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Is it illegal for the landlord to request certain documents from their tenants?

I found a basement for rent and the landlord is asking for a copy of my W2,pay stubs, social security number and photo Id. I consider those documents to be personal besides am not asking them to see their deed. Is that illegal of them?

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I don't know if it is illegal. But, it is an invasion of privacy. Don't give them anything.  Find another place as soon as possible.  They only need to know that you are employed and where.  This is to verify that you are able to pay the requested rent.  They do not have a valid use for your SS #.  Tell them to take their own pic if they want one you do not have to provide it.  This could be race discrimination if your race can be identified with the picture.  My advice is to steer clear of any place that has such requirements.  I do not believe they are valid requests.  Good luck.

Dear KC,

Asking for this information is fairly common. The landlord is most likely wanting to do a credit check and verify employment. While a place of employement can verify you work there, they can not give out information regarding your wages. Many independent landlords are requiring this information and it is their right to do so. Some will even run a criminal back round check if you will be living on the same premise. If you still feel uncomfortable you can request a third party, such as a realitor gather your information. However the landlord will proably not want to pay the fee associated with this.

Asking these is not illegal.  The landlord has a right to protect him/herself by renting for a dependable tenant who is likely to pay the rent on time.  If the prospective tenant does not want to disclose those information, the landlord cannot force them but simply can decide not to rent it to him/her.  However, it is illegal to rent a basement in some states as far as I know.

Landlords are allowed to ask for any documents that help to determine a rental applicant's ability or likelihood to pay rent. The rental applicant does not have to furnish these, but neither does the landlord have to rent to them.

Many landlords want to verify applicants' income and pull their credit report to see if they're in the habit of paying their bills (which requires a SSN).

If you want to take a look at a sample rental application or other landlord forms , here's a link.

Best of luck with your rental hunting,


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