What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law (15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.) that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information. Almost any type of background check that a landlord requests from Achievement Tec to use in the leasing decision is considered a consumer report. In addition, Achievement Tec is considered a Consumer Reporting Agency. Landlords must follow all FCRA requirements in order to remain in compliance. This page will provide a summary of information that is helpful to landlords when using consumer reports for tenant screening purposes.
What is a “Consumer Report”?
According to the FCRA, a consumer report is “any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility…”
The FCRA not only governs credit information, but also other consumer reports such as criminal and civil court records.
Requesting Consumer Reports
Before a consumer reporting agency such as Achievement Tec may provide or prepare a consumer report for a landlord, it must obtain certification from the landlord that the landlord (1) has permissible purpose to obtain the consumer report and (2) the landlord certifies to us what that purpose is.
Achievement Tec will obtain certification from each end-user during the account setup process that all of the requirements will be adhered to. We will also determine what the end-user’s permissible purpose is for requesting consumer report, which, in this case, is tenant screening purposes. Reports may be acquired and used for no other reason than the stated permissible purpose.
In addition, we must provide each end-user with a copy of the Notice to Users of Consumer Reports. Each client should read and be familiar with the contents of this document.
Before a landlord may obtain a credit report on a prospective tenant, it must have the person's written authorization. Most rental application forms have the consent clause just above the signature on the last page. Or, Achievement Tec will provide each end-user with FCRA-compliant forms that may be used to procure consumer reports on applicants.
Using Consumer Reports
When taking any adverse action against the applicant, the landlord must notify the applicant that adverse action has been taken based in whole or in part on a consumer report. Further, they must provide the consumer with:
Common types of adverse action that landlords may take against an applicant are:
Adverse Action Assistance
To help landlords maintain compliance with the requirements of the FCRA, we offer Adverse Action Assistance. If you notify us when you intend to take adverse action against an applicant based on a consumer report, we will send all of the legally required information to the candidate via USPS certified mail within 24 hours of your decision.
What do we send?
All of these steps must be completed to be in compliance with the FCRA. At a nominal fee, we can assure you that every step in the compliance procedure will be carried out.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) - full text
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) - full text. The FACT Act is a 2003 amendment to the FCRA.
State Consumer Reporting Laws
In addition to the federal FCRA, landlords must also be aware of state consumer reporting laws that govern the use of consumer reports. Many states have enacted legislation regarding consumer reports that may be more restrictive than federal law. We suggest you consult your legal counsel to determine if your policies and procedures are compliant.
The following information is provided as a convenience to consumers who may have questions about a background check that was procured by Achievement Tec.
FACT Act Information
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) of 2003 provides that all consumers are entitled to obtain a free copy of their consumer report from certain consumer reporting agencies once during a 12 month period. If Achievement Tec has procured a consumer report on you, you may request a copy of your report pursuant to the Free Annual File Disclosure Rule.
Please note that Achievement Tec will only have a consumer report on you if you have applied for employment or tenancy with an employer or landlord who performs background checks AND the background check was performed by Achievement Tec. Otherwise, Achievement Tec will NOT have a file for you.
Achievement Tec does not re-use any information that was obtained for a consumer report. Each report is for one-time use only. Any subsequent requests for a consumer report are re-run at the time of request.
To request a copy of your free report, please contact us in one of the following ways:
Please be aware that we must take reasonable measures to confirm your identity when supplying a consumer report. You will be asked for your full name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and email address, as well as the name of the employer or landlord who initially requested the consumer report.