California Senate Approves Bill Allowing Reusable Reports for Hire Applicants – Orange County Register

The California Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday, Aug. 22, to support a bill allowing renters to purchase their own reusable credit reports and submit them to multiple landlords rather than paying for a credit check over and over again. when applying to rent an apartment or a house.

However, the Senate amended the bill in June, making it optional for landlords to accept a tenant’s screening report, said Mike Blount, chief of staff to the bill’s author, the member of Assembly Christopher Ward, D-San Diego. The bill is now returned to the Assembly for adoption of the Senate amendment.

According to the Senate version, landlords would still have the right to order credit and background checks from their own provider, charging an application fee to cover those costs. Landlords who accept a tenant’s reusable report will not be able to charge an application fee.

The Assembly has until the end of August, at the end of the current legislative session, to accept the Senate amendment.

Ward had said he sponsored the bill to limit rental search costs. With vacant apartments at a 22-year low, renters have to apply again and again in their search for a new home, costing hundreds of dollars in application fees, he said.

“Sometimes there can be 30 or more candidates for a unit,” Ward said. “You have to go around and apply for 10 or 12 units to try and get lucky and be able to get the right to rent that unit.”

Are you looking for an apartment? It will be $400 in application fee, please

Under Assembly Bill 2559, tenants can order their own Tenant Screening Report that includes a credit check, employment verification, and seven-year eviction history.

To ensure that the report is up to date, it will only be valid for 30 days. And to make sure it’s tamper-proof, the owner could access it directly from a third-party vendor.

Most landlords now require a background check to ensure they are renting their properties to a reputable tenant who is known to pay their bills on time and who does not have a criminal history or previous bankruptcies.

Fees are often billed up front as a condition of requesting a rental.

California law caps the tenant application and screening fee at $55.58 — an amount that increases each year with inflation.

But only landlords are allowed to charge enough to cover their reasonable time and actual costs to conduct background checks. Renters are entitled to a copy of the screening and credit report and are entitled to a refund for any amount paid on the landlord’s actual costs.

The state Assembly is expected to approve the Senate changes, Blount said. Once he acts, the measure would go to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.

The bill is similar to laws currently in effect in the states of Washington and Maryland.

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