Canadian Realestate Magazine forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Equifax addresses privacy concerns with new online tenant-screening tool

Notify me of new replies via email
guest | 05 Oct 2011, 03:32 PM Agree 0

“There is more pushback from tenants, indeed, when it comes to providing sensitive information, like one’s credit report,” John Russo, chief privacy officer at Equifax Inc., told CRE Online. “And there has been a more privacy-centric movement, especially in Ontario, where people are declining to provide that information, even though the landlord is allowed to view it under the various legislation, like the Ontario Consumer Reporting Act,” he added. To use Equifax’s Tenant Selector online software program, landlords registered with the credit bureau simply have to log online and enter their tenant or tenants’ information into the system. The landlord can then run a search and the Tenant Selector will return a simple “accept” or “decline” based on the tenant’s credit history. For a landlord to view a tenant’s credit report or use Equifax's new program, two conditions must be met: first, the consumer must give his or her consent and, second, there must be “permissible purpose,” like in the case of renting out a home. With the old way of doing things, once a landlord has a tenant’s credit report he or she can view all the applicant’s credit history, which includes the past use of credit cards, lines of credits and mortgages. But a growing number of tenants worry that their credit report could be misplace, stolen or disposed of improperly, leaving sensitive information exposed to identity thieves. That’s where Equifax’s Tenant Selector comes in, Russo said. The program can be customized to allow landlords to still receive “reason codes,” which could state a general reason why the prospective tenant should be declined, such as a past bankruptcy, potential bankruptcy or past instances of fraud.The system does not allow landlords access to consumers’ full credit reports, which alleviates concerns that a paper copy of the report will end up getting into the wrong hands. The increased security for tenants’ sensitive information will help landlords market their units as a more secure option for prospective renters, Russo said, adding that the system as a whole will contribute to the efficiency of real estate investors’ general business model.“This product will open up a bigger market to landlords because it’s a faster more cost-efficient service than them having to train their staff to look for a credit file and having to understand Equifax 101,” Russo said. “Landlords will be able to make decisions easier, faster and cheaper while at the same time being able to attract more consumers.”
  • Gloria Lee | 06 Oct 2011, 03:14 PM Agree 0
    If the output will only be 'accept' or 'decline', what parameters will Equifax use to judge if this is a good tenant or not. The whole purpose sometimes for tenants is so that they can 'redeem' themselves and buy time to fix their credibility. You will be killing off good people. If they are being reviewed just like any other mortgage files, then why rent and not just buy??

    I believe that this method will be unfair to the tenants.

    I review a lot of credit bureaus for my investors and for example, sometimes the landlord will decide that one little mistake is 'ok' as long the income is stable.

    There are a lot of variables other than just numbers to qualify a tenant.
  • Peter | 07 Oct 2011, 12:13 AM Agree 0
    So what is a web link to this service?

    (Don't even try to call Equifax to find out - don't waste your time)
  • Joe | 28 Oct 2011, 10:32 PM Agree 0
    I agree that "accept" or "decline" without a solid reason for this decision is unfair not only to the prospective tenant, but to the Landlords as well. Credit scores can and are often based on things that have no basis on continued monthly rental payments and we could possibly miss out on a great tenant.
  • tenant screening | 08 Dec 2011, 07:27 AM Agree 0
    For verifying a tenant most of the landlords and agencies are hired and can also generate some kinds of techniques such as represented in this post regarding the issues of verifying a tenant through the online tenant screening systems which would be more variable and beneficial for most of the agencies.
Post a reply