Renters vs. robots: A flawed screening process is thwarting tenants

Errors in automated background checks are flagging tenants for crimes they didn’t commit.


May 29, 2020

Getting locked out sucks, especially when you didn’t even forget your keys.

According to The Markup and The New York Times, more renters are falling victim to faulty background checks that keep them from getting in the door in the first place.

What’s to blame? A lax screening process, relying on automated tools that erroneously flag would-be tenants. And you thought your relationship with your landlord was bad.

Your doppelganger might have a long rap sheet

In one survey, landlords cited troublesome tenants as their top concern, and 9 out of 10 said they run checks (of the criminal background and credit variety) on all applicants.

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Screening companies prospered and multiplied thanks to growth in the rental industry, but proper regulations have yet to catch up.

Automated checks are churning out errors, from mistaken drug-trafficking charges to evictions that never happened.

Big Brother is just making stuff up at this point

Screening companies don’t have to register with any government agency, and the reports typically aren’t checked by a real-life human to prevent obvious mistakes. Maybe this is Wall-E’s revenge for leaving him in that trash heap.

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