Prospective tenants will not have to worry about paying for multiple screening reports any longer.

California’s legislature has passed a new law clarifying the usage of reusable tenant screening reports (RTSRs), which will ease tenants’ financial burden in the rental application process.

Beginning January 1, 2023, Assembly Bill (AB) 2559 gives landlords the option of accepting RTSRs from prospective tenants. This lightens the high cost of multiple screening reports for tenants and saves landlords time processing each tenant applicant.

The RTSR is to be:

  • prepared within the previous 30 days by a consumer reporting agency;
  • made directly available to the landlord or available through a third-party website; and
  • available to the landlord at no cost or access to use.

RTSRs obtained from third-party websites will need to comply with all state and federal laws, including fair housing laws, pertaining to the use and disclosure of tenant information. By using a third-party who strictly adheres to regulations, the RTSRs reduce the risk of errors — saving a promising tenant from being rejected.

Previously, tenants were often unable to view the screening reports landlords use in selecting applicants, keeping them unaware of any errors. RTSRs alleviate this issue by allowing tenants to view the screening report before the rental application process, giving them the opportunity to fix any possible errors.

Additionally, RTSRs need to contain each tenant’s:

  • name;
  • contact information;
  • verification of employment;
  • last known address; and
  • results of an eviction history check.

The tenant needs to ensure no material changes have occurred in the information provided. Lastly, the landlord is prohibited from charging the tenant a screening fee for the landlord to access the report.

Though landlords are not obligated to accept RTSRs, they are highly encouraged. When a landlord does accept a RTSR, they will not be able to charge the applicant an additional screening fee.

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