On January 20, Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn) introduced the Keeping Evictions Off Credit Reports Act, H.R. 408, in the U.S. House of Representatives seeking to prohibit evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic from appearing on consumer reports. This is the third time that Representative Cohen has proposed this legislation. Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Andre Carson (D-IN), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and James McGovern (D-MA) are co-sponsoring the bill.
While the text of the current version of this bill is not yet available, previous versions of the bill proposed amending the Fair Credit Reporting Act to exclude from consumer reports any information related to a covered eviction for which notice was given during the period beginning March 13, 2020, and ending on the date that is 30 days after the termination date of the national emergency concerning the novel coronavirus disease (COVID–19). Covered eviction was defined as “any action by a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person legally authorized to remove or cause the removal of a tenant or lessee from a residential property and does not include foreclosure on a home mortgage.”
In the press release announcing the introduction of the bill, Representative Cohen stated, “American families have felt the negative economic impact of the pandemic for two years and should not be denied housing because of it. Many landlords across the country often do credit checks on prospective tenants to help determine if they are eligible to rent or lease. If there is an eviction on those reports, it often prevents prospective tenants from being approved for housing no matter the circumstances. The Keeping Evictions Off Credit Reports Act ends the stigma of an eviction and assures fairness in the rental application process.”