Fair housing rights recently got a little stronger. As of June 16, 2022, TransUnion's SmartMove, a popular tenant screening tool, now includes the two-step screen process that is outlined in the Just Housing Amendment (JHA). This new compliance is an important step forward for just housing.
The two-step screening process begins with prequalification, when a landlord may screen a tenant to determine whether the tenant satisfies all the application criteria such as income, rental history, credit score, pets, and more. Only after the landlord prequalifies an applicant may a landlord continue with the second step of the screening process, which can include conducting a criminal background check.
Due to the passage of the JHA, Cook County landlords cannot consider a criminal background that is more than three years old, and landlords must conduct an individualized assessment of any criminal history that is less than three years old. The updates made to SmartMove, and other screening tools, mean that more than 7,000 housing applications per month will be processed with a screening process that is compliant with JHA. Further, it means that dozens of contracted partners also affirmed that their procedures to comply with JHA.