If you’re a tenant, it’s hard to protect your privacy after you’ve rented from a landlord who wants to pass information along about you.
If you have a bad experience with a landlord that information may follow you to the next apartment that you try to rent.
Now there’s action that aims to protect tenants’ privacy. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned six websites that if they act like credit reporting bureaus and report financial information and activity, they have to follow the rules. The FTC sent letters informing the companies that they are obliged “…to protect the privacy of tenants whose information they collect, including ensuring that those requesting information about tenants have a legitimate reason to acquire it.”
The letter reminds the companies of their obligation to ensure that the information they provide is accurate, to give consumers a copy of the information about them on request, and to allow consumers to dispute information they believe is inaccurate.
The letters also note that the companies must notify landlords of their requirements if they use the data to deny housing to a tenant, and to notify the sources of their information of the requirement that they provide accurate information.”
The FTC says it didn’t determine whether any of the companies broke the law, but wants them to review their business practices.
The companies are: The BlueChip Group LLC (www.donotrentto.com), M & R Rental Properties (www.badtenantlistings.com), The Landlord Protection Agency (www.thelpa.com), National Tenant Network (ntnonline.com), 123 Rent Inc. (therentersblacklist.com), and Tenancy Bureau Inc. (www.tenancybureau.us).