Posted by MikeW on April 19, 2001 at 10:27:12:
In Reply to: Re: They don't need to... posted by Ronin on April 18, 2001 at 21:46:15:
I've mixed my comments in below
: : if a LL has six applicants for every apartment, he may decide to reject any applicant who's been a party to any case in housing court, regardless of the resolution of the case.
: I would tend to disagree with you on that one. It may be that an applicant could sue you for discriminating against them on the basis that they enforced their rights under the law. It's been done in other areas of the law, even with the courts as pro-slumlord as they are, certain principles are universal.
It sounds like you're assuming I'm a landlord. I'm not. As to the point (LL's rejecting applicants because they went to court regardless of the outcome), this is a pretty long standing practice. If it were illegal, I would think some pissed off prospective renter would have hauled a LL into court about this. Since it still goes on pretty openly, I see no reason to assume it's illegal. The basic assumption is that a LL can reject an applicant for any reason they see fit, except for the usual issues of race, religion, national origin, gender, disability (since the ADA), and, in NYC only, sexual orientation. If the rejection is for any other basis, it is the LL's prerogitive.
: Nonetheless, you raise a point different from the one I am investigating. From what I understand, you are working from the perspective of a legal credit report* and the LL checking the court records himself. That is not what I am interested in. Reasonable people can disagree on your point, but it is not illegal on it's face. I'm talking about databases, blacklists. Even if they claim to hold public record information. And especially if they hold LL comments about a tenant.
An accumulation of public records is still a public record. Just because a private company sent it's people to the courthouses, recorded the information, posted it on a database, and charged for the convenience of using that service does not change the fact that it is still public data. A credit report is something different.
: Thanks for your feedback.
: *I am assuming here that the credit report is legally obtained with permission, and any denial is accompanied by the required "source of information" notice. Otherwise it is unlawful and worth lots of money to the tenant involved.
To the first point, most rental applications contain the language you are talking about. To the second point, you are incorrect. The legislation that governs the disclosure your talking about is probably the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is federal. It only covers the granting of credit. Since the LL is not extending (or not) the applicant credit, this act is inapplicable. The LL has no obligation to inform an applicant why they've been rejected. Only in court, under oath, would they have to.
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