Privacy Protection For Tenants

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).    

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.

One thought on “Privacy Protection For Tenants”

  1. As Chicago tenant advocate, I can tell you there are several obstacles for poor people in finding adequate housing. The most important one is the cost, a decrease in number of units low-income people can afford. There has been decrease in public housing units resulting from demolition of CHA high rise buildings. Giving displaced CHA tenants Section 8 vouchers, without adequate numbers of landlords willing to rent to Section 8 tenants, means many had to leave town–which I believe to be one of the city’s objectives. Most poor people have spotty work and credit histories, and many have been legally evicted before, and/or criminal records. If people with that type of record become ineligible to rent, where will they live?

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