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Federal legislation aimed at helping tenants regarding credit scores

Friday, August 5, 2016

Approximately 45 million people in the U.S. have an insufficient or no credit history with which to establish a credit score according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Without a credit history, many landlords will not rent to tenants at all, and tenants confront other problems associated with a lack of credit history or an inaccurate credit score.  Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)  and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) have introduced bipartisan legislation -- H.R. 4172, the “Credit Accuracy and Inclusion Act” -- to tackle these problems. This legislation was referred to the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). If H.R. 4172 becomes law, it will amend the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to permit non-financial / non-lender service providers - such as telephone, cable, wireless, electric and gas firms as well as landlords - to report their customers’ on-time payments to Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs). It also makes it easier for residents of public and assisted housing to have their on-time payments reported. Currently CRAs mostly receive late payment data. Regulatory uncertainty has limited the willingness of firms to report on time payments so this bill clarifies that there is nothing in federal law prohibiting the reporting of on-time rental payment data.

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