On April 3, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release announcing that it had sent warning letters to operators of six websites that provide rental history reports to landlords for tenant screening purposes. The letters informed the website operators that they may be considered consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) subject to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).
The letters detail certain FCRA requirements that may apply to the website operators as a result of their activities, including that they must ensure the information they provide is accurate and that the parties requesting the information have a legitimate reason to acquire it. Such operators also must notify landlords of their obligations in the event they use information provided by the website operator/CRA to deny housing to the subject of a report. According to the letters, the FTC has not made a determination as to whether these website operators are in compliance with the FCRA, and it reserves its right to take action against these companies. The Commission encourages the relevant companies to review their websites and policies and procedures for compliance.