How to Escape the Dreaded ‘Tenant Blacklist’

Q: In 2015, I rented a room in a Washington Heights house, paying lease to my roommate, who was the tenant on the lease. But he by no means paid the owner and was taken to housing court docket throughout the time I lived there. I knew nothing about any of this. Long after I moved out, he was evicted and I used to be named within the judgment, with out my information. Now, actual property brokers inform me no landlord will lease to me as a result of I’m thought-about a threat, regardless that I’ve good credit score. I requested the owner to resubmit the judgment to the court docket with out my identify on it, however he refused. What do I do?

A: Any tenant named in a Housing Court nonpayment or holdover case will in all probability find yourself on what is named the tenant blacklist. Tenant screening bureaus compile these lists from court docket databases after which promote the knowledge to landlords. Getting your identify faraway from these lists might be almost unimaginable because the data is public document.

There are lots of of tenant screening bureaus, amassing names from courthouses across the nation and promoting the knowledge to landlords. So if you happen to have been named in a case in New York after which tried to lease an house in Los Angeles, a landlord might discover out. Often the small print are restricted, offering landlords with a snapshot that doesn’t present a full, and even correct, image.

You might make a movement within the court docket to get your identify faraway from the judgment and the case. On the possibility that you simply succeed, you may then write to the screening bureaus demanding that they replace their data to replicate the change. (They’re not allowed to knowingly promote inaccurate data.)

But principally, blacklisted tenants wait. Federal legislation limits how lengthy these corporations can promote the knowledge to seven years, and New York usually limits it to 5 years.

As irritating and unfair because it appears, tenants do discover residences.

“The blacklist will make it tougher so that you can discover one other house, however not unimaginable,” mentioned Samuel Himmelstein, a Manhattan layer wo represents tenants.

Some landlords may be keen to think about your scenario and make an exception. While giant, institutional landlords usually have strict guidelines, a mom-and-pop operation could also be extra versatile. Individuals subletting residences in condos and co-ops wouldn’t subscribe to such companies in any respect.

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