Tenants of Marina del Rey apartments sue landlord for background check

Complaint claims REIT conducts investigative reports without disclosure

By Dolores Quintana

Equity Residential faces another lawsuit, this time it’s a class action, alleging a privacy breach filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, which alleges the trust company insisted on running consumer reports , rather than just checking the creditworthiness of their potential tenants which was filed on August 10.

California law states that any landlord who wishes to complete a prospective consumer investigation report must properly disclose this information to the renter and inform them of their life’s research that is ongoing and give renters access to the results. of research.

Equity Residential is part of Chicago-based Sam Zell’s REIT company, which has faced numerous other legal issues.

The lawsuit states, as cited by The Real Deal, that the company “did not want tenants or potential tenants to know or have access to confidential consumer reports about them, but wanted to manage and operate the property without any restrictions, questions or requests from tenants. and alleges that Equity, responsible for managing thousands of rentals in the Southern California area, deliberately ordered and, with intent, hid these intrusive checks from their potential tenants.

None of the defendants are named in the lawsuit which reportedly includes some Equity Residential employees.

Potential tenants who applied for two properties managed and owned by Equity in Hollywood and Marina del Rey are the plaintiffs. Six of those plaintiffs applied for Breakwater Apartments in MDR and two applied for Vantage Hollywood Apartments according to The Real Deal and the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges Equity Residential was “deliberate and grossly negligent” and is seeking $10,000 for each of the consumer investigation reports that were executed on potential tenants, punitive damages and the like. The lawsuit also demands that Equity change its policies regarding consumer reporting to follow California law.

The lawsuit also alleges that Equity Residential commissioned investigative reports on all of its potential tenants and that the reports, cited by The Real Deal, “often contain errors or misinformation that materially destroy an individual’s reputation.” , which constituted a corporate invasion. of the privacy of tenants who have applied for apartments over the past two years. The applications contained a release that would allow Equity “to obtain private and personal information from third parties.” in violation of the law and would also screen potential tenants for evictions and conduct background checks which often contained information such as credit checks and would provide access to a potential tenant’s employability.

The lawsuit goes on to state, quoted by The Real Deal, “Without disclosure… [the prospective tenants] would not be able to read reports and demand that errors be corrected, and [the prospective tenants] wouldn’t even know if such reports were being used against him or her,”

Another ongoing lawsuit against Equity Residental and their rental practices is another class action lawsuit over the company’s policies on late fees. A lawsuit filed earlier this year alleged that Equity charged potential tenants five times the background check rate and also made allegations about consumer survey reports that said Equity Residential failed to give tenants potential legally required access to the results of these reports.

In Washington, DC Equity Residential was ordered by the court to pay nearly $2 million in restitution in a lawsuit for illegally and deceptively raising rental prices.

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