New Lawsuit Landlords Need to Know About

Services for Real Estate Pros with AccuRental Tenant Screening

A new lawsuit in Washington state illustrates how critical it is for landlords, property managers, and tenant screening companies to know the specific tenant screening laws that apply in every state. The ACLU has filed suit against Yardi, a prominent tenant screening company, for rejecting tenant applications due to criminal records that were more than 7 years old.  Under Washington's tenant laws, an applicant cannot be denied residence due to a criminal record older than 7 years.  Read a news report on this case here.

By and large, private landlords have no idea that most states have laws that explicitly limit what information can be used to deny a rental applicant.  Luckily for these landlords, most applicants also have no idea that these tenant screening laws exist.  Thus, private landlords are not particularly likely to face serious threat for denying an applicant in violation of his/her state's tenant protection laws.  For larger property management companies, however, this is a different story.  Where there is more money on the line, there is always an increased threat of litigation.  These companies need to educate themselves on what information can be used to deny an applicant in each state.

AccuRental's tenant reports provide all criminal records that are found for each applicant, regardless of the criminal record's age.  It is then the landlord's responsibility to know the specific laws for the state in which your property sits.  To make this easier, AccuRental has decided to immediately begin constructing a database of every state's laws that concern using criminal / eviction reports to evaluate tenants.  Hopefully this resource will help both private landlords and larger property management companies avoid the type of liability that is being put on the line in this lawsuit.


Comments (4)

Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Interesting.  If it is a law the real estate agents and the property managment companies need to know them and follow them.

Apr 06, 2013 01:51 AM
Jeff Stevens
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Mexico Properties - Las Cruces, NM
Jeff Stevens, Associate Broker/REALTOR

Great info, Justin. Thanks! 

Apr 06, 2013 01:57 AM
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Might not like but if its the law - the people involved need to follow them.  Great information.

Apr 06, 2013 02:05 AM
Charles Stallions Property Manager
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pace, FL
Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management

Very interesting indeed I did not know criminals were now a protected class. There certain ones that we refuse period.

Apr 06, 2013 04:14 AM