can an apartment complex/residence, leasing agent etc require an individual to provide a copy of their social security card to be held on file?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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can an apartment complex/residence, leasing agent etc require an individual to provide a copy of their social security card to be held on file?

I am looking to lease an apartment in Hyattsville, MD and the place I am attempting to lease at is telling me that I and any other applicants must provide them with a copy of our social security cards to be kept on file there or else we will not be accepted to live at their units.

Asked on September 7, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal: remember, a landlord is not obligated to be a landlord or to lease out apartments; they choose to do this. Since it is voluntary for a landlord be a landlord and to lease units, they can put requirments on applicants or tenants in terms of the information or documentation they require. It is definitely legal and in fact is fairly common for landlords to want copies of the social security cards; they do this because having tenant's SSNs makes it much easier to find and sue them for unpaid rent, if that should become necessary. In addition, if the landlord receives any sort of government subsidy or funding, they have to make sure that all tenants are legal residents or citizens of this country.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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