The states of Washington and Oregon recently enacted laws in connection with tenant screening. Among the provisions in both Washington’s RCW §59.18.257 and Oregon’s OAS §90.295, is that the entire cost of the background check can be charged to the applicant, if the screening is performed by a consumer reporting agency (“CRA”). However, if the landlord conducts the background check, it may not charge in excess of the customary fees of the CRAs in its geographical area.
Notably, California’s Civil Code §1950.6(b) provides that a landlord cannot charge (or pass-through) to the applicant more than $30 for a background check. This application screening fee may be adjusted annually by the landlord or its agent commensurate with an increase in the Consumer Price Index. (The current adjusted amount is $41.50.)