Thursday, September 22, 2011

Intrusive Questions On Rental Applications

Luke Ford writes: I’m looking to rent a new place to live and one rental application asked for my savings and checking account numbers and my credit card account numbers.

I did not fill that stuff out. That’s crazy. No way you should give up such information.

Here’s comment online: Fair housing laws are so strict that credit worthiness is almost the only determining factor a landlord can use to qualify an applicant. Unfortunately, bank account numbers are needed because if you default on the rent and the landlord gets a judgement against you for rent or damages they need you bank account numbers to attach them. As for specific credit card info, most applications ask for them, but as a landlord I usually just tell people to write in “see credit report.” That is just left over language from before computers when we actually called credit references. You are probably shocked because you are one of those people who would always pay their rent first and obey the rules. Unfortunately, it’s the price you must pay to insure that your neighbors are the type of people who play by the rules as well. The plus side is that your neighbors were screened by the same criteria and if the landlord is strict in their screening you have a better chance of having nice neighbors. Can you imagine if the let just anybody move in next door to you? Drug dealers get pretty creative in trying to rent apartments. Landlords practically have to be private eyes to legally screen them out. 

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