Changes to TransUnion Screening in Response to COVID-19 Rental Debt Legislation

On January 29, 2021, the California state legislature signed new legislation into law that extends the current COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act. The bill (SB 91) included several provisions that can be read in its entirety here. Please note that this is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or as a complete overview of SB 91.

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One of the most noteworthy provisions for the rental housing industry prohibits rental housing providers, tenant screening companies, or other entities from using COVID-19 rental debt as a factor when evaluating an applicant for tenancy. Likewise, COVID-19 rental debt cannot be a reason to deny an applicant that would otherwise qualify as a prospective tenant.

What Qualifies as COVID-19 Rental Debt?

The bill defines “COVID-19 rental debt” as any unpaid rent or other financial obligations the tenant has accrued during the ‘Covered Period,” which is between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

How Will SB 91 Affect Tenant Screening?

In response to the bill, TransUnion has made changes to the data provided in screening reports:

  • Eviction records that occurred in California during the covered period will not be included in the evictions report.
  • COVID-19 rental debt that occurred during the covered period will not be included in ResidentScore or VantageScore credit scores or reports.
  • No changes will be made to TransUnion’s batch credit reports.

To develop a strategy that will best fit your operations, we recommend discussing the new provisions with your legal counsel.

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