Can a landlord insist that an occupant provide a SSN?

UPDATED: Mar 28, 2012

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Can a landlord insist that an occupant provide a SSN?

I have a daughter studying at a university and she is renting an apartment. Her fiance, a legal emigrant on a fiance visa, came a couple weeks ago. Obviously he does not have SSN. The property manager does not allow him to stay because they cannot do a security check because he no SSN. Is this legal? I stress that he is legally in US and will get a SSN once they get married (they have 3 months for that).

Asked on March 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal to require a tenant or prospective tenant to provide a SSN for purposes of security check; renting an apartment to someone is a voluntary act (landlords don't have to be landlords; they choose to enter that  business and provide that service), and so landlords may require various background or credit checks.

However, if the finance is not a prospective tenant but rather is a guest  of your daughter, who is the tenant, then the landlord only has whatever authority or power over guests as the lease itself grants it.  If there are any provisions or clauses in the lease which allow the landlord to exclude guests, limit their stays, ask them to leave, etc., those provisions are usually legal and enforceable...however, in the absence of some such term in the lease, the landlord would seem to have no authority over who your daughter has a guest, when.

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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