Fair Tenant Screening Act: Remove Barriers to Housing

Thomas Green is an outspoken advocate for the Fair Tenant Screening Act.
Thomas Green is an outspoken advocate for the Fair Tenant Screening Act.

For years, housing advocates have worked to make the rental screening process more transparent and fair. We had some important victories in 2012 and 2013, including passing provisions to protect survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking from housing discrimination. There are still more common-sense changes we can make to improve the tenant screening system.

If you’ve had to look for rental housing, then you know that the screening fees can add up quickly. During a single housing search, the average prospective tenant spends more than $166 in fees. This can be a real challenge for low-income families, and it’s an unnecessary burden because much of the information in the reports is the same. The Fair Tenant Screening Act would create a single, portable, standardized report that a renter could share with multiple potential landlords.

Housing advocate Thomas Green was stuck in a homeless shelter for months longer than he needed to be because of tenant screening fees. He shares his story in the video below, and explains why he supports the Fair Tenant Screening Act.

How would it work?

A renter would pay for one standard, comprehensive online report and provide landlords with access to it. The report would last for 30 days. Landlords would still be free to use their own tenant screening company, but they wouldn’t be able to charge the tenant for any additional reports.

Update (4.1.15):

The Fair Tenant Screening Act passed the House, but failed to make it through the Senate. The good news is that we educated a lot of citizens and lawmakers on this issue, giving it a better chance to pass in the future. Thanks for your advocacy!

What can you do?

Share your story. Have you had to pay repeated tenant screening fees? Let us know.

More info:

Fair Tenant Screening Act info sheet from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

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