classes, and illustrating the potentially next great challenge to the fair, legal, and lawful use of Eviction records in the rental applicant vetting process.

Tenant Screening USA

TenantScreeningUSA.com

It seems clear that a protected class of renters is being affected by these evictions and just as HUD challenged the use of criminal records in vetting renters, eviction records may come under the spotlight as well.

The housing market continues to heat up in major cities across the country just as the need for affordable housing continues to grow and, subsequently, evictions continue to increase as property owners demolish properties in order to build larger and more profitable buildings. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of TenantScreeningUSA.com comments: "This eviction crisis points to an immediate need for landlords and property managers work with third party tenant screening agencies in order to stay ahead of legal challenges brought on as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)."

Recently HUD released new guidance over the fair and lawful use of criminal background records as part of the vetting process for new tenants. It greatly impacted how tenant checks are conducted.

Essentially the new guidance does not allow for landlords to ban applicants for having a criminal history.

From the San Francisco Chronicle (Apr. 8. 16):

"Landlords who have a blanket ban on renting to people with criminal records could be charged with violating the federal Fair Housing Act, under guidance issued last week by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development." (1)

In Seattle the issue of evictions is front-page news.

From CrossCut.com (May 19, 16):

In the midst of Seattle’s rapid growth, the twin challenges of housing affordability and homelessness have come to define the agenda of local policymakers. Eviction’s role as a cause of homelessness, which saw a 19 percent spike last year, should surprise no one. But even if the result is less drastic, eviction for many represents the moment that a life crumbles into instability. (2)

The City of Los Angeles faces a similar challenge.

From the Los Angeles Times (Apr. 2, 16):

Looking to cash in on a booming real estate market, Los Angeles property owners are demolishing an increasing number of rent-controlled buildings to build pricey McMansions, condos and new rentals, leading to hundreds of evictions across the city. (3)

Almeida comments: "It seems clear that a protected class of renters is being affected by these evictions and just as HUD challenged the use of criminal records in vetting renters, eviction records may come under the spotlight as well."

Some municipalities and states are not waiting for Federal action to control the use of eviction records. In the state of Washington a new statute went into effect regarding eviction checks.

From CrossCut.com (May 19, 16):

A new statewide statute, effective in June, will provide some relief for tenants who actually won their case by prohibiting tenant-screening companies from disclosing the unlawful detainer filing. (4)

Almeida comments: "Why is today the most urgent time to work with a third-party tenant screening company? Simple. To maintain compliance with all existing laws governing the use of eviction records and ensure a best practice policy is in place regarding the use of eviction records. Changes can come quickly and mistakes can be costly."

TenantScreeningUSA.com is a third-party tenant screening company fully compliant and knowledgeable of all laws and Federal guidance governing the far, lawful, and legal use of public records as part of a tenant background check. TenantScreeningUSA.com can provide low-cost, high efficient reports for landlords and property managers for properties large and small.

Notes:
(1)     sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/New-HUD-guidance-on-criminal-records-puts-7237897.php
(2)    crosscut.com/2016/05/understanding-our-eviction-epidemic/
(3)    latimes.com/local/california/la-me-apartments-demolished-20160402-story.html
(4)    crosscut.com/2016/05/understanding-our-eviction-epidemic/

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