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Adverse Action Letter - Application Process

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By:  Rebekah Near, CEO, Orca Information, Inc.


Last article I wrote was titled, A COMMON MISTAKE WHEN DENYING APPLICANT COULD COST YOU THOUSANDS.  The focus of the topic was on giving your applicant who does not qualify for the unit the ADVERSE ACTION LETTER which is sometimes referred to as a CONSUMER RIGHTS LETTER AKA FCRA Summary of Rights.  One knowledgeable, sharp and concerned Manufactured Park Manager sent me some good questions. Evidently there is some confusion as to what information is required in an Adverse Action letter.  Here is one of the questions I received and my reply.  


Question: I’ve been giving the FCRA Summary of Rights as part of the Adverse Action letter to applicants for years until my supervisor told me not to.  I recently forwarded your advice directly to my employer and supervisor, who says, “There is no current requirement to give an applicant the FCRA Summary of Rights along with the reasons for adverse action”. 

Answer:  First, I am not an attorney.  It is wise to consult an attorney on these matters.  That is just what I did.  Not only did I read advice from an attorney but I also researched deeply the FCRA wording for clarity.  Let’s read what this attorney from the FTC Division of Privacy and Identity Protection advises.  She is addressing landlords.  She writes the following:


What if the information in a consumer report (tenant screening report) leads you to deny housing to an applicant?  Under the  Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you must inform applicants in what’s called an adverse action notice. That’s true even if the report was only a minor factor in your decision. An adverse action notice tells people about their rights to see information being reported about them and to dispute inaccurate information. It’s a best practice to provide that adverse action notice in writing because it benefits both you and the applicant. Written notices give you proof of compliance with the law. They also better enable applicants to assert their rights to request a copy of the report from the consumer reporting agency (tenant screening company) and to dispute any mistakes.

The attorney now quotes the FCRA:

Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 U.S.C § 1681

A summary of rights is required to be included with agency (tenant screening company) disclosures (adverse action notices).

A consumer reporting agency (tenant screening company) shall provide to a consumer (landlords applicant), with each written disclosure by the agency (tenant screening company) to the consumer (landlords applicant) under this section –

(A) the summary of rights prepared by the Bureau (credit bureau) under paragraph (1);

(B) in the case of a consumer reporting agency (tenant screening company) described in section 603(p), a toll-free telephone number established by the agency (tenant screening company) at which personnel are accessible to consumers during normal business hours;

(C) a list of all Federal agencies responsible for enforcing any provision of this title, and the address and any appropriate phone number of each such agency, in a form that will assist the consumer in selecting the appropriate agency;

(D) a statement that the consumer may have additional rights under State law, and that the consumer may wish to contact a State or local consumer protection agency or a State attorney general (or the equivalent thereof) to learn of those rights; and

(E) a statement that a consumer reporting agency (tenant screening company) is not required to remove accurate derogatory information from the file of a consumer, unless the information is outdated under section 605 or cannot be verified.


End of the FTC attorneys advice.


It appears the Park Manager who submitted this question is correct when she sent denied applicants the Adverse Action letter and included The Summary of Their Rights.  If this Park Manager were my employee, I would be proud I had the foresight to hire someone who deeply cares about the company for which they work, stays educated and remains aware of the ever-changing, laws.  What do you my readers think?  I would love to hear from you.

To read more about the FCRA law pertaining to Adverse Action letters including Summary of Rights, go to:  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Rules & Policy.  Also, the FTC, Summary of Your Rights. 


Rebekah Near is the owner operator of Orca Information, Inc an Employment and Tenant screening company serving the Pacific Northwest and the Nation.  The web address is  She is not an attorney and does not give legal advice.  You may send your questions to her at