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?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.


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