Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn
On August 22 and 23, 2022, the California State Senate and State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 2559 (AB 2559) “to standardize reusable screening reports for rental applicants that can be used multiple times within a 30-day window,” according to a press release from the bill’s sponsor Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego).
“California’s rental market has become extremely tight for prospective tenants, with prices skyrocketing and limited availability. Many rental shoppers are required by landlords to pay fees ranging from $25 to $55 per adult for credit checks, employment verifications, and criminal background reports,” the press release explained.
AB 2559 would standardize reusable screening reports in California and allow landlords who wish to accept the reports to receive them from a third-party company that provides the service. The reusable screening reports would include name, contact information, eviction history, employment, rental history, and last known address.
Application fees for rental housing create additional cost burdens for renters seeking new housing, often resulting in people of color taking on a greater financial burden due to application fees. AB 2559 would make rental properties more accessible to renters while saving landlords time and effort in collecting fees.
The tenant would have the opportunity to review the report for accuracy and dispute any errors with the tenant screening company. Additionally, landlords could publicize whether reusable screening reports are accepted during the application process. AB 2559 now heads to California Governor Gavin Newsom for approval.
“People are having to apply to multiple units to try and secure a place to live,” Assemblymember Ward stated in the press release. “AB 2559 will allow would-be tenants to pay one fee and use one screening report for multiple rental applications, as well as verify that the information on the screening report is accurate.”
The States of Washington and Maryland passed legislation in 2019 and 2021 to allow landlords to accept reusable screening reports. According to the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report for 2022, 26 percent of U.S. renters who moved in the past two years listed multiple application fees as the top stressor of a rental search.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is a service offering of ClearStar, a leading Human Resources (HR) technology company. ClearStar offers low cost Tenant Screening Services to protect properties with exceptional turnaround times and responsive client service. To learn more, contact ClearStar today.
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