Amid soon-expiring COVID-19 pandemic-related protections for renters, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on Thursday issued a compliance bulletin reminding landlords, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), and others of their obligations to accurately report rental and eviction information.
The CFPB noted in an email Thursday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had extended federal eviction protections implemented during the pandemic through July. Shortly after, it issued Bulletin 2021-03, “Consumer Reporting of Rental Information,” which states that the bureau will be “paying particular attention” to CRAs’ and information furnishers’ compliance with accuracy and dispute obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Regulation V with respect to rental information, as follows:
For CRAs reporting rental income:
- Whether CRAs are reporting accurate rental information.
- Whether CRAs are using a sufficient number of identifiers to match consumer report information to the consumer who is the subject of the report, including whether CRAs are using name-matching procedures or limited identifiers likely to heighten the risk of inaccurate matching.
- Whether CRAs are reporting eviction information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading (such as may result from a failure to have reasonable procedures to report information about the disposition of an eviction filing, to prevent the inclusion of multiple entries for the same eviction action in the same consumer report, or to prevent the inclusion of eviction information that has been sealed or expunged).
- Whether CRAs are complying with their obligations to investigate disputed information in a consumer report, including whether they are conducting timely and reasonable investigations.
For furnishers providing rental information:
- Whether furnishers are providing accurate rental information to CRAs.
- Whether furnishers are providing information about rental arrearages that include amounts that were already paid on behalf of a tenant through a government grant or relief program, such as the Emergency Rental Assistance programs.
- Whether furnishers are providing information about rental arrearages that include fees or penalties that CARES Act section 4024(b) or other laws prohibit charging.
- Whether furnishers are complying with their obligations to investigate disputed information in a consumer report, including whether they are conducting timely and reasonable investigations.
“The Bureau will hold CRAs and furnishers accountable for failing to comply with the FCRA and Regulation V,” the CFPB wrote. “The economic recovery of renters and their ability to secure new rental housing should not be impeded by noncompliance with the law.”
The bulletin takes effect upon its publication in the Federal Register.
CFPB Bulletin 2021-03 (notice for Federal Register)