New Law Allows Better Access to Tenant Screening Reports

by Chris on July 11, 2011

Recognizing how important proper tenant screening is to landlords, the Wisconsin state legislature has paved the way for landlords there to have easier access to tenant screening information.

A number of local laws have impeded landlords in their efforts to investigate their tenants. But now, a new state-wide law prohibits any city, town, village or county from enforcing ordinances that:

Prohibit a landlord from obtaining or using various types of information about a tenant or prospective tenant, such as household income, occupation, court records, rental history, and credit information;

Limit how far back in time a prospective tenant’s credit information, conviction record, or previous housing may be considered by the landlord; or

Prohibit the landlord from showing a rental property to a prospective tenant, or from entering into a rental agreement for a rental property with a prospective tenant, while the current tenant is living there.

Specifically, the law makes it clear that landlords are free to obtain and use any of the following information with respect to a tenant or prospective tenant:

Monthly household income. 
Rental history. 
Credit information. 
Court records, including arrest and conviction records, to which there is public access. 
Social security number or other proof of identity.

The measure also prohibits any law which restricts a landlord from entering into a rental agreement for a premises with a prospective tenant during the tenancy of the current tenant of the premises.

State law currently limits applicant credit check fees, including a requirement that a landlord cannot charge a credit check fee if the tenant obtains their own credit report within the prior 30 days. Landlords who have difficulty verifying such a report can order a tenant credit report, but have to pay for it out-of-pocket.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Hausmann July 12, 2011 at 6:34 am

I’m showing an apartment now and thinking of re-activating my TVS account rather than just getting a credit report from my local guy. Can I forward you the tenant’s rental application? Do I understand that you are also able to pull the court records?

Mark Plunkett July 23, 2011 at 9:12 am

I have used TVS on occassion and have been very satisfied with their results. Their fees seemed reasonable for what I requested. As far as potential renters go, I request a fee for credit check up front. It comes with the understanding if they meet all requirements and I rent to them, a credit will be given toward their first months rent in the amount of the fee as asked for. It narrowed down potential renters but it those who know they won’t qualify, won’t waste your time – they don’t want to “lose” the fee you charge. (I rent out the other side of my duplex.)

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