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Unless something else is written in your lease, one of three new laws might change your rights.
Purple text applies to leases and events as of 12/21/11 ( 2011 Wis. Act 108 )
Orange text applies to leases and events as of 3/31/12 ( 2011 Wis. Act 143 )
Green text applies to leases and events as of 3/1/14 ( 2013 Wis. Act 76 )
More information on law changes is available here. Have your lease available when calling the Tenant Resource Center so we can help you know what your rights and remedies are, including whether you can double your costs when you sue a landlord.
What Does a Credit Bureau Do?
There are three national credit bureaus: Equifax. Experian. and TransUnion. These bureaus gather information about a consumer's credit history from banks, loan companies, and other creditors and compile it into a credit report. The credit report is made available to other potential creditors, such as financial institutions and lenders, as well as insurance companies and landlords. Credit reporting agencies do not decide whether you are eligible for credit, but credit reports have a huge impact on your ability to receive credit.
Who Can Obtain My FREE Credit Report?
Credit bureaus do not need your approval before they release your report, and they do not have to notify you after they release it. However, federal law limits the situations in which credit reporting agencies can release your credit report. They may do so only:
- In response to a court order
- By your written request
- In connection with a credit transaction for which you are being considered (with or without your knowledge) or are otherwise involved, such as a loan application
- For employment or investment purposes
- For the purposes of underwriting your insurance
- If you apply for government benefits, or
- For any other legitimate business purpose, such as renting.
Why Should I Look at My Own Credit Report?
Since credit reports often have mistakes in them that can hurt your ability to get credit (including a lease from a landlord), it is a good idea to see a copy of your credit report once a year to check its accuracy. This provides you with the opportunity to correct errors and protect yourself from identity theft.
Where Can I Get a Copy of My Credit Report?
If you have been denied credit (including denied for an apartment), you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Simply request a copy from the credit-reporting agency that supplied the report to the creditor/landlord.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as of March 1, 2005 all Wisconsin residents may request one free credit report per year from each credit bureau. Your FREE annual report MUST be ordered through a central clearinghouse:
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
NOTE: You can pay for additional copies of your credit report by contacting any of the three major credit bureaus. By law, they may charge up to $11.50 for each credit report. Please note: These are the same bureaus that supply the free annual credit reports, but they ONLY offer those through the central clearing house listed above.