The FTC reported on Tuesday that they had reached a settlement with a Publicly Traded Tenant Screening Company in California in the amount of $4.25 million for failure to follow reasonable procedures that ensure the accuracy of their reports. The company was also found to be in violation of the FCRA for reporting evictions and non-conviction criminal records more than 7 years old. The company failed to institute policies and procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of their reporting.
This is another clear example of the failure of “instant” screening products and the drive for automation.
The FTC voted 4-1 to proceed with the settlement. The lone no vote was made by Commissioner Rohit Chopra, who felt the settlement didn’t go far enough. In Chopra’s dissenting statement he said:
- When Americans are improperly blocked from an opportunity to live in the home of their
choice due to sloppy data practices by tenant screeners, this is extremely harmful.
- While the FTC’s proposed settlement includes a modest penalty, it offers no redress or help
for victims – valuing the harm to tenants at $0.
- Unlawful tenant screening practices also raise serious questions about a company’s
compliance with federal prohibitions on housing discrimination.
- To prevent recidivism, it is not enough to simply require a defendant to follow existing law
and to submit generalized reports that may never become public.