Credit reports are used unfairly

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Editor, the News-Herald:

I am hoping you can help bring this issue to light. We need everyone’s help in stopping an injustice to what is a growing population of Americans. Stop the use of credit reports – as a qualifier – by people who rent places to live.

Recently a Suffolk hotel was shut down due to unsatisfactory living conditions.

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But most people missed the underlying importance of the hotel shut down. There was a large group of people living full time in that hotel.

The question everyone should have been asking themselves is why are there people living full time in a hotel?

There is a growing population of low-income families living in hotels, motels and inns – not because they don’t have jobs or money – but because they are unable to meet the renters’ requirements of a good credit report.

Credit reports should not be used in this way for many reasons. Credit card fraud, faults reporting, medical bills, lost jobs and (small) late payments negatively affect more and more credit reports. These people who are living in hotels because their credit reports will not let them rent a place to live have jobs but are being held back from succeeding and achieving that American dream by a &uot;report.&uot;

Most of these people don’t have the means or the know-how to fix their credit reports. The people who rent places to live can ask for months of money up-front as a deposit, first and last month’s rent, a reference from the last place they lived, etc. That should be more then a satisfactory guarantee to the renter.

Please take a few minutes and consider the unfair situations these low-income people fall into. I would urge everyone to write the political officials and ask them to adopt legislation stopping the use of credit reports as a qualifier to rent a place to live. Thank you for your time and let’s help these people.

William A. Brewer Jr.

Suffolk