What information to take from a tenant?

Thank you Manch for creating this platform for redfin migration :slight_smile:

We are in the process of renting out our property to a dear friend’s friend family. We know this prospective tenant is a real estate investor himself and has multiple properties through a real estate investement firm. We sent him the application and requested for a credit report copy.

He filled the application leaving the SSN blank, but gave us the DOB, current address. He sent the summary of the credit report. Which shows there are no late payments or collections and he owns to two properties. He said he didn’t want to give out his SSN for privacy reasons.

I can see he has a clean record and know from my friend he has good income. Can I proceed with this or do I insist for further information or proofs? Between this property is in Florida and we are going to manage ourselves. The lease agreement just has the terms and conditions and a signature.

Generally speaking, I go by the old and proven addage: I do not mix business with friendship. If something (anything, and it could be completely innocent on both sides) goes wrong, your relationship with your dear friend could be jeopardized.


That’s where I am getting stuck at. Is a person’s name and Date of Birth with one previous address lived for enough to go after a bad tenant.

What is the norm for information from tenant?

Well, assuming this person works at a regular job I would want that information at least. I am somewhat torn about his response regarding the SSN. I mean, you are not going to broadcast it and if anything would have only used it for background checks.

Let’s see what others here suggest.

I think there are a lot of tenant screening websites out there you can use. Ask the potential tenant go there and have the report sent to you. He will provide the SSN to the website but not to you. That should at least lessen the worry of privacy breaches.

I’d ask for employment record like pay stubs, and bank statements. Also references from his previous landlords. In SF I heard landlords even check court records to see if the person makes a living out of suing landlords.

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Annual salary has to be at least three times annual rent. Tell him to show you proofs.

Credit report should be sent to you from the credit bureau (I use Experian).

And just to throw it out there for discussion and analysis, I am going to hold it against him that he is a real estate investor. To me, he definitely then knows the laws of renting. Could be bad. Two, what if his properties tank? Won’t that impact his ability to pay his rent then?

I say NO!!! :slight_smile:

Right. Renting to people who knows how the game is played is No-No. And rejecting based on profession is totally legal last time I check. :slight_smile:

You guys ask for tenants’ Facebook page to see if they are crazy? I am thinking whether I should do that… I don’t want some racist lunatics in my properties. Yes, I wouldn’t rent to Trump. :smile:

What is this thing called “Facebook?” Don’t use it…

Old School

I do not give out my SSN except under duress or for tax reasons. Giving it to some random person who could toss it in the recycling would bother me. I’d have to reallllllly like the place to risk it.

That’s a fair statement, but you also have to understand an owner’s perspective and the potential liability from not doing one’s due diligence. Getting screwed over by a bad tenant can be very costly. Fortunately, I have not had something way bad. But that is also because I follow the golden rule of covering my butt. Let’s be honest, having that SSN will uncover pretty much everything. If someone doesn’t like it, by all means rent another place. I won’t take it personally.

I understand, but I wouldn’t give it out unless you pushed. If it means that much to you, you can say that to him–that you really aren’t comfortable renting without doing the background check that an SSN will allow. You could offer him the third party route.

But from my perspective–having been mailed the SSNs for an entire school district’s worth of kids in plain text when I didn’t even need or want that information–I just am not comfortable anymore with it. I especially don’t do it with my kids’ SSNs. Not for the school, not for Kaiser, forget it.

You know, back in the 80s, many colleges would use the SSNs as student IDs, and this particular university would post people’s final grades on the doors by SSN. A woman I know figured out that the grades were arranged by last name, and knowing where she was in the middle and knowing who all the people in the class were, she could figure out everyone else’s grade. Having a fascination for numbers and a seriously nosy bent (she was Aspergers and respect for privacy was definitely lacking), I would not be surprised if she’d been writing down everyones names and SSNs so she could see how they did on other classes too.

FWIW, I know a few individuals who dont give their SSN to their employers. There are alternate forms they have to fill and all that, but it’s possible.

So, not everyone parts with their SSN with same ease…

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My reaction when reading the post was if you have to ask the answer is no.

How could you even know the credit report is for the person if they don’t provide ss#? In the age of Photoshop provided information must be verified including employers and previous landlords.

Most rental applications require a social security number for every person 18+ living in the place along with:

  • present address & landlord contact information and 1+ previous address & landlord info
  • current and past employers (at least 3 years)
  • drivers lic number
  • auto(s) information