Screened out of housing?
Share your story and tell the government to protect dignified homes for all.
Too often, people trying to find affordable, dignified homes for themselves and their families are locked out of good places to live because of background checks, also known as “tenant screening.” But now we have a chance to tell the federal government about the problems people face when applying for housing. Tell your story to help hold landlords and background check companies accountable for the harms they cause, like charging too many fees, denying people housing because of past criminal or eviction records, denying people because of a credit check, or never telling people why they were denied.
The comment period has ended.
What is this?
The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are requesting information from the public about the housing application and background check process, or “tenant screening.” They need to hear about real people’s experiences applying for housing, so that they can protect people from harmful, discriminatory practices, and make it easier to get housing. You can read the government’s full request for information here and submit your comments using this form.
The information you share will be publicly available, but you can submit your comment anonymously if you do not want to use your name.Download the RFI (PDF)
Why should I respond to this?
The information you submit will be read by government agencies that make and enforce rules for landlords and background check companies. These agencies will use the information you provide to identify and stop discriminatory tenant screening practices. For example, the government can sue landlords to stop them from denying people housing based on arrest records, or it can advise landlords not to deny people housing automatically because of an eviction record. Each person’s first-hand experience helps to paint a clearer picture of the problems that need to be addressed. You can also suggest actions the federal government should take to limit tenant screening practices.
What kinds of information should I share?
Any information you can provide about your experiences with housing applications and background checks will be helpful, so tell your story! Be as clear and specific as you can, but your comment doesn’t need to be formal or follow a particular format or style. Even one paragraph that tells your side of the story is valuable.
Here are a few examples of the types of information that would be helpful to share. You do not need to answer all of these questions. Click here if you want to see the government’s full list of questions.
- If you applied to a rental unit and were either denied or charged more money to live there (like a higher monthly rent, security deposit, or extra fees), did anyone tell you why you were denied or charged more? What, if anything, did they tell you?
- If a landlord conducted a background check on you, were you told what would be included in the background check — for example, criminal, eviction, or credit history?
- Have you been turned down for a rental unit because of your background? Share any details you can about your interactions with the landlord or property manager.
- Have you ever tried to request a copy of your tenant screening report? What happened?
- Have you ever tried to correct or dispute any information that the landlord found out about you through a background check? If so, what happened?
- Have you faced problems applying for housing because of a disability or language barrier? If you raised this issue to the landlord, property manager, or tenant screening service, how did they respond?
- Has a landlord ever told you that you received a tenant screening score? What, if anything, did they tell you about the score, why you got it, or where it came from? Were you denied housing because of the score?
Submit a Comment
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This website was created by the following organizations to make it easier for people who have been impacted by tenant screening to share their experiences in response to the FTC and CFPB’s request for information. Comments submitted through this form go directly to regulations.gov.
For questions about this form, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
People’s Tech Project supports social movements to win a future in which technology contributes to dignity, justice, and liberation, rather than exacerbating oppression and harm in the hands of big corporations and the state.
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity. PolicyLink fights for a transformative future where housing supports health, community, and liberation.
Upturn is a research and advocacy organization that works to advance justice in the design, governance, and use of technology. Upturn’s housing work is focused on understanding and challenging how tenant screening and records operate as barriers to housing.