Legal Issues & Renting

What is the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) & Why Should Renters Care?

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What is the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) & Why Should Renters Care?
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Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the U.S. Treasury Department.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the U.S. Treasury Department.

The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a division of the U.S. Treasury and operates under Presidential authority powers. The OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions in accordance with U.S. policy and plays a role in tracking international terrorists.

Virtually all financial transactions with at least one international party pass through OFAC data screeners, which also flag names and aliases of known narcotics traffickers, suspected weapons dealers and confirmed human smugglers.

Most standard background checks run on potential renters by landlords now include OFAC entries. Lending institutions have been known to monitor OFAC data since its founding in the early 1800s, but it has only been in the last decade that landlords have had instant electronic access on a national scale.

OFAC also monitors all treasury transfers with countries such as North Korea, Iran and Sudan. Any financial transactions taking place with these countries will likely land you in the OFAC database.

Working with a secure partner like us is highly recommended because the language used in orders and laws involving OFAC can be extremely technical. Take, for example, the first two sentences of a recent order 12 pages long:

On February 7, 2014, the US Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued General License D-1 under the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR), 31 C.F.R. Part 560.  The general license expands and supersedes General License D, which was issued last March and authorized the export to Iran of certain services, software, and hardware incident to the exchange of personal communications.”

Finding out if your personal information is included in the OFAC databases can also give you an opportunity to challenge erroneous entries. Our experienced team can aid with this sometimes daunting task as well.