Does a landlord have the right to require a social security number?

UPDATED: Aug 28, 2011

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Does a landlord have the right to require a social security number?

I have lived in a mobile home community for 5 years; my boyfriend has been here for 4 years. They now want to put him on my lease but they want his SSN to run a criminal background check. Does he have the legal right to withhold that piece of information?

Asked on August 28, 2011 Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your boyfriend wishes to be placed upon the lease at the unit being rented at the mobile home park, he needs to abide by the request for his social security number so that a background check can be run as to him. The intended landlord has the right to run a background check on any potential tenant applicant in that under the laws of all states in this country, the landlord owes a legal duty to his or her tenants to provide them with a safe living environment.

Running a background check on possible tenants is a means for a landlord to perform part of his or her duty of providing a safe living environment for the tenant. One's social security number assists in getting clearer and more accurate information of a person in a background search.

If your boyfriend does not want to provide the requested social security number, he can. Most likely the result is that he will not be placed on the lease by the landlord.

Good question.

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