WASHINGTON, DC – RealEstateRama – Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), and over a dozen lawmakers sent two letters to Greystar, the largest apartment management company in the country, and the Professional Background Screening Association, a trade union representing many tenant screening companies, asking for information to ensure they are complying with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulations during tenant screenings. In November, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued two shocking reports that found tenant background checks are often filled with false information or information restricted by the FCRA. These erroneous reports bar tenants from accessing safe and stable housing and lead to financial strain from hundreds of dollars in lost application fees.
“In St. Louis, frustrated tenants recall being charged exorbitant application fees—upwards of $300 per rental unit—to process background checks,” said the lawmakers. “The financial barrier, combined with an impersonal algorithm collecting unverified information to produce these tenant screening reports, severely limits the ability of prospective tenants to access affordable housing. Residents in Chicago experience similar issues–with mistaken identities robbing applicants of a fair chance to compete for rental units.”
“It’s critical for applicants to be able to know why they were denied housing, especially if it was due to incorrect or illegally used information,” said National Consumers League, Public Policy Manager Eden Iscil. “The responses to these letters will help bring greater clarity to the decision-making used in this industry.”
A copy of the letter to Greystar can be found HERE
A copy of the letter to PBSA can be found HERE
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MI-5), Congressman Danny Davis (IL-7), Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-3), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-47), Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-12), Congressman James P. McGovern (MA-2), Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7), and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-17)
Congressman García’s work on affordable housing dates back to his time as a neighborhood activist and housing counselor in Chicago. He believes housing is a human right, and as a Member of Congress, he has repeatedly supported legislation that protects renters and increases the supply of affordable housing across the country. He is a strong advocate for responsible urban development that is transit-oriented, accessible, inclusive, and prevents community displacement.
# # #