A quarter of your applicants are being turned away, because of errors on their credit report—unless, of course, you’re one of the many housing providers using On-Site’s Renter Relations service to help resolve credit report errors.
But what if you aren’t partnering with On-Site’s Renter Relations? To answer that question, we need to delve into the shadowy world of credit reporting.
The consumer dispute black hole
As Units magazine reported back in April, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conducted an eight-year study of the credit reporting industry and found that one in four consumers had a mistake on their credit report.
A 25% error rate might be bad enough, but the long running news program 60 Minutes recently provided some disturbing new insights into the subject that the credit bureaus don’t want you to know about.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit bureaus to maintain procedures allowing consumers to dispute inaccuracies on their credit report. According to 60 Minutes, 8 million Americans try to resolve mistakes on their credit report every year. Unfortunately, their complaints are falling on deaf ears.
Consumers who contact the credit bureaus typically have their phone calls redirected to offshore call centers, where phone representatives have absolutely no ability to actually investigate complaints, let alone the authority to correct credit misinformation.
Mailed-in consumer disputes don’t fare any better. Complaint letters sent to the credit bureaus are also handled outside the country by complaint processors who assign a two-digit code to every complaint. When a dispute boils down to a consumer’s word versus the word of a bank or merchant—the consumer never wins.
Whether by phone or by mail, consumer disputes go into a black hole, never to be seen again. Meanwhile, consumers are left grappling with the ramifications of their credit report errors: denied home loans, denied auto loans and most troubling of all—denied rental housing. In the end, perfectly qualified applicants are left homeless, while your apartments sit vacant.
On-Site’s Renter Relations saves the day
Because the credit bureaus fall woefully short when it comes to investigating consumer disputes, On-Site created Renter Relations. Renter Relations helps renters get the housing they need and helps you fill vacancies by reporting the most up-to-date information possible. In fact, companies that use On-Site’s Renter Relations service qualify 18% more applicants for move-in that would have otherwise been turned away because of an erroneous credit report.
The FCRA allows up to 30 days for an investigation of a dispute, but we know that time is of the essence when it comes to renting an apartment. That’s why Renter Relations works directly with your applicants to resolve credit report errors online and over the phone so your renters can get the housing they need today—not 30 days from now.
Applicants can easily provide Renter Relations with documents proving that a bill was paid or that a tradeline on their credit report doesn’t belong to them. While we can’t change the credit reports as furnished by the credit bureaus, we can make adjustments to rental reports right away without having to wait on the credit bureaus to make a determination.
Accuracy is fine, but good customer service is final
The recent stories from Units and 60 Minutes just confirm what resident screening companies have known since the automated scoring of credit reports became a standard feature of the leasing process in the late 1990s: credit reports are riddled with outdated, incomplete or outright wrong information.
In spite of this knowledge, most resident screening companies talk all day about their rental reports being 98% accurate, but never seem to have much to say about their dispute resolution processes for the remaining 2% of applicants.
The biggest mistake you can make with your screening company is to think that accuracy is the end of the story. It’s really just the beginning when it comes to the significant number of consumers who will have their apartment applications denied because of bad credit information. Don’t let these otherwise qualified applicants fall through the cracks.
On-Site and Renter Relations help hundreds of applicants resolve credit report errors online and over the phone every day.
What is your resident screening company doing?
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