Governor Gregoire signed Fair Tenant Screening Act into law

On March 15, 2012 Governor Gregoire signed into law SBB 6315 The Fair Tenant Screening Act. Effective June 7, 2012, the new law requires landlords to first notify the applicant in writing, or by posting, of the following:

  • What type of information will be accessed to conduct the tenant screening;
  • What criteria may result in denial of the application; and
  • If a consumer report is used, the name and address of the screening company and the applicant’s right to get a free copy of the report in the event of denial or other adverse action and to dispute the accuracy of information in the report.

Landlords may only charge an applicant the cost of a tenant screening report if the landlord provides the information above. Even landlords who do not use a screening company must comply with these requirements if the landlord charges a fee for the screening.
Any landlord or prospective landlord who violates this section may be liable to the prospective tenant for an amount not to exceed one hundred dollars. The prevailing party may also recover court cost and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
The legislator has required that landlord stakeholder groups, tenant advocates and representatives of screening companies meet to discuss the issues of: portable screening reports, screening fees, criteria used to evaluate a prospective tenant’s background, limiting or excluding certain court records (i.e. evictions) and regulation of screening services. Specific recommendations on these issues are due to the legislature by December 1, 2012.

If a prospective landlord takes an adverse action, the prospective landlord shall provide a written notice of the adverse action to the prospective tenant that states the reasons for the adverse action. The adverse action notice must contain the following information in a substantially similar format, including additional information as may be required under chapter 19.182 RCW:

If you are a LandlordSolutions’ tenant screening client, the new adverse action notice required by the statute will be integrated and available through your online tenant screening account or by contacting us.

“ADVERSE ACTION NOTICE
Name
Address
City/State/Zip Code

This notice is to inform you that your application has been:

….. Rejected
….. Approved with conditions:
….. Residency requires an increased deposit
….. Residency requires a qualified guarantor
….. Residency requires last month’s rent
….. Residency requires an increased monthly rent of $……..
….. Other:

Adverse action on your application was based on the following:

….. Information contained in a consumer report (The prospective
landlord must include the name, address, and phone number of the
consumer reporting agency that furnished the consumer report that
contributed to the adverse action.)
….. The consumer credit report did not contain sufficient information
….. Information received from previous rental history or reference
….. Information received in a criminal record
….. Information received in a civil record
….. Information received from an employment verification

Dated this ….. day of …….., 20….

Agent/Owner Signature”

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