Credit reporting agencies are required to accept statements from consumers on financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic and credit report users are not to consider adverse information in their decisions.
08/29/2023 3:10 P.M.
1.5 minute read
A law in effect in Washington, D.C., through Oct. 29, 2023, protects consumers’ credit reports from adverse impacts due to any financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the bill, the “Public Health Emergency Credit Alert Emergency Amendment Act of 2023,” (PDF) in August.
- Requires credit reporting agencies to accept a personal statement from a consumer indicating the consumer experienced financial hardship resulting from a public health emergency.
- Prohibits users of credit reports from taking into consideration adverse information in a report that was the result of the consumer’s action or inaction that occurred during the public health emergency.
- Requires credit reporting agencies to notify residents of the right to request a personal statement, and to provide for civil action for such violations.
If a consumer reports in good faith that they have experienced financial hardship resulting directly or indirectly from the public health emergency declared by the mayor in March 2020, a credit reporting agency maintaining a file on the consumer shall accept and include in that file a personal statement furnished by the consumer indicating that the consumer has been financially impacted by the COVID-19 emergency.
A credit reporting agency shall provide that personal statement along with any credit report provided by the agency, beginning on the date the credit reporting agency receives the personal statement, unless the consumer requests that the personal statement be removed.
This is considered “emergency legislation,” therefore it takes effect immediately with the mayor’s approval and is in effect for no longer than 90 days.
The City Council also passed a first reading of a bill (PDF) that is a temporary amendment to the public health emergency credit alerts. It contains the same requirements as the emergency proposal, but would be in effect for 225 days after a 30-day congressional review period and approval by the mayor.