Some mistakes are harmless, but mistakes on a tenant background check? Those are serious and can result in a denied application and the loss of housing opportunities. That’s why the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are stepping in.
Thousands of rental property owners and property management companies use tenant background checks from TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions, Inc. (TURSS). TURSS gets public record information for reports from several sources, including criminal records and records related to evictions. By law, TURSS must have reasonable procedures to make the information it reports as accurate as possible and keep mistakes from getting into peoples’ reports. But the FTC and CFPB say the company didn’t have the procedures it should have. For example, TURSS let eviction cases show up more than once, listed incomplete information about eviction cases, and didn’t take reasonable steps to keep sealed eviction cases off reports, according to the lawsuit.
In a proposed settlement with both agencies, TURSS will pay $11 million to people affected by certain company practices — a process that won’t begin until after the court approves the settlement. It will also pay a $4 million fine, stop reporting certain kinds of eviction records, and make other changes. If you qualify for a payment based on TURSS’s records, you will get a payment automatically. There is no claims process. If someone says they can get you a refund if you pay them, that’s a scam. Report them at ReportFraud.ftc.gov