Changes to Tenant Screening Notice. If a landlord intends to charge an applicant for screening, the landlord must provide notice of various information related to screening and landlord policies (see MHCO Form 1B). One of the things an applicant must be notified of is the landlord’s commitment to non-discrimination. HB 2680 adds “gender identity” to the list of non-discrimination categories. A landlord may not discriminate against a tenant based on their gender identity, and this fact must be stated in the tenant notice.
The new law also requires that the screening notice inform the applicant of their right to a refund of the screening fee and their potential right to recover damages for a landlord failing to comply with the refund process.
Screening Fee Refund. While the law already provided that a landlord must refund the screening fee under certain conditions, HB 2680 now requires that a fee be refunded within 30 days if the landlord fills the vacancy before screening the applicant OR the landlord has not screened the applicant (for any reason) prior to the applicant withdrawing their application in writing.
Penalty. If the landlord fails to comply with these sections or does not screen the applicant for any reason and fails to return the unused screening fee within 30 days, the applicant may recover twice the screening fee plus $250.