Opinion: House Bill 2323 would require rental property owners to report only on time rent payments

Mark Harmsworth believes HB 2323 does not provide transparency for the property owner or credit agencies and the result will be an increase in rent to cover the cost of additional insurance and late payments from bad renters.
Mark Harmsworth believes HB 2323 does not provide transparency for the property owner or credit agencies and the result will be an increase in rent to cover the cost of additional insurance and late payments from bad renters.

HB 2323 does not provide transparency for the property owner or credit agencies and the result will be an increase in rent to cover the cost of additional insurance and late payments from bad renters.

Mark Harmsworth
Washington Policy Center

House Bill 2323 (HB 2323), introduced by Representative Strom Peterson (D-21), would require rental property owners to report rental payment history to a nationwide consumer credit agency. The reporting is only for on-time rent payments. There is no requirement to report late or missed rent payments.

Mark Harmsworth, Washington Policy Center
Mark Harmsworth, Washington Policy Center

Additionally, HB 2323, would require a rental property owner to stop reporting once a tenant is late on a rental payment.

Rental property owners have to balance the cost of renting a home against the risk assumed from a tenant who fails to pay on time. The cost of rent is driven by risk assumed.

Credit background checks allow property owners to make educated decisions on who the prospective renter is and evaluate the risk and cost of having that renter in the property. While most renters pay rent on time and take care of the home, there are some that do not.

The history of a tenant who does not pay on time would not appear on the credit reporting background check under HB 2323.

The bill also creates an unfunded government mandate on the rental property owner, who now has to take time each month to report rental payments to the credit agencies. This can be cost prohibitive and often the credit reporting setup fees can be several thousand and dollars, plus a monthly fee.

There is also a risk to the property owner that misreporting rental payments could open the door for a tenant to sue the property owner and be in violation of the fair credit reporting act.

HB 2323 does not provide transparency for the property owner or credit agencies and the result will be an increase in rent to cover the cost of additional insurance and late payments from bad renters.

Mark Harmsworth is the director of the Small Business Center at the Washington Policy Center.


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