Overview

If false information in a background report or tenant screening report has cost you to lose out on housing, vacation rentals, employment, or other opportunities, you know how crucial these reports are. Errors in background reports can cause a landlord to deny your application. Lawyers suing background report and or tenant screening report companies act as the gatekeepers between consumers and the data industry.

Fix Inaccurate, Misleading, and False Information in a Background Report with a Skilled Lawyer

The lawyers at Berger Montague are experts in correcting false information in background reports and securing compensation for you. Schedule a Free Consultation with Berger Montague now.

What is a Tenant Background Report?

When you apply for housing or a vacation rental, landlords often obtain a background report on you. Landlords and vacation rental companies use these reports to help evaluate whether they want to rent to potential tenants. The background reports can include your credit profile, criminal record, driving record, employment history, and education credentials. Landlords and vacation rental companies like AirBNB and VRBO hire companies to run these background reports for them, meaning they aren’t usually liable for errors. However, they must notify you of these checks and obtain your consent.

Reports often include any criminal records, driving records, phone and address records, employment history, education, and sometimes credit information. When errors occur, they can derail plans quickly, causing your application for a new apartment or other rental to be rejected, denied, or delayed.

How are Tenant Background Reports Compiled?

Background check reports are compiled by companies called consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that gather data from various sources, like credit card companies and municipal records, and then put that information together into a report. Errors occur when these companies include information belonging to someone else in your report, mix up family members, report criminal records that have been expunged, report crimes as felonies when they are actually misdemeanors,or report someone as a sex offender when they are not, among other mistakes. Errors are common due to the vast amount of consumer data and lack of thorough review by background report companies.

The law requires background report companies to use maximum possible accuracy when compiling reports. Errors in a background report may violate your rights. 

How do Bad Background Reports Affect Prospective Tenants?

Background report errors can significantly impact a person’s ability to secure housing. Landlords and vacation rentals often rely on background checks to assess the suitability of potential tenants. These checks can include credit profiles, criminal records, and rental histories. If there is inaccurate or false information in your tenant background report, such as incorrect criminal records or erroneous eviction histories, landlords may see you as a high-risk applicant. This can lead to your rental application being rejected, leaving you without a place to live. Landlords can also request that you provide further information or correct the errors in the report, potential delaying your move-in date. Correcting errors in reports often requires a lengthy and stressful process.

Furthermore, the consequences of these errors extend beyond just the initial housing denial. Tenants may face prolonged periods of instability as they struggle to find alternative housing. This can result in financial strain due to the costs associated with temporary accommodations and repeated application fees for multiple rental properties. Additionally, the emotional toll of being unfairly labeled can be significant, causing stress and anxiety. By addressing and correcting background check errors promptly with the help of a skilled attorney, tenants can restore their reputations and improve their chances of securing stable housing.

Fixing Tenant Background Report Errors

If you find errors in your background report, you should:

  1. Contact a Background Check Lawyer: If you have had a rental application denied, had your move-in date delayed, or have been humiliated because of an inaccurate background report, you should promptly reach out to a background report attorney for guidance. They can guide you through the process and help you understand your legal options. Schedule a Free Consultation with Berger Montague now. 
  2. Review Your Background Check Report for Errors: You are entitled to a copy of your background report. Carefully examine your background check report for any inaccuracies, misleading information, or false information. Note any errors you find, as these will be critical for your dispute.
  3. Dispute the Errors with the Company that Compiled the Report: File a dispute with the consumer reporting agency (CRA) that provided the erroneous report to your potential landlord, preferably via certified mail. Keep copies of all correspondence.
  4. Contact a Lawyer: If the background report company does not respond to you or does not fix the inaccurate information, they may have violated the law. Contact an attorney to help you navigate the dispute process effectively and protect your rights. 

Berger Montague provides free consultations, and you won’t pay out-of-pocket fees if we represent you. We don’t get paid unless we secure compensation for you. Schedule a Free Consultation with Berger Montague now.

Errors Our Attorneys Can Help With

Our attorneys can assist with various background check errors, such as:

  • Data about a different person.
  • Inclusion of sealed or expunged records.
  • Misclassified criminal offenses (e.g., a misdemeanor being reported as a felony).
  • Being wrongly identified as a sex offender.
  • Being wrongly identified as a person on the OFAC list (a list of people U.S. companies cannot do business with). 

What Do Tenant Background Report Attorneys Do?

  1. Know Consumer Rights Laws: Background check attorneys are well-versed in consumer protection laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other relevant statutes. A skilled attorney will understand how to leverage these laws to defend your rights.
  2. Guide You Through the Dispute Process: They provide step-by-step guidance on how to dispute errors in your background check report, ensuring you follow the correct procedures. Attorneys will also advise you on whether it makes sense to pursue compensation with a lawsuit and which companies could be liable.
  3. Advise on How to Protect Your Rights: Protecting your rights involves more than just disputing errors. Attorneys advise you on best practices, such as how to understand your background report, understanding your rights under the FCRA, and knowing how to respond to the landlord when errors are found. 
  4. File Lawsuits if Necessary: If you have been harmed, emotionally or financially, or your rights have been violated, attorneys can file lawsuits against the responsible parties to ensure your rights are upheld.
  5. Seek Compensation for Financial and Emotional Harm: Lawyers strive to get you compensatory and punitive damages for any financial losses or emotional distress caused by inaccurate background check reports.

When to Contact a Lawyer

Contact a background report lawyer if your rental application has been denied, your move-in date has been delayed, or you have experienced emotional distress as a result of false information in your background report. If errors need to be corrected, contact an attorney to guide you through the process. Lawyers can help you navigate the dispute process and determine if you may be entitled to compensation. Schedule a Free Consultation with Berger Montague now.

Trust Our Background Check Attorneys

With over fifty years of experience and offices throughout the country, Berger Montague’s attorneys are experts in handling background report disputes. We help you defend against inaccuracies and seek the compensation you deserve.

Contact Us

If you need a background check lawyer, reach out to Berger Montague. We’re here to help you restore your reputation and secure your future opportunities.

FAQs on Background Check Errors

What should I do if I find an error in my background check?
Contact a background check lawyer immediately to discuss your situation. They can guide you through the process of disputing the incorrect information.

How do I dispute errors in my background check report?
File a dispute with the company that issued the report, preferably by mail. If you do not hear back, contact an attorney.

Can I fix a background check error on my own?
Yes, you can dispute errors on your own, but having a lawyer can make the process more efficient and effective. Lawyers know the laws and procedures to protect your rights.

How long does it take to correct a background check error?
The background report company typically has 30 days to investigate and respond to your dispute. However, the process can take longer if additional information is needed.

What kind of compensation can I get for background check errors?
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you may be entitled to compensatory damages for financial losses and emotional distress. You may also receive punitive damages and have your attorneys’ fees paid for.

Can I sue the background check company for errors?
Yes, if the company failed to use maximum possible accuracy when issuing a report on you, or failed to correct false information after you dispute it, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. A lawyer can help you navigate this process.

What information is included in a background report?
A background report (also called a background check) is a comprehensive profile of a person, which may include credit history, criminal records, driving records, employment history, and education credentials. The specific data included depends on the purpose of the check. These checks are often used to assess a person’s suitability for employment, housing, or other opportunities.

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