Governor Newsom Signs Bill to Standardize Reusable Screening Reports for Rental Applications

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Renters in California often have to pay an application fee ranging from $25 to $55 per adult for credit checks, employment verifications and criminal background reports each time they apply to lease an apartment or home. These fees can add up to several hundreds of dollars before a prospective tenant even gets approved to move into a new residence. To help reduce this cost burden, Governor Newsom signed AB 2559 by Assemblymember Chris Ward into law to standardize reusable screening reports for rental applications. 

“Renters are facing one of the most competitive markets in decades with limited availability and yearly rent increases,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “I am ecstatic Governor Newsom signed AB 2559 into law giving renters and landlords the option to use a secure reusable screening report for multiple rental applications within a 30-day window.”

AB 2559 will standardize reusable screening reports in California and allow landlords who wish to accept the reports to receive them from a third-party company that provides the service. The reusable screening reports would include name, contact information, eviction history, employment, rental history, and last known address. The tenant is not able to tamper with the report contents, but does have the opportunity to review the report for accuracy and dispute any errors with the tenant screening company. Additionally, landlords could publicize whether reusable screening reports are accepted during the application process.
 
In 2019, the State of Washington and in 2021 the State of Maryland passed legislation to allow landlords to accept reusable screening reports. According to the Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report for 2022, 26% of U.S. renters who moved in the past two years listed multiple application fees as the top stressor of a rental search. AB 2559 will make rental properties more accessible to renters, while saving landlords time and effort in collecting fees and purchasing the reports.