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Rental problem, do I have any recourse?
Old 09-07-2017, 01:03 PM   #1
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Rental problem, do I have any recourse?

Hi, so I filled out an application for an apartment and the landlord uses a credit report/verification company to do a background check and such. I go to the link they send and fill out my info, pay the ridiculous $50 (it was something like $26 for the credit report, $8 for criminal background check, $8 for employment report, and $8 for eviction report). So I unfreeze my credit, fill out the online form and grudgingly pay the $50.

A few minutes later I get a text from the landlord's wife (who handles the accounts) asking if I had discussed the 11 legal judgements with her husband.

I am like....wha

After some back and forth it seems the research company just puts in your first and last name for the eviction report so they don't miss anything, and it pulls up all evictions with that name in your state. Evidently there are some scum bums in my state with my name. 11 evictions and we have not even rented anything since the 1990s. Amazing. One eviction was even in Sacramento, CA, which we have never lived.

So do I have any recourse here if I am denied the apartment? My inital thought is a chargeback on my Visa, but not sure if they would side with me. I might be willing to go as far as small claims court against the landlord if the wording of their agreement with the background check company indicates it was their responsibility to sift through the various Joe Smith's to pick out the actual one in question (this is what my call to the background company seems to indicate is the landlord's responsibility, while the landlord seemed to think they were getting a complete report).

I am a little upset.
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fermion View Post
Hi, so I filled out an application for an apartment and the landlord uses a credit report/verification company to do a background check and such. I go to the link they send and fill out my info, pay the ridiculous $50 (it was something like $26 for the credit report, $8 for criminal background check, $8 for employment report, and $8 for eviction report). So I unfreeze my credit, fill out the online form and grudgingly pay the $50.

A few minutes later I get a text from the landlord's wife (who handles the accounts) asking if I had discussed the 11 legal judgements with her husband.

I am like....wha

After some back and forth it seems the research company just puts in your first and last name for the eviction report so they don't miss anything, and it pulls up all evictions with that name in your state. Evidently there are some scum bums in my state with my name. 11 evictions and we have not even rented anything since the 1990s. Amazing. One eviction was even in Sacramento, CA, which we have never lived.

So do I have any recourse here if I am denied the apartment? My inital thought is a chargeback on my Visa, but not sure if they would side with me. I might be willing to go as far as small claims court against the landlord if the wording of their agreement with the background check company indicates it was their responsibility to sift through the various Joe Smith's to pick out the actual one in question (this is what my call to the background company seems to indicate is the landlord's responsibility, while the landlord seemed to think they were getting a complete report).

I am a little upset.



So evidently the reporting company
Similar happened to me-only my issue was process server. At that time my marriage was more than a ittle rocky, so I decided to make is difficult for the server to find me. It took weeks, but eventually he did. It had nothing to do with my marriage or me. Plain old mistaken identity. There is a master deadbeat in an adjoining county with my name. I finally had to answer the summons, and show the judge's clerk that they had the wrong deadbeat.

Just glad he was not wanted for murder. I would hate to have been waked up by a swat team breaking down my door.

Re: your question, give it a try with the CC company, but you seem to be premature since you will likely qualify and move into the new place.
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Old 09-07-2017, 01:53 PM   #3
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, $8 for criminal background check, $8 for employment report, and $8 for eviction report). So I unfreeze my credit, fill out the online form and grudgingly pay the $50.

A few minutes later I get a text from the landlord's wife (who handles the accounts) asking if I had discussed the 11 legal judgements with her husband.

I am like....wha


I am a little upset.

OMG sad, and sorry this happened to you, But I was sipping my coffee when I got to the 11 judgement part and started roaring


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Just glad he was not wanted for murder. I would hate to have been waked up by a swat team breaking down my door.
If I was on the entry team and saw the dryer sheet hanging in your shirt pocket, I would have just told the team to "back out, we got da wrong haha", Oh sorry about the door, you must have termites.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:07 PM   #4
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OMG sad, and sorry this happened to you, But I was sipping my coffee when I got to the 11 judgement part and started roaring
Yes, I have calmed down a bit now but I am still ticked off and especially upset that the landlord is waiting until tonight to discuss this with her husband. Essentially I think it is their fault for not understanding that the reporting agency makes no claim that the information they give is specific to the person in question. I did create an account on the reporting agency website as a potential landlord so I could view their policies and disclosures but it is a lot of "we take no responsibility for this and that". They never actually make the statement that it is the landlord's responsibility to verify that the information provided to them by the company is accurate.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:17 PM   #5
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Dang, I thought Fermion was a fairly unique name.
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:23 PM   #6
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Dang, I thought Fermion was a fairly unique name.


good one
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:36 PM   #7
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Hah! I was actually mentioning to my wife a few minutes ago that I should change my name to something unique. Fermion is pretty unique although not to a physicist. Perhaps something really out there like Bottlemier Urinalcake Effington III.

...

Dang, that name has 3 evictions!
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Old 09-07-2017, 11:12 PM   #8
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OP - well maybe if you didn't spend so much time on this site, you could get a job and afford to pay your rent instead of being evicted.
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Old 09-08-2017, 12:52 AM   #9
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No consolation here, just explanation.

Spent a little time around the "tenant screening" business, and your experience is not unique. The vendors use rules-based systems for searches and leave the judgement as to a given tenant up to the landlord. Contracts between the data provider and user (LL) are explicit about the limitations of the underlying data and that the ultimate decision is with the LL. Glad my name is not "Steve Smith"

Some LL accept the report as the truth (saw this with larger regionals and nationals), smaller operations less so. Since your LL appears to be in the smaller category, a discussion and possibly some following documentation should clear it up.

These kinds of problems are endemic to systems based on public record information. As a vendor, these were the worst calls to get, as there is no good answer ("Can't you tell this is not the same Steve Smith?" "Well, no, not programmatically in the time you expect") A lot of people have broken their pick trying to reduce them with modest success, and there is no easy solution. It's a career killer.

Still sucks to have to deal with it.

Only advice is to call the husband and work through it, or move on to a different property and hope it doesn't happen again.
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:15 AM   #10
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I would talk with them. If it is only the evictions, and there is a clear path that it isn't you, the landlord is likely to rent to you. If on the other hand you are an irrational PIA, or other spotty credit issues, you are going to get screened out.

As a landlord, someone objecting about paying my application fee is strike 1 towards the PIA category.

Look at it from their perspective. We deal with people who lie all the time, and at $50 bucks a throw to verify people, it can add up pretty quick. Especially when you ring them back and say great news you've got the apartment. To which they say sorry I decided to take another place.
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:21 AM   #11
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Unless the prospective landlord has a really unique name, perhaps you should invite them to run their name or the name of a good friend or relative of theirs with a common name through that system and see what pops up.

Then they will better understand the false negatives that are included in the report.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fermion View Post
Hi, so I filled out an application for an apartment and the landlord uses a credit report/verification company to do a background check and such. I go to the link they send and fill out my info, pay the ridiculous $50 (it was something like $26 for the credit report, $8 for criminal background check, $8 for employment report, and $8 for eviction report). So I unfreeze my credit, fill out the online form and grudgingly pay the $50.

A few minutes later I get a text from the landlord's wife (who handles the accounts) asking if I had discussed the 11 legal judgements with her husband.

I am like....wha

After some back and forth it seems the research company just puts in your first and last name for the eviction report so they don't miss anything, and it pulls up all evictions with that name in your state. Evidently there are some scum bums in my state with my name. 11 evictions and we have not even rented anything since the 1990s. Amazing. One eviction was even in Sacramento, CA, which we have never lived.

So do I have any recourse here if I am denied the apartment? My inital thought is a chargeback on my Visa, but not sure if they would side with me. I might be willing to go as far as small claims court against the landlord if the wording of their agreement with the background check company indicates it was their responsibility to sift through the various Joe Smith's to pick out the actual one in question (this is what my call to the background company seems to indicate is the landlord's responsibility, while the landlord seemed to think they were getting a complete report).

I am a little upset.
Well, DID you discuss it with the prospective landlord - and he then turned you down? Do you still want the apartment? I own rental properties and we deal with these situations on a case by case basis.
$50 is not excessive for background/credit check - rest assured that the landlord is not getting rich off of your fee.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:41 AM   #13
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Well, DID you discuss it with the prospective landlord - and he then turned you down? Do you still want the apartment? I own rental properties and we deal with these situations on a case by case basis.
$50 is not excessive for background/credit check - rest assured that the landlord is not getting rich off of your fee.
I have discussed it through text with his wife. I am being very polite with her, I am more upset at the agency that does the background check not explaining to simple folk that the report is broad and not always accurate. I think she thought we really had 11 evictions, some at the same time and in different states.

It is annoying though because she said she would discuss it with her husband when he gets home from work and yet does not call back or anything. I offered to meet him and bring financial documents plus our closing statement from sale of our house which shows we owned it and were living in it the past 16 years. She will probably call today I hope...maybe they don't do any phone calls after 6pm or something.

Still, it is not at all fair to get denied an apartment in this manner, and if more places do their checking this way, I do feel there needs to be some change here in how facts are presented to landlords from the agencies.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:49 AM   #14
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I have discussed it through text with his wife. I am being very polite with her, I am more upset at the agency that does the background check not explaining to simple folk that the report is broad and not always accurate. I think she thought we really had 11 evictions, some at the same time and in different states.

It is annoying though because she said she would discuss it with her husband when he gets home from work and yet does not call back or anything. I offered to meet him and bring financial documents plus our closing statement from sale of our house which shows we owned it and were living in it the past 16 years. She will probably call today I hope...maybe they don't do any phone calls after 6pm or something.

Still, it is not at all fair to get denied an apartment in this manner, and if more places do their checking this way, I do feel there needs to be some change here in how facts are presented to landlords from the agencies.
I understand the frustration and clearly, some of these agencies are better than others. However, there are many places where this process can go astray. For example, prospective tenants tend to dislike having to provide their ss# for a rental application. I totally understand why (privacy concerns) but that means any background check will be less accurate, especially with fairly common names. Perhaps this was the case here? If you did provide SS# then there shouldn't be as much confusion, but even then, things are rarely perfect.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:53 AM   #15
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I understand the frustration and clearly, some of these agencies are better than others. However, there are many places where this process can go astray. For example, prospective tenants tend to dislike having to provide their ss# for a rental application. I totally understand why (privacy concerns) but that means any background check will be less accurate, especially with fairly common names. Perhaps this was the case here? If you did provide SS# then there shouldn't be as much confusion, but even then, things are rarely perfect.
No, we gave our SS# and full name including full middle name. I talked to the reporting agency and they said that in order to pull in the most information, they don't use SS# or middle name.

?

I am surprised they even use last name lol. Think of how much info they could present in a report with just first name.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:59 AM   #16
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No, we gave our SS# and full name including full middle name. I talked to the reporting agency and they said that in order to pull in the most information, they don't use SS# or middle name.

?
.
Time for that landlord to find a different screening agency!
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Old 09-08-2017, 08:02 AM   #17
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Time for that landlord to find a different screening agency!
And so you now see why I am a little upset, not at the landlord, but at this agency. That is the place I want some recourse against, even for the measly $50.
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Old 09-08-2017, 09:49 AM   #18
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I found this online:

What if a landlord refuses to rent to you or charges you more because of something in a background check? Then you have rights:
  • The landlord must give you notice of the action – orally, in writing or electronically.
  • The notice must give you contact information for the company that supplied the report.
  • The notice must tell you about your rights to correct inaccurate information and to get a free copy of the report if you ask for it within 60 days of the landlord’s decision.
Source:
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/20...ckground-check
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