RealPage Tenant Screening Report Errors

  • RealPage Tenant Screening Report Errors
03 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
12 min
302
man crying over his realpage background check

If Mistakes in a RealPage Tenant Background Check Got You Rejected, You Need Our Help!

Denied a rental or lease opportunity due to mistakes in your RealPage (LeasingDesk) tenant screening background check report? Know what to do next! These unfair and unjust rejections are all too common and have a devasting impact on your mental, emotional, and financial health. Empower yourself with knowledge, learn your rights, and fight back!

Quick Answers

If you’ve been on the other end of a RealPage or LeasingDesk tenant screening report gone wrong, then you know firsthand the kind of toll it can take on your mental, emotional, and financial health. Having your housing application rejected is one thing, but having your housing application rejected because of inaccurate, misleading, or false information in your tenant screening report turns an admittedly unpleasant situation into a fully unjust, unfair, and life-altering one.

In dealing with a company the sheer size and scope of RealPage, the consequences of reporting errors are also frequently not limited to a single, isolated harm. In fact, the opposite is true. As a massive entity with a global presence, boasting 24 million+ units in its client base, when RealPage gets it wrong about you, the impact can be far-reaching.

With seventy-five years of combined experience, the team of lawyers at Consumer Attorneys has built a nationwide consumer protection practice, helping people like you fight their way back from reporting errors in tenant background check reports from RealPage and similar companies. For better or worse, we’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to the types of errors that get reported or the types of consequences consumers face as a result.

Our mission with every client is to navigate the legal landscape, utilizing the full extent of the resources available to fight back against RealPage and rebalance the power dynamic that exists between the average person and the outsized corporate entities that impact nearly every aspect of your life.

My knowledge as an advocate and litigator is here to help you make the best decisions you can when faced with RealPage tenant screening report errors. So, keep reading to learn everything you need to know to understand the RealPage company and process, how these errors happen, how to dispute and challenge them, which companies use RealPage and why, what to do when you need help, and why a lawyer, like those at Consumer Attorneys, can be your very best asset for self-protection and resolution.

About the RealPage Company

RealPage is a cloud-based property management platform offering landlords and property management companies various services in the rental market industry, one of which is rental screenings. The latter piece of the RealPage business utilizes a software platform called LeasingDesk and is also sometimes referred to as RealPage Screening Solutions (and also sometimes missed typed as “real page background check.” So, whether you spell it correctly or you’re looking for information about RealPage, RealPage Screening Solutions, or LeasingDesk tenant screening reports, it’s the same company and you’re in the right place.

Interestingly, RealPage sells itself as a standout force in the rental screening market, claiming to be the industry’s first “AI-enabled scoring model,” which purports to apply AI to consumer data to generate a score that captures an applicant’s “willingness to pay.” If this sounds problematic to you, we feel the same way.

How Long Does a Background Check from RealPage Take?

Though RealPage doesn’t offer specific turnaround times for background screenings, the industry norm is one to several days. However, as with any area of the consumer data industry, it is possible for a screening to take longer than several days. For instance, when an applicant has an exceptionally common name, greater care should be taken in differentiating data to confirm that any data going into a screening report is attributed to the right person.

What Information Does RealPage Provide in Their Background Checks?

The RealPage screening model pools and assesses applicant data related to criminal history, credit profile, rental history, and identity and income verification.

RealPage Criminal Background Check

The RealPage criminal background check offers a customizable report based on criteria determined by the landlord or property management company. For instance, it can search national, state, and local databases, including sex offender registries, depending on the needs of the client.

In addition, RealPage offers what it calls “Premium Criminal Classification,” which categorizes reported crimes by type, severity, age, and other criteria, depending on how the client values these criteria for its overall assessment.

RealPage Background Checks for Rental Property

The non-criminal component of the RealPage background check involves a deep dive into an applicant’s credit profile through reliance on data from the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). It also draws in data from other sources to assess rental history and complete identity and income verification. Prior missed payments, evictions, and other relevant financial and rental-related data are included.

What Are Your Rights Regarding a Background Check?

When it comes to the production of tenant screening reports, your rights are shaped by important regulations at the state and federal levels. Under federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) impacts all aspects of the collection, processing, and reporting of the data that goes into generating tenant background check reports. When your rights are violated by reporting errors, it is usually the FCRA, along with comparable and complementary state laws, that is triggered.

RealPage is a Consumer Reporting Agency

Under the FCRA, companies like RealPage are known as Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) because they generate reports that rely on the gathering, sorting, and reporting of consumer data. They do this by buying data about consumers from other companies. The companies that sell the data are called data furnishers because they supply or furnish the data. Data furnishers are the companies you have direct relationships with, like credit card companies, service providers, banks and lenders, mortgage and auto financers, and others.

CRAs like RealPage also buy data from third-party companies (ones you don’t have a direct relationship with). These third-party companies scan federal, state, and county databases of all kinds to gather data and sell it to CRAs and others. For instance, for RealPage tenant screening reports, these third-party companies scan and sell data from criminal records databases and sex offender registries, among others.

Your Rights and RealPage’s Obligations Under the FCRA

If you find errors in your RealPage or LeasingDesk background screening, know that you have basic rights under the FCRA, which will protect you. In addition, your rights are matched by a corollary legal obligation for RealPage (or the landlord or property management company).

  1. Consent. Your express and informed consent must be obtained before RealPage can run a background check on you.

    RealPage is obligated to obtain this express consent.

  2. Accuracy. RealPage is expected to report accurate information. This includes a prohibition against blatantly false information but also against any softly inaccurate or generally misleading information. It can also include a prohibition against reporting factually accurate information that should not have been reported due to state law restrictions (such as time-barred information).

    RealPage has to use “reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy” in its background check reports.

  3. Review. You have the right to receive and review a copy of your screening report. Frequently, during the screening process, you are offered the choice to select receipt of a copy upon completion. If not, you have the right to request and receive one after the fact.

    RealPage is legally obligated to provide you with a mechanism for requesting a copy of your report.

  4. Informed Rejection. If any information in your RealPage screening is used to make an adverse decision against you (i.e., to reject your application), you have the right to know which specific information was relied on in making that decision.

    RealPage is not responsible for providing this information since it is not the decision-maker but rather a facilitator of information that helps the decision-maker. So, the legal obligation here falls on your landlord or property management company, which must provide you with this specific information regarding its decision.

  5. Free Credit Review. You have a right to review your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) annually, without cost to you. We recommend thoroughly reviewing each report to look for errors annually, especially if you are faced with errors in a tenant screening report or similar. There are three ways to request a copy: online at annualcreditreport.com, by phone at 877-322-8228, or by mailing a request form, which can be printed at annualcreditreport.com. Online requests should only be made through the above government-verified site.

    RealPage does not have to provide you with copies of your credit reports since that is an obligation that falls on the credit bureaus.

  6. Dispute. You have a right to dispute data errors in your tenant screening report, including information that is inaccurate, misleading, or non-reportable, not just information that is clearly false.

    RealPage must provide a process for you to dispute data errors, which it does. See below for more information about what to watch out for. In addition, once you begin the dispute process, RealPage is legally obligated to investigate the accuracy of the data in question, adhering to statutory time limits for its investigation and response.

  7. File a lawsuit. The FCRA empowers you to file a lawsuit against RealPage for violating your rights. Through a lawsuit, you are entitled to seek correction of all erroneous information and compensation for any financial, emotional, or other harm you sustained as a result.

    When you win your lawsuit, RealPage is obligated to correct the errors, pay you agreed-upon or court-ordered compensation, and pay for your legal fees and costs.

    At Consumer Attorneys, we also offer 100% free legal consultations, so if you call to speak with us, you won’t pay anything out-of-pocket to discuss your rental rejection due to data errors. We’ll help you determine if you need a lawyer and what to do next.

Which Companies Use RealPage for Background Checks?

RealPage does not publish specific information regarding which companies use its LeasingDesk services for rental background screenings. However, with offices in North America, Europe, and Asia and a portfolio covering 24 million+ units worldwide, it’s safe to say that its reach in the rental market is broad.

What Types of Background Checks Are They Using RealPage for?

Any companies that contract with RealPage for its LeasingDesk services are looking for tenant screening reports that claim to predict the likelihood of a particular applicant successfully completing a lease. These reports are typically determinative, meaning that landlords and property management companies base their final decisions about a particular applicant on the information included in the report.

Can Errors Occur in Background Checks from RealPage?

Yes, absolutely. Every single day, consumers are impacted by data reporting errors in the tenant screening market, including RealPage tenant background check reports.

What Causes Errors in Background Checks?

The volume and breadth of the data processed to generate these tenant screening reports causes errors. Algorithms working with massive quantities of data attempt to quickly generate reports, which creates opportunities for error.

But a more precise answer is that the protocols and processes utilized by CRAs like RealPage favor optimal profit over optimal accuracy, and most of the data errors (though technically caused by algorithms in an endless sea of data) are ultimately the result of lack of sufficient review, discernment, and human input.

Some of the common sources of errors that should be identified and corrected before reporting include:

  • Data Entry Errors. These errors occur when information is input into a database. Mistakes include incorrect dates, birthdates, misspellings, etc. These typically happen at the data furnisher level before making their way into a report. For instance, someone entering your personal data into an internal system at a credit card company may input data incorrectly.

    However, no matter where the data error originates, the FCRA obligates RealPage to ensure accuracy in its reporting. So, RealPage is expected to use due diligence in identifying errors and is liable for reporting them.

  • Mixed or Co-Mingled Files. These errors occur when information from unaffiliated individuals is co-mingled into a single report. This frequently results from similarities among consumers (like names, birthdates, etc.) that could easily be distinguished through human oversight and review but aren’t.
  • Identity Theft. Identity theft (unauthorized access to another’s info) and identity fraud (unauthorized use of another’s info) can cause all kinds of problems for people, including false criminal and credit data.
  • Failure to Update. This error typically impacts criminal records. For instance, when certain convictions are expunged (erased) after a period of time, municipal systems update their records to reflect this, but if RealPage fails to update its system regularly, these updates aren’t picked up in the data collection process.

Main types of Errors

The main types of errors that you’ll encounter are:

  • Transposition of digits in a Social Security Number
  • Wrong or incomplete information in original documents
  • Incorrect criminal records
  • Outdated information (e.g., expunged convictions that were not updated)
  • Mistaken identity resulting in unaffiliated criminal records being associated with the wrong person
  • Information from Identity theft and fraud scenarios that are reported as accurate.
  • Information from someone else in your report (including criminal, credit, financial, employment, housing, etc.).

How Often Do Errors Occur In Background Checks from RealPage?

RealPage doesn’t provide specific data about the frequency of errors in tenant screening reports, but recent research estimates that up to one-third of consumers experience errors in their consumer data reports (credit reports, pre-employment screenings, tenant screenings, etc.). These types of data reporting errors are very common.

What are the Consequences of Having Errors in Your Background Check Report?

RealPage background check mistakes result in unjust and unfair housing decisions.

In addition, because of the enormous amount of landlords and property management companies using products from RealPage, errors in your background screening can disrupt your ability to find rental accommodations broadly, not just with respect to a single opportunity.

Ultimately, this can lead to prolonged and distressing mental, emotional, and financial damages.

You Can Contact RealPage to Correct Errors in A Tenant Report

Contacting RealPage about correcting errors in your background report requires following the procedures for filing a RealPage dispute. On the RealPage website, you are invited to dispute data via a Consumer Dispute Form (an online dispute platform) or via fax or mail to the address for LeasingDesk Screening.

We recommend filing your RealPage background check dispute and sending all required documentation via certified mail. Use of online dispute platforms frequently requires waiving your right to pursue a lawsuit against RealPage (LeasingDesk) for any of the consequences stemming from erroneous reporting. Through our years of practice experience and working with thousands of clients on reporting errors, we know that simply providing a dispute platform does not guarantee that the dispute will be adequately investigated or the information will be corrected.

On the contrary, frequently, companies like RealPage conduct shoddy investigations that essentially rely on confirming the same erroneous information. Consumers find themselves trapped in a loop in which the mere existence of the wrongful data is considered self-confirming. RealPage can check the box next to its obligation to investigate but not actually have resolved anything. Lawsuits in these cases are necessary to spur genuine investigations and error corrections and get compensation.

What to do if You Do Not Receive Answers to Your Questions on the Background Report

Under the FCRA, RealPage (LeasingDesk) has 30 days to respond to your dispute. (There are some exceptions to this that extend the time, but for the most part, this is true.) If 30 days have passed and you haven’t received a response from RealPage or LeasingDesk, you should contact Consumer Attorneys to discuss the next steps.

You Can Sue RealPage if Your Report Contains Errors

As discussed above, you have the right to file a RealPage lawsuit if errors are reported in your tenant background screening and you have sustained financial or emotional harm as a result.

The reporting of certain errors (such as accidentally reporting a person as deceased) can warrant a lawsuit regardless of whether you’ve been harmed as a result. But for the most part, you need to have suffered damages before pursuing compensation.

Who Can Help You Fix Errors in a RealPage Background Check Report?

When you’re harmed by inaccurate, misleading, or false information in a RealPage tenant background check report, you need to work with a consumer protection attorney to learn what your rights are, how to enforce them, and how to sue RealPage for compensation.

At Consumer Attorneys, our nationwide team of attorneys are highly experienced, knowledgeable, and empathetic. As litigators and consumer advocates, we genuinely care about the power dynamics that shape this area of the law and take tremendous pride in being able to help our clients get back to being whole again.

Lawsuits Against RealPage

Lawsuits against RealPage for screening errors can revolve around RealPage, Inc. credit checks and eviction histories, though they tend to be heavily centered on the misreporting of RealPage criminal background check data. It isn’t hard to imagine why this is. After all, most landlords and property management companies put a lot of weight on an applicant’s criminal history when deciding which candidates will make the best tenants at their rental properties.

Also, not only is this category of information important to landlords and property management companies, but the reporting of this data is also frequently regulated through state laws. This means that there are also numerous ways that RealPage can bump up against the law on how criminal reporting is handled.

Importantly, if you do bring a lawsuit against RealPage and win, the FRCA requires RealPage to pay for your legal costs and fees. So, you pay nothing out of pocket to bring the lawsuit.

False Criminal Record

When our client, Amos, applied for a rental, he expected the process to move smoothly since there was nothing in his background or credit history that would disqualify him or raise any red flags. He was totally blindsided when his rental application was denied due to prior criminal convictions that weren’t his but were reported in his RealPage tenant screening background check! Though he shared a middle and last name with the person who actually committed the crimes, there was an abundance of data available to quickly and easily distinguish his records from those of the other person. However, RealPage failed to implement adequate protocols to ensure accuracy in its reporting, and as a result, Amos suffered housing rejection, reputational harm, and emotional and mental trauma. We filed a lawsuit on his behalf and won, restoring his reputation and getting him back to whole!

Inaccurate Criminal Record

When our client, Carnell, was looking for housing, he was well aware that he had a prior conviction on his record, but he wasn’t concerned about it impeding his rental prospects since it occurred nearly thirty years prior. Carnell’s application was approved pending a RealPage tenant background screening but was ultimately denied because the report incorrectly stated that this conviction happened only a few years prior to his rental application. The date of the conviction had been mixed up with the date of a subsequent administrative parole issue. The failure to accurately report Carnell’s criminal history was a clear violation of RealPage’s obligations under the FCRA. We worked on his behalf to protect his right to accurate information, an adequate investigation, and error correction. We won a sizeable settlement for Carnell that helped get him back on his feet again.

Ask for Our Help Now

With no out-of-pocket cost to you, there is nothing to lose in discussing your RealPage tenant check reporting error with one of our skilled consumer protection lawyers today!

There are several ways to reach us: call (+1 877-615-1725), email (info@consumerattorneys.com), fill out the online intake form, or use the virtual chat option to speak with us now.

From coast to coast, we’re always right where you need us to be. Call now!

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Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is a Founding Partner of Consumer Attorneys and a co-chair of Consumer Finance Litigation practice. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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