- Screening Fees
- Credit History
- Rental History
- Criminal Records
- Employment & Income
- Social Security Number
- Discrimination in Tenant Screening
- Screening Protections for Survivors of Violence
In cosmopolitan, landlords are looking for tenants who will be able to pay rent systematically, who will treat their units with care, and who will be trouble-free neighbors. Every landlord has their own set of requirements for the tenants who live in their units, and go about collecting that information in a variety of ways. Landlords can use whatever screening criteria they desire, ampere long as they are applying these criteria in a non-discriminatory manner. If they ask a question of one type of tenant, they must uniformly ask it of all renters who apply to live in their units in order to not be discriminatory. Any tenant that is denied occupancy from a screening report, or received an adverse action like an increase deposit or co-signer necessity, must be informed in writing the cause why. Some landlords use screening services that look up the information for them, and other landlords may do identical little screening. even if you have dings on your credit record, eviction history or criminal record, there is still much you can do to establish that you will be a good tenant. It ’ s a thoroughly mind to have a complete rental résumé, including employment information, references from former landlords, supervisors, social workers and other community members, such as pastors or a faith drawing card. This can be specially significant if you have credit issues or blemishes in your rental history. If you have blemishes on your record, you may be able to offer an extra deposit or a shorter rent to move in.
Reading: Tenant Screening
TU Campaign The TU is working with local house advocates to improve tenants ’ rights with screening companies and landlords in the screen serve. See Fair Tenant Screening Act for more data .
1. Screening Fees
As of June 6, 2012, there are raw laws in locate regarding the tenant screening process. Before you turn in an application or pay a shield fee, landlords are required to provide written notice informing you of respective details. The written notice should include :
- The type of information that will be accessed to conduct the screening (i.e., credit report, public records, eviction filings).
- The information that could result in your application being denied.
- The contact information for the consumer reporting agency – if the landlord is using a third-party screening company – along with notification that you have the right to request a free copy of the consumer report if you are denied. The landlord must also inform you of your right to dispute the accuracy of the consumer report.
Landlords can merely charge prospective tenants for the actual monetary value of screening fees. additionally, landlords can only charge for screening if they provide written poster to inform you of what the riddle will entail and what information could result in the lotion being denied. application and screen fees generally cost $ 35– $ 75 per person. Landlords can not profit from application fees. Most landlords pay tenant screening companies to research potential tenants, including criminal backdrop checks, credit checks, eviction and woo records, use history and rental histories. Tenant riddle services besides look for things such as histories of late payments, bankruptcies, and any evictions or money owed to a former landlord. Tenant screening companies may not disclose any information about your history as a survivor of domestic ferocity, intimate rape or stalk. This includes information about a tenant having a auspices arrange or previously breaking a lease because of domestic violence. It may be a full idea to talk to the landlord to get a sense of their standards before you apply. You may be able to avoid having to pay unnecessary screen fees if you find out ahead of prison term that the landlord will not consider renting to any tenant who has an eviction or criminal history. Landlords may be bequeath to discuss their particular criteria, which could save you from paying screening fees for a unit where the landlord will not be uncoerced to rent to you because of a flaw on your commemorate. The new law besides requires that if the tenant ’ south application is denied, the landlord must provide a written adverse action notification stating the specific reasons and consumer report card or information that led to the denial. There is a sample form of the adverse legal action notice in RCW 59.18.257. If the landlord fails to provide the prospective tenant with a written poster before screening or a written adverse legal action comment if denied, then the landlord may be liable to the tenant for up to $ 100. The prevailing party can besides recover court costs and reasonable lawyer fees. If the landlord does not provide written notice, you may choose to inform the landlord of the new prerequisite to disclose the information detailed above. Speak to a Tenant Counselor or lawyer for more information and aid, or see our Legal Assistance Guide .
credit is one of the primary issues that landlords consider when screening tenants. If you know that you have credit problems, or if you find yourself paying numerous costly credit check fees to apartment buildings, you can take a transcript of your credit report to the landlord when you look at the apartment and show them any blemishes that appear. Landlords do not have to accept your imitate of the credit report, but you can explain what happened to your credit and what you are doing to clear up the trouble. You may be able to improve your credit by paying off any judgments or debts and making certain everything that appears on the report is correct. It will take make to clean up your credit rating. There is no flying way to get rid of credit rating issues, but many landlords will be more volition to work with you if you have negotiated a payment plan to pay off back debts. Solid Ground offers Financial Fitness Boot Camp that may be helpful in getting back on your feet financially. As of December 2004, the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the three big citation report agencies to provide you with a free copy of your credit reputation, at your request, once every 12 months. If you have already received a loose credit report and need to order another, it will be about $ 10. It will cost a few dollars more if you would besides like a accredit grade ( FICO score ), in summation to your composition. There are three major credit report agencies : Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These agencies have set up one central web site, phone number, and address through which you can rate your free annual report. Be careful of talk through one’s hat or deceitful websites. To order a copy of your credit report, go to annualcreditreport.com, call 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to : annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can print the kind from the Federal Trade Commission ’ s Credit & Loans web page. Keep in mind that each of the three credit coverage agencies above will have unlike information on you, sol Equifax might show an bill that Experian does not, for model. It all depends on whom your creditors use. You might want to get all three, requesting a different one every few months so you have the accomplished photograph. If the entire cause or part of the argue the landlord denied your occupancy is because of your credit report, they must tell you that they did so and provide you with the identify, address and call number of the citation report representation that provided that information to them. In become, that credit report agency must provide you with a free copy of your accredit report. typically, in arrange to obtain the free report you must make the request within 30 days. For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission ’ s A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FTC besides has a guidebook to cleaning up your credit rating called Credit Repair : How to Help Yourself .
3. Rental History
likely landlords may research your rental history and try references from previous landlords to get a smell of your qualifications as a renter. There are no laws in the Landlord-Tenant Act that restrict what information about you a landlord gives as a separate of the screen summons. You may decide to bring references from former landlords or employers and other character references. If you are concerned that a erstwhile landlord may misrepresent or lie about your qualifications as a tenant, you can give the new landlord an explanation of the position or extra references. Some Credit Reporting Agencies conduct interviews with early landlords and may ask such questions as, “ Did the tenant give proper notice to vacate ? ” or “ Did the tenant ever receive any notices for default or disobedience ? ” or “ Did the tenant leave the unit in commodity condition ? ”
Do you have an eviction on your record ? unfortunately, evening if you never went to woo, if a landlord always filed a lawsuit to evict you, it will show up on your record. It is frequently best to be upfront about this with a potential landlord. You can explain the circumstances and ask if they are will to rent to tenants with past evictions on their records. additionally, make certain that any judgments against you have been paid. many places won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate lease to you if those judgments have not been satisfied. If you were evicted illegally, or won in eviction court, it will hush show up in your record as an eviction and can be used against you in the cover process. You can bring a written explanation or a letter from the court stating that you won the eviction, or that the action was brought against you illegally. The new landlord may be will to consider the extenuating circumstances surrounding the eviction.
The Tenants Union is working to win stronger protections for tenants who are evicted illegally or who win in eviction court. For more data, see Fair Tenant Screening Act
5. Criminal Record
Some landlords may screen out tenants who have criminal records, assuming that they will not be trustworthy renters, careless of the nature of the crime, the circumstances surrounding the conviction, and the amount of time that has passed since the criminal action occurred. If you have a criminal record, you might want to be upfront about it in order to avoid paying screening costs for a unit where the landlord refuses to accept tenants with criminal records. If you can get a personal letter of reference from a residential district member, case director or even a friend, bring that along. Some tenant cover services check criminal history and some don ’ metric ton. You can ask the landlord if they will rent to person with a criminal record. If you know right away that the landlord will not consider you for occupancy because of a criminal history or eviction on your record, you can save the money you would have spent on a tenant cover or application fee and apply for another unit of measurement. In some cases you may be able to expunge your record so it does not show up anymore. legal Voice ’ mho Can I unclutter My Criminal Record ? has more on expunging a criminal record. The University of Washington School of Law Legal Clinic ’ s that can help juveniles clear their criminal records and entree a new police that allows youth to have their criminal commemorate expunged if they receive a amnesty from the Governor. An catch alone should not be grounds for denial of house. If you were denied housing because of former criminal charge for which you were not convicted, that could be a trespass of fair caparison laws. A condemnable charge is not a determination of fault under the law and may be reported to a Civil Rights Office. In addition, it is discrimination for a landlord to only run criminal background checks on protect class groups, or not to select applicants systematically based on the lapp criterion. It besides may be discrimination for landlords to have outright bans on all people with criminal records, because it disparately impacts groups that are incarcerated more heavily for discriminatory reasons. Landlord should consider how long ago the crime occurred, any extenuating circumstances surrounding the collar or conviction, whether the crime has any relevance towards the tenant ’ s ability to be a good tenant, and any evidence of rehabilitation. Contact the King County Office for Civil Rights or the Washington State Human Rights Commission for more information. Tenants whose criminal history is related to a disability can make a reasonable adjustment request to the landlord to accept option forms of determining eligibility for caparison. past drug addiction is considered a disability under fair house laws. The tenant may submit a plan to the prospective landlord detailing any and all efforts they have undertaken to address and eliminate the issues that led to the crime, in addition to letters of support or certificates from drug rehabilitation programs, case managers, or other landlords. For more information, contact the King County Office for Civil Rights. See the Sample Letter : Housing Denial for Criminal History. The ACLU may besides be able to offer aid. For more data, see ACLU Criminal Records Project. In summation, the City of Seattle is presently considering a marriage proposal to make it illegal for housing providers to discriminate against tenants on the basis of collar or conviction phonograph record history. For more data, see Seattle Human Rights Commission ’ randomness Proposed Ordinance to End Arrest/Conviction Record Discrimination. TU Campaign The Tenants Union advocates for a Seattle regulation that would amend Seattle ’ s stream anti-discrimination laws to limit the ways a landlord can use check or conviction records when making lease decisions. This would move toward ending discrimination against people whose by record does not related to their occupancy. See criminal Record Discrimination for more information .
6. Employment & Income
prospective landlords will by and large want to verify your employment condition and income to ensure that you make adequate money to afford the rip. Some landlords require that tenants earn double or triple the sum of rent. They may ask for your bank account numbers, copies of your paystubs or your employer ’ mho phone count. You can decide what information you are comfortable sharing with your landlord, and how you would like to contribution it. If you are not comfortable with providing a prospective landlord with your bank account information, you may decide to provide a imitate of your bank instruction that shows your name, account history and remainder, but total darkness out the history numbers. Or you may offer to show them paycheck invoices as an option. The landlord may decide not to rent to you on the basis of any information you decide not to provide, but the integrity of your personal information will remain integral .
7. Social Security Number & Immigration Status
Landlords can legally ask for social security numbers on rental applications angstrom hanker as they are not doing then in a discriminatory manner. For example, it would be a violation of fair caparison laws for a landlord to ask entirely individuals from one particular ethnic group for their social security system numbers. If they ask one tenant, they must ask all tenants. If they are requesting social security system numbers in a nondiscriminatory manner, landlords can legally choose not to rent to tenants who do not provide valid social security numbers. not all landlords ask for them, and not all will choose not to rent to tenants who don ’ thyroxine provide them. Try to find out more about the landlord ’ s evaluation criteria before you fill out the application. IRS regulations specify that projects financed through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit ( LIHTC ) program are not required to collect social security numbers from potential residents. however, LIHTC projects still ask for social security numbers on applications and use them to determine applicants ’ fiscal eligibility and suitability as tenants. equivalent identification would be a Work Visa, Alien Registration Receipt Card, Temporary Resident Card, IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ( ITIN ), or Employment Authorization Card. failure on the character of applicants to provide social security numbers or equivalent designation could hinder or delay an LIHTC place ’ s ability to review their applications for housing .
8. Discrimination in Tenant Screening
It is not necessarily discriminatory if a landlord does not rent to you because of any problems with your screening report. A landlord does not have to tell you precisely why they chose not to rent to you. They do have to inform you that they denied you for occupancy and tell you how to get a replicate of the report on which they based their decisiveness. Landlords can not deny occupancy on the basis of any discriminatory argue or choose not to rent to you on the basis of any protect course, including race, sex, intimate orientation, disability, class status or national lineage. In Seattle, Unincorporated King County and Bellevue it is prejudiced to deny caparison because of a tenant ’ second part 8 voucher status. For more information on discrimination and your civil rights, see Seattle Office for Civil Rights, King County Office of Civil Rights or the Washington State Human Rights Commission. equally long as landlords are not collecting information in a discriminatory manner, there are no laws restricting what information is asked of you on a lease application. however, there are laws restricting how that information can be used. You may ask why the landlord wants the data and what they are going to do with it. They must have a legitimate business rationality for requesting it from you. It is at a landlord ’ randomness delicacy to choose not to offer a unit of measurement to you if you do not provide the data requested, but sometimes landlords will be flexible if you have concerns .
9. Screening Protections for Survivors of Violence
TU Victory ! This law exists because members of the Tenants Union worked together and fight for it. If you have benefited from this law, go to Tenants Union Membership to find out more about becoming a member to support the TU ’ mho work for housing department of justice. There are extra protections in the jurisprudence for tenants who are survivors of domestic ferocity, sexual assault or stalk. RCW 59.18.580 states that a landlord can not refuse to enter into a rental agreement based on a family penis ’ sulfur condition as a survivor of domestic ferocity, intimate attack or stalk, or because the tenant had previously terminated a rent for any of those reasons. A landlord who refuses to enter into a lease agreement with a tenant because of their condition as a survivor is liable to the prospective tenant in civil action for their actual damages, plus court costs and attorneys ’ fees if they prevail. Part II of the Fair Tenant Screening Act, RCW 59.18.575 “ was passed in the summer of 2013, creating necessary protections for survivors of domestic ferocity, sexual rape, and stalking. The new protections require that a tenant screening company not disclose an applicant ’ second status as a survivor of domestic violence, intimate rape, or stalking. These protections are critical in ensuring that survivors can access house and secure a dependable and stable home plate for themselves and their families. When a survivor of domestic ferocity, sexual attack, or stalking requests a protection order from the court against their abuser, it becomes a populace commemorate. In 2004 the legislature passed a poster making it illegal for landlords to use an applicant ’ sulfur status as a domestic violence survivor against them when considering their rental lotion. unfortunately during that process, the rental industry used their political ability to remove a section of the placard that would have prohibited the inclusion of domestic violence data in a tenant screening reputation.
Read more: Credit Saint Credit Repair Review
In effect, while it was illegal for a landlord to use a survivor ’ sulfur protection order record in screening decisions, it was even legal for a landlord to see the record on a tenant screening report card. In many respects, survivors were not much better off than they had been prior to 2004 : a landlord could placid deny a survivor housing based on a pre-textual reason ; for example, claiming another applicant had applied beginning, or for no reason at all. The Fair Tenant Screening Act ends this hidden but distillery occurring discrimination by prohibiting the disclosure of a survivor ’ randomness domestic violence status on a tenant screening report card. This step towards increased access to caparison and fair tenant screening follows on the heels of our achiever last year passing Tenant Screening : Your Rights, which created more transparency for tenants when we apply for house. The Tenants Union was a part of a coalescence of housing advocates and tenants who worked to support this law, including Solid Ground Tenant Services, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, and Northwest Justice Project. Watch An In-Depth look at Tenant Screening in Washington State :