If a landlord runs a background check on a tenant, is the tenant entitled to a copy of it?

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2011

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If a landlord runs a background check on a tenant, is the tenant entitled to a copy of it?

I paid a $40 deposit for some sort of background check and submitted it with the application to a real estate agent who in turn passed it to the company that will manage the property. I googled the management company and discovered dreadful reviews/reputation and withdrew the application. I requested a copy of the background check report which I was told the management firm had already received back. I was told it would be e-mailed to me and that I “passed” . Now the management company refuses to turn over the background report on me which I paid for claiming that the report is “private.” It’s my private information and there is no reason no to withhold it. Is this a scam?

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In some states (i.e. CA), if requested, an applicant must be shown a copy of their credit report, whether they are denied credit or not.  Additionally, a copy of the credit report must be provided to the applicant (unless they weren't charged a screening fee). If a landlord declines to rent to an applicant, they are entitled to a free credit report from the applicable credit reporting agency (e.g. Equifax, Experian, TransUnion).

To check the law in your area, contact a local tenant's rights organization, Legal Aid, or any local law school clinics that might be nearby.  You can also consult with a private attorney as to your rights in this situation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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