Read your new lease carefully! When you sign a new lease, you are typically giving the housing’s property management company the right to all the information you disclosed in the application process. And all the information the property manager is going to record about you while you stay in that housing. Just think about the sensitive information you hand over in order to acquire a new lease:
- Criminal background checks
- Bank account information
- Employment contact information and work history
- Your personal cell phone number
Your new property manager will also keep track of:
- Whether or not you have a pet
- The condition of your housing
- Fees they may add to your account—legitimate or not.
Worse yet, property managers often fail to disclose exactly how they use their data against tenants throughout the process of the tenancy and forever after that. Yes, once you, the tenant, sign the application within the verbiage of the lease document, the right to curtail future use of your data has been waived. Your data will be used in all future transactions, without the ability to opt-out. Essentially, your data can be sold or given to other companies, and you would not be legally able to stop it from happening.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. Property managers can share this information with other housing units in order to block you from attaining future housing, and they have repeatedly done this if they feel a tenant owes them back rent, fees, of eviction costs—regardless if these fees are accurate or legal.
This is a growing contributing factor in rising homelessness rates, up 47% nationally since 2012.