Rent Control is Trending: November’s Frightening Rental Legislation

rent control

If you weren’t aware of rent control legislation, now is the time to be active. Bills proposing rent control (as well as restrictions on eviction and criminal records) have become an alarming trend within the rental housing industry. Just last week, I went with other CIC™ tenant screening experts to Washington, D.C. to lobby on behalf of the National Consumer Reporting Association. Our big concern is that without access to eviction or criminal records, property owners and managers like you will not have the information to determine if a rental applicant is a risk or not. While plenty of owners combat potential risk by raising the rent or fees, if rent control measures pass, that option will no longer be accessible.

Unfortunately, states like California, Oregon, Illinois, and Maine have already been targeted by rent control activists – and it seems like this is only the beginning. Take a look to see what rental housing legislation has passed and failed this November, and what bills will likely be reviewed in the Spring of 2018.

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State-run Criminal Data Repositories are Questioned

By: Becky Bower

criminal reporting being questionedWith the release of the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2014 Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, eye-opening facts on criminal records at state-run record repositories have put their effectiveness into question. In fact, the survey revealed that 20 states have over 3 million unprocessed or partially processed court dispositions, ranging from 200 in Michigan and North Dakota to over 1 million unprocessed in Nevada. Additionally, 8 states report 25% or more of all dispositions received could not be linked to the arrest or charge in the state criminal record database! Continue reading

Is Your Tenant Screening Company Reliable?

By: Becky Bower

tenant screeningDetermining if you’re getting the most accurate and complete background screening information is essential when avoiding bad tenants. While price point will always factor into your decision, ultimately you want your tenant screening to be reliable. As your first defense against negligent rental payments, property damages, and even criminal activity, knowing what qualities generate good screening reports is vital.

Criminal Checks are not always the same Continue reading

The Landlord Guide to Tenant Screening

By: Ryan Green

tenant screening for landlordsConsider the age we live in where information is king. Nearly everything you do is monitored and recorded in some database, and used for any number of reasons. Opening a bank account, shopping for a new car, getting a traffic citation, applying for a credit card – all of it is available depending on your purpose.

As a landlord you have an excellent reason for accessing some of this valuable data when screening renters. The difficulty is figuring out which companies are going to provide you with the information you need in the best possible way. For instance, with rental properties you don’t need to know if an applicant got a speeding ticket, but you do need to know whether they were convicted of a violent crime. When preparing to do a background check feel confident that the information you receive is going to be directly applicable to your needs, and available in a convenient way. Continue reading

Recent Rental Housing Legislation That May Affect Your Business

By: Ryan Green

rental housing policy changesRecently there have been changes throughout the country that can affect the way your business must work with applicants during the rental screening process.  If you are affected by any of these changes, be sure your policies are updated, or that you voice your opinion to oppose them before it is too late.

Modified Fair Credit Report Acts – Georgia

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federally approved guide for the use of consumer information during the application process.  In addition to federal regulations there can be further provisions required by the state your business is operating in. Continue reading

Myths and Facts about Criminal Records

By: Becky Bower and Caryn Bennett

facts about criminal recordsYou’ve gotten your potential tenant’s background check and stop mid-way to look it over. As you quickly glance at the clock in the corner of your desktop, you figure you can push lunch-time back just a few more minutes to get this taken care of. You absentmindedly gulp down your lukewarm coffee as your eyes skim the remainder of the report, mentally weighing whether to approve or deny this applicant. But as you see the criminal hits, you immediately question this applicant. If this has happened to you, you’re not the only one.

While criminal records may seem pretty straight-forward, there are a lot of common myths. From questions about “how far back can I check?”, “does this cover every jurisdiction?” to “should I automatically deny someone with a felony?” test your knowledge.  Here are some common myths about criminal records. Continue reading

Housing Policies Challenged: Disparate Impact Supreme Court’s Ruling on 6/25/15

texas housing policies and disparate impactTexas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., decided by the Supreme Court last Thursday, held that lawsuits can challenge housing policies or practices based on their disparate impact. Subject to restrictions discussed below, the Court found that housing discrimination claims can be based on the discriminatory effect of a law or practice without needing to show intent to discriminate. While the Supreme Court had not yet weighed in on this question, the Court’s decision matches the nine federal courts of appeals that have considered the question, which may limit the decision’s consequences. The 5-4 decision included a majority opinion by Justice Kennedy and dissents by Justices Thomas and Alito. Continue reading

ApplyConnect Expands Criminal Jurisdiction Data

by: Laura Mowry

criminal records

Throughout the past six months, the ApplyConnect team worked to increase the number of jurisdictions available to landlords and real estate agents in the Criminal Database Scan. These expansions to our coverage demonstrate ApplyConnect’s commitment to excellence and supporting the unique screening requirements of landlords and agents.

The following jurisdictions have been added: Continue reading

Property Managers Rejoice: California Bill Making Criminals a Protected Class Fails

by: Ryan Green

Stop CA AB396Recently, The California State Legislature introduced a new bill which sought to amend §12955 of the Government Code, to include a criminal record as a basis upon which housing discrimination is prohibited. In what should be viewed as a big win for the rental industry the bill AB396, which sought to add restrictions to the use of criminal records in the rental decision, has been officially shelved for the remainder of the year.  Continue reading