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Can you email Adverse Action Notices?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Thu, Jun 19, 2014


You’ve received negative results on a background screening for a prospective tenant or employee, and now you’re wondering what you should do next. Can you simply move on to the next prospect, or are you legally bound to notify the individual in question before moving forward to other candidates?

Adverse action notices are necessary
Adverse action notices inform potential employees and tenants in the event that their application has been denied based upon the results of a consumer report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires notice be given to consumers any time a consumer report is used to deny an application.

If you plan on taking adverse action against an individual based upon a consumer report, you have the following obligations:

  • Send a pre-adverse action notice before any action is taken.
    • If you plan to take adverse action based on consumer report finding, you must send the tenant or employee a Pre-Adverse Action notice within 3 days of receiving the consumer report.
    • Though this notice is typically mailed, it may also be communicated verbally or by e-mail. Ultimately, it is best to refer to the individual’s application agreement – the agreement granting you the authority to pull the report – and contact each individual via their preferred communication method.
    • The pre-adverse action notice should include:
      • A copy of the consumer report.
      • The name, address, and phone number of the reporting agency.
      • A copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act Summary of Rights, which the reporting agency should have provided you.
      • Your contact information should they wish to dispute the findings.
  • Send an adverse action notice 5 days (or more) following the pre-adverse action notification, after action is taken:
    • The adverse action notice should include:
      • The name, address, and phone number of the reporting agency you utilized.
      • A statement that the reporting agency did not make the adverse decision, and can’t explain why the decision was made.
      • Notice of the individual’s right to a free copy of their report from the screening agency within 60 days.
      • Notice to the individual of their right to dispute the accuracy of the report.
      • The individual’s credit score if the score was used.

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Topics: Tenant Background Screening, Employment Background Screening, FCRA Compliance