Rental Report Address Discrepancies: What Landlords Need to Know

If you use credit reports, you should get to know the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). On November 1, 2008 a new FCRA rule on address discrepancies went into effect. We recommend that you print this bulletin or otherwise make your users aware of this FCRA requirement. You may also view a full copy of the FCRA and the new rule.

The good news

The new law applies mostly to financial institutions and creditors, but the act covers anyone that uses consumer reports, including landlords and property management companies. And if you use On-Site, compliance is easy.

What is the law?

The purpose of this new requirement is to protect your applicant from having erroneous information used against him or her. We need to work together to ensure that you have obtained the correct screening report for the applicant who has applied.

The rule, embodied in section 605(h) of the act, states:

“If… the request includes an address for the consumer that substantially differs from the addresses in the file of the consumer… the consumer reporting agency shall notify the requester of the existence of the discrepancy.”

Your On-Site screening reports already contain warnings (including address discrepancies) that the information provided by the renter may be fraudulent. In light of the new law, we have added “ACTION REQUIRED” to the warning and now include a link to this bulletin.

According to the FTC, if there is an address discrepancy, the user of the consumer reports (i.e. you, the landlord or management company) must:

“develop and implement reasonable policies and procedures designed to enable the user to form a reasonable belief that a consumer report relates to the consumer about whom it has requested the report.”

In plain English

If an applicant gives you a current address that generates a warning from our site, we’ve added the reminder that the law now says you must verify that the address belongs to your applicant.

What steps should you take?

If you get an address discrepancy warning, we suggest that you take any of these steps:

  • Ask your applicant if the rest of the screening report information pertains to them.
  • Cross-check the addresses returned on the report with those your applicant provided.
  • Double-check that you have entered the information accurately.
  • Cross-check the accounts on the screening report with materials submitted by the applicant.

You can use information from the applicant or third-party sources to verify that the screening report matches the renter.

What if the screening report contains information that doesn’t match or the applicant disputes the report?

It happens, and we’re here to help. Our dedicated Renter Relations team handles and corrects rental report discrepancies in real time.

What if I can’t view the report details?

For users that don’t have the access level to view the full rental report (including the addresses on file), please ask your manger to view the rental report for you.