Although the California State legislature has tried to protect renters from the dissemination of unlawful detainer information to consumer credit reporting agencies, the legislature’s efforts have not been entirely successful because of the credit reporting agencies’ First Amendment rights.
Accordingly, in California, landlords can access a potential tenant’s credit report to determine whether the tenant has a history of unlawful detainer actions. If the landlord then refuses to rent to the tenant based on the information in the tenant’s credit report, the landlord must, pursuant to Civil Code section 1785.20, provide the tenant with the following:
(1) Written notice of the adverse action to the consumer.
(2) The name, address, and telephone number of the consumer credit reporting agency which furnished the report to the person
(3) A statement that the credit grantor’s decision to take advise action was base in whole o run part upon information contain in a consumer credit report
(4) Written notice of the following rights of the consumer:
(A) The right of the consumer to obtain within 60 days a free copy of the consumer’s consumer credit report from the consumer credit reporting agency identified pursuant to paragraph (2) and from any other consumer credit reporting agency which compiles and maintains files on consumers on a nationwide basis.
(B) The right of the consumer under Section 1785.16 to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in a consumer credit report furnished by the consumer credit reporting agency.
Thus, in California, any defendant in an unlawful detainer action should consider the negative effect on their credit report that an unlawful detainer judgment can have against them. Accordingly, it is important to protect your rights and competently defend the unlawful detainer action so as not to have the unlawful detainer judgment haunt you for years to come. And, a good attorney will be able to shield a tenant’s credit from reporting of the unlawful detainer through an effective settlement agreement. In Los Angeles, many judges routinely allow an unlawful detainer settlement to be sealed so as not to affect the tenant’s credit rating.
Finally, according to Civil Code section 1785.20, the landlord will not be penalized for failing to comply with this section if “he or she maintained reasonable procedures to assure compliance with this section.”
For more information on your unlawful detainer or for help avoiding the negative credit rating, contact Schorr Law, APC, www.schorr-law.com, 310-954-1877, email@example.com