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A new concept has impacted and simplified the task of the multi-housing rental agent: the use of a numerical score (typically based on credit information) to screen housing applicants. It’s not an entirely new idea–mortgagers, insurers and other real estate people have been using Fair, Isaac & Co.’s credit scores (called FICO scores) for a number of years. But scoring models have recently become the vogue among rental agents because a numerical score is thought to be better than the agent’s intuition in selecting tenants. It’s also less likely to get the Fair Housing agency riled up about the possibility of a biased selection.

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