Update: On Feb. 27th the bills did not make it out of the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing, and Insurance Committee. The bills are therefore (likely) dead.
The Problem: There have been reports of some consumers who have experienced delays in obtaining rental housing due to the costs associated with consumer reports obtained by property managers and landlords to qualify the consumer’s tenancy. The state of Washington’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA), which regulates the relationship between landlords and tenants, acknowledges that screening reports are an important part of this relationship. Further, the Washington State Legislature has “…found and declares comprehensive tenant screening reports are a necessary and fair solution for both applicants and landlords”. Despite the importance of these documents to all parties, legislation now pending in the Washington state legislature (H.B. 2537)) would both lower accuracy and increase the potential for fraud in these documents, exposing both landlords and the prospective tenants to incorrect housing decisions.