Remember that "Seinfeld" episode where Elaine can't escape a medical record that describes her as "difficult"? As you may or may not have heard, there's a real estate equivalent to that type of blacklist.

The New York Times refers us to this handy site which explains how renters can wind up on landlord "blacklists" (which can hurt future prospects for getting an apartment), and provides some strategies for getting off the lists.

The site contains a ton of great information and links to a fact sheet which explains what exactly goes into the tenant screening reports that many landlords rely on:

The [tenant screening] report tells the landlord if a tenant has ever been sued in Housing Court. They might provide details about the case such as the type of case, the amount of rent demanded, and the outcome of the case.  The reports often have other information from public records: criminal background, bankruptcy history, sex offender status and overall credit worthiness.

Landlords who ding you based on your screening report must tell you in writing the name of the reporting company so that you can correct misinformation.

If there's a housing-court dust-up with a landlord in your past, you may want to request copies of your screening info in advance to see whether it's likely to be used against you.

The fact sheet lists the five major tenant screening companies and their contact info. 

You can get your housing court history removed if you can convince your landlord-adversary to sign a stipulation agreement--a tip most useful for renters currently involved in a landlord dispute who may still have some leverage.

Better yet, brush up on some ways to avoid landing in housing court in the first place.  Some recommended reading right here on Brick:

 

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