When you apply to be a tenant at a new apartment or home, you expect everything to go smoothly. Indeed, many landlords submit tenant applications to third-party screening agencies like TransUnion SmartMove and receive accurate, actionable information.
From time to time, however, you might find that you’ve been the victim of a TransUnion SmartMove tenant screening error. Tenant screening errors can compromise your housing opportunities and make it difficult to find a place to live. Let’s take a look at what to do if you encounter a tenant screening error from TransUnion SmartMove and how Fair Credit can help.
SmartMove is a subsidiary service of TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions, Inc., or TRSSI. TRSSI, meanwhile, is also a subsidiary company of TransUnion: one of the big three credit bureaus and a major force in the credit checking and background screening industries.
In a nutshell, SmartMove provides all of the background check services and tenant screening services associated with TransUnion to small businesses, landlords, homeowners, and many others. It enables resident screen reports to be delivered in just a few minutes, and it’s totally paperless and 100% online (so it’s a little better for the environment).
At the time of this writing, SmartMove provides tenant screening reports straight from TransUnion’s extensive credit information databases. It also checks over 200 million criminal records from state and national databases. Thus, it’s a popular tool for landlords who want to make sure that they only accept tenants with sterling financial or other histories.
SmartMove screening errors are mistakes that the organization makes when checking a potential tenant’s financial, criminal, or other background information.
For example, SmartMove might report that a prospective tenant for a new apartment has a criminal history and was convicted of car theft five years prior. The tenant is surprised; they know that they were never convicted of such a crime. But because the landlord doesn’t know this fact, they take it as truth and use it as a reason to deny the tenant the housing opportunity.
This is just one potential instance of how a TransUnion SmartMove screening error can negatively affect your house hunt or search for a good apartment. Other possible SmartMove screening errors include:
Any kind of SmartMove screening error can be disastrous, especially if you are applying for a competitive apartment or housing opportunity. Even one mistake can cause you to be passed over in favor of another tenant or applicant.
TransUnion SmartMove any mistakes can occur for any number of reasons.
For instance, the software might glitch out, transposing a letter or number or reporting inaccurate information because of a bug in the software. Alternatively, human error can come into play. A worker for SmartMove might accidentally use the wrong Social Security number or use the wrong middle name when compiling your background report information. When they are finished, they report the wrong info to the landlord to which you are applying for an apartment.
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter why exactly the SmartMove screening mistake occurred. Under the terms outlined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), landlords, homeowners, employers, and other organizations must only use accurate, up-to-date background information when making housing or employment decisions.
Therefore, if you think your apartment or housing application has been compromised because of a screening mistake, you have the right to dispute that information and correct it at the earliest opportunity.
Fortunately, TransUnion has a straightforward process if you wish to report screening errors and get the issue resolved promptly. Let’s take a look at this process step-by-step, plus go over how knowledgeable attorneys can assist.
First and foremost, take a close look at your SmartMove screening report (which you should have received if you are denied housing or the landlord is thinking about denying you housing in the form of an adverse action or pre-adverse action letter, respectively).
Why? Simply put, if SmartMove already made one mistake, what are the odds that it made another one somewhere else on your tenant screening report? In many cases, the odds are pretty high, especially if the initial error is very significant or affects all the report’s information (like confusing your name with that of another person).
As you uncover additional errors from SmartMove or any other screening company, be sure to record them or write them down. This will make it easier for you to reference those errors when you file your dispute with SmartMove.
Note that this process can take a little while, which is why it’s important to inform a landlord or homeowner about the error. Tell them that you think the background screening report is inaccurate in one or more ways, pointing out the red flags they may have noticed and that may have caused them to retract a housing offer.
Some landlords won’t listen and will offer the housing opportunity to someone else. But others may be willing to cut you a little slack and give you a few weeks of breathing room before moving on to a different potential tenant.
SmartMove (through TransUnion) allows you to file a dispute with them in one of three ways:
The first option is by far the best choice. The sooner SmartMove gets the erroneous information report, the sooner it can correct it. Remember, under the terms of the FCRA, SmartMove has 30 business days to find and resolve erroneous information upon receiving your dispute letter. The sooner SmartMove gets that information, the sooner you can move on with your life.
In most cases, SmartMove will identify the inaccurate information and move to fix it at the earliest potential chance. Then, SmartMove will inform your landlord, homeowner, or other organization you were speaking to and fess up to the mistake. In the best-case scenario, you may still qualify for an apartment, home, or other opportunity.
Sometimes, background screening agencies and organizations like SmartMove refuse to correct erroneous information, or they may refuse to begin an investigation whatsoever. When that happens, your best bet is to contact knowledgeable legal experts like Fair Credit.
The right attorneys can break down your legal options and help you decide the best path for your family based on things like your budget, your current housing situation, etc.
Fair Credit’s experienced attorneys can help you in more than one way.
For starters, we can help you gather evidence for your initial dispute letter and for any other future lawsuit or legal action you choose to pursue. The more evidence you have, the better the odds are of you seeing a positive outcome, like a fixed background screening report, another chance to apply for a great house or apartment, and more.
Furthermore, our legal experts can tell you whether a lawsuit is a good idea based on things like cost, available evidence, and similar factors. Other legal recourse options, like arbitration, might be better, but with attorneys, you’ll be able to pick the ideal course of action.
If things do go to court, you can rest assured that your attorneys will go to bat for you and represent you successfully. Court can be stressful for anyone, but your attorneys can coach you on what to say and how to say it, as well as represent you on your behalf. This is also true for arbitration meetings, which may have a similar outcome to a court case in a shorter timeframe.
But wait – what about payment? Fair Credit’s attorneys won't charge you a dime unless they secure compensation for you through a lawsuit or the rest of their efforts. That's because we don't believe you should have to pay exorbitant fees just to exercise your rights under the FCRA.
If we win a lawsuit for you, for example, and you recover $1000 and more, we’ll take a small commission. But if we don’t win, or if we don’t cause a successful outcome for your tenant screening dispute, you don’t have to pay us a penny. Therefore, don’t worry about contacting attorneys and affording their expertise.
At the end of the day, you don’t deserve to go through this difficult process alone. Fair Credit’s knowledgeable legal experts are standing by and are waiting to receive your call. When you contact us, we’ll help you determine the best path going forward for your needs.