Errors in Zillow Background Check



Interesting Zillow Facts

  • Launch and Growth

Zillow was founded in 2006 by Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, who were former Microsoft executives and the founders of Expedia. The site was launched with a database of over 110 million U.S. homes.

small zillow wooden house on the grass
  • Zestimate

One of Zillow’s biggest deals is probably its “Zestimate,” an algorithmic calculation of home values. They claim that this has been instrumental in changing the way property values are evaluated.

  • Innovative Business Model

Zillow has not ceased rolling out new services since its first wave of success, nor has it stopped to reach out to real estate professionals with Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Offers. Zillow also operates a pool of research that most people now rely on and to get funding for the operations of many real estate trends in relation to housing trends.

  • Expanding into Rent and Mortgage Areas

Zillow also offers many tools and services for managing rental properties and lending mortgage loans, which includes application forms and background checks for screening purposes for landlords.

How Long Does Zillow Background Check Take

Component of Background CheckDescriptionTypical Duration
Overall ProcessTotal time from submission to report completion.24-48 hours
Credit ReportAssesses credit history and current credit status.Instant to a few hours (almost immediately)
Criminal Background CheckSearches criminal records databases.Several hours to 24 hours
Eviction HistoryChecks for any past evictions.Several hours to 24 hours

Zillow Background Check Errors

Background checks are an essential part of Zillow’s tenant screening process to provide confidence in who landlords are renting to. However, like any automated data processes, these checks are prone to some types of errors. Knowing what such errors look like will be critical in preparing both landlords and tenants for possible issues before they cause problems for rental agreements. The following is a closer look at some of these common errors:

Incorrectly Matched Records
Problem Description: This occurs when the background check pulls up information belonging to another individual with a similar or identical name. It is very common, especially for individuals with common names.

    Causes: Similarities in names and other personal identifiers (e.g., John Smith, Jane Doe).
    Data entry errors made when the background check information was submitted.

    Impact: Incorrect criminal or financial data can be mistakenly attributed to the wrong person, leading to potential denials of rental applications.

    Steps for Resolution

    • Double-check and verify the personal information entered.
    • Request a review or file a dispute with Zillow or the reporting agency to correct the wrong identity and associated records.

    Outdated or Wrong Information

    Reporting of Expunged Records or Outdated Personal Information:
    Problem Description: The inclusion of records that should no longer legally be reported, such as expunged criminal records or old information regarding the previous address.


      • Failure of databases to update or purge old records.
      • Delay in legal system reporting updates to public databases.

      Impact: Old or incorrect information may cloud a landlord’s view of a potential tenant and potentially lead to denial of applications without a good reason.

      Steps for Resolution:

      • Review credit reports and personal records regularly to ensure accuracy.
      • Initiate a dispute with the credit reporting agency or Zillow regarding expunged or outdated records.

      Misreported Financial Data

        Problem Description: Incorrect reporting of credit activities or eviction incidents that the tenant has not participated in.


        • Errors made by data furnishers (creditors, landlords) reporting to credit bureaus or public records.
        • Misalignment or duplication of records due to administrative errors.

        Impact: Errors on financial data can bring about a huge difference for the tenant that creates a negative impact in his financial credibility and reliable factor, which are both very important for the decision of the landlord.

        Steps to Resolve:

        • Review the credit reports and eviction records for accuracy.
        • Dispute inaccuracies directly with the issuing institution or through Zillow, if the error originated there.

        How to Identify and Dispute Errors

        Step-by-step: Getting a Report from Zillow or the Backcheck Provider Used by Zillow
        Get your report: Contact Zillow directly or the background check provider that worked with Zillow to get your full report. With the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you are entitled to one free report every 12 months.

        Read Your Report: Read each part of the report carefully, paying special attention to your personal details, credit records, criminal history, and any public records that do not have any legal right of reporting.

        Document Errors: Document in detail any faulty or outdated data on a paper with all-in-one information that supports your case. Sometimes, you can appeal if there are no cons of the background check company or Zillow since they cannot cover these costs.

        Dispute Errors with Zillow and Third Parties

        Initiating Dispute: File a formal dispute with Zillow or the background check provider. Make sure to include all information and documentation needed for the dispute to be sorted out.

        Follow Up: Regularly follow up to know the status of your dispute. Basically, under the law, most disputes must be settled within 30 days.

        Maintaining Records: Keep copies of all communications and documents submitted regarding the dispute. These may be important later, especially if the problem develops into a legal action.

        Legal Recourse
        Get a Consumer Rights Lawyer: If not given satisfactory results for your dispute, it is advisable to consult an attorney well-versed in consumer rights or employment law.

        Legal Action: Filing a lawsuit against the background check company or Zillow for inability to correct errors would be required, especially if it has resulted in any financial loss or harassment.

        Filing Regulatory Complaints: Consider filing a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or your local attorney general’s office, which can provide some aid and might investigate if your case portrays any probable pattern of negligence.

        If you have issues with errors on your background check or face challenges with inaccuracies in reports from Zillow or any other agency, you don’t have to tackle it alone. At RBT Consumer Law Firm, we specialize in defending your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and ensuring that your background reports are accurate and fair. Our seasoned lawyers can assist you in navigating a simple yet effective way of disputing errors effectively and representing you in case there is any legal issue. Let us assist you in getting your rights cleared and ensuring you have the opportunity to acquire what is rightfully yours. Act now and protect your future; contact us for a consultation today.

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