06 July 2010
Anyway, this guy came by the rental office yesterday. He just moved to the United States last month. He has a tax ID number, but no social security number. He completed an application, said his “wife” will be living with him, but that she isn’t here yet. She apparently has neither a social security number nor a tax ID, but she should be in the country next month. Nice enough fellow, but I’m not sure if I want them in my building. How do I handle this?
A: Proper tenant screening is key to a successfully-run building. Consistent rental policies, applied to all prospective applicants will guide you. Your rental screening process should verify the identities of all proposed occupants.
A U.S. government issued picture identification card such as a driver’s license or a California ID card is typical, but a passport may be used as well to verify identity. Verification of the applicant’s ability to pay the rent is critical. Verifiable work history and proof of the ability to work legally in the U.S. are typically required.
The absence of a United States social security number will make it difficult or impossible to verify the prospect’s financial strength or his ability to pay. Depending on his country of origin, international databases are available to perform basic credit checks, but not nearly as complete or reliable as those here in the U.S. Since the “wife” is not in the country, and you have no application from her, and she apparently has no social or tax ID number, it will be virtually impossible to screen her.
The bottom line is, you must accept an application from all who wish to apply. Upon receipt of the application, you must then apply your rental standards to properly screen the applicant. If your standards require a social security or other tax identification number in order to run credit and eviction checks, then this applicant will not meet your criteria. Further if your rental standards require verifiable work and tenancy history, then again this applicant will not qualify.