The below topics are discussed in much more depth on our members' Social Security Numbers page.
Social Security Numbers
Is it legal for a landlord to deny a tenant applicant because they refused to disclose their Social Security number?
Personal information privacy concerns are growing daily.
Access to Social Security numbers are a particular concern because they can be used to obtain personal financial information, current address, employers, or even to commit identity fraud. Experts have advised people to guard their number and hand it out sparingly.
However government is now using Social Security numbers to track everything from skipped fathers to criminals and even requires your number's disclosure to obtain a state driver's license.
Tenant applicants who refuse to give a potential landlord their Social Security number may also find that a reason for rejection.
Neither the state landlord-tenant law or discrimination laws currently address this issue; so statutes provide no protection should a tenant decline. (Although, as of this writing, some state legislators have introduced bills that would provide some Social Security number protection.)
It is now perfectly permissible for a tenant applicant to be asked to divulge their number as part of the application screening process. Information that confirms suitability as a tenant, such as credit, employment and rental histories, is a legitimate business purpose, defined under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act . .
Thou shalt not!
What is not legitimate, and is in fact illegal under federal Fair Housing Laws, would be: requesting information such as race, religion or ethnicity that has nothing to do with being a good tenant. See our pages on Fair Housing Laws in the Members Property Management Web
Also see: Tenant Selection | Tenant Screening | Credit Reports