General Question

InkyAnn's avatar

Is it normal on a house rental application for them to ask for your bank account number?

Asked by InkyAnn (2433 points ) January 26th, 2012

I have never filled one out before. I’ve always just moved in with friends that already had the place. Well I’m filling out a rental application for a house and they want to know my social, what bank I bank at and my bank account number. Is that normal to ask and do I have to put that information on there?

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26 Answers

augustlan's avatar

It is not normal to ask for your bank account number. Social Security number is often asked so they can pull a credit report or background check on you. I’d never give anyone my bank account number, though.

Jeruba's avatar

Your bank account number is probably printed on your check.

I guess I would be expecting a prospective landlord to want to know if I had a way of paying the rent.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Legally, you don’t have to give them your SSN unless you are applying for government assistance with the rent or utilities.

EverRose11's avatar

I have never been asked for bank account number, I doubt that I would offer that up.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

I have been asked for my bank account number a couple times by reputable apartment complexes. I provided it and didn’t have a problem. These were pre-printed applications filled out in their rental offices. If however I contacted a landlord about a listing in Craig’s list, and the “Landlord” was in Nigeria there’s no way I’d give any personal information.

InkyAnn's avatar

This is a duplex I found on Craigslist and the Landlord is the person who built it. This is the application that he emailed to me. Does it look legit? Is there anything I should not fill in?

Judi's avatar

Yes it is. The information is only used if you leave owing money and they get a judgement against you.
Looks legit to me.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I would not out a bank account number to anyone.

Jeruba's avatar

I give mine out every time I pay by check. That’s been true since approximately 1966. Never had a problem with it.

Judi's avatar

They will get the info anyway when you pay your rent. I’ve been in the apartment industry for 25 years and our applications have always asked for it.

auhsojsa's avatar

@WestRiverrat Yeah it may be part of the legality but if they can’t figure out ones credit score they don’t have to approve anyone.

InkyAnn's avatar

Ok, I can understand the social security number for background checks and what not but what I was thinking is that this is just an application, yes if I get the duplex then when I pay with check he will have my account number either way, but if I don’t get it, he still has the application with my account number on it. So is it still alright to put it on there then?

auhsojsa's avatar

I’m skeptical as well. The bank # thing just throws me off. You need to have a heart to heart and have your business hat on and ask the renter what exactly it is for. Now assuming the worst possible outcome, (you don’t get the duplex) then you need to tell him to destroy your information effect immediately.

I’m only skeptical because I didn’t have to do what you went through. I did have to bring proof of pay check though. Maybe nowadays they can inquire with banks through your account. As long as they don’t have your routing number (which is fairly easy to receive from the banks) I would say you’re safe.

InkyAnn's avatar

What if I state that I will provide my bank account number when I am approved for the duplex?

JaneraSolomon's avatar

As several people pointed out, your prospective landlord would get your account number if you left a deposit check as well. Given that this is a Craig’s list situation, I would at least do a little research on the landlord himself. I would check to see if he is indeed the owner of this house, and if the taxes have been paid and are up to date. Your county may have this information available on the Web. There are other free resources to check out a person as well such as making sure they’re not on the sexual crimes registry.

You can certainly try to discuss any concerns (such as giving out your account number) with a prospective landlord. If they are unsympathetic to your concerns, they might well be unsympathetic when you have no heat as well. I have in several situations crossed out or modified clauses on leases, including a line that said I agree not to sue the landlord for damages the landlord causes! (I added “except when caused by negligence on the part of the landlord”) I still got the apartments.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Asking for it on an application is absolutely no different than the Landlord photocopying your check. Which we do all the time to enter checks into our system

Did they take a copy of your Driver’s License? If so, then why is the Bank Acc’t # an issue?

Most likely they want it on the application because the application has legal terminology on it stating that they can use all info given for any payment disrepancies. It’s quite standard.

As for those saying they wouldn’t give the info… then you wouldn’t be accepted to rent the unit.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

SpatzieLover, what you’re missing is the revolution in internet-based scams where Nigerian-based scammers place Craigs list ads and claim to own properties they will rent to you but in fact they’re just trying to get your banking information.
http://www.salemnews.com/local/x2145132696/New-housing-scam-surfaces

auhsojsa's avatar

Please tell me you physically have met the land lord.

HungryGuy's avatar

It’s normal for some big rental companies to ask for that sort of information. But as a small-time landlord, I don’t. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s private information. I just ask for references and a security deposit.

Judi's avatar

@HungryGuy , so you don’t even run a credit check????

HungryGuy's avatar

@Judi – No. I’ve never run a credit check. Maybe I should start doing it? In conversations I’ve had, some prospective tenants have told me they refuse to give their SSN. I understand their reasons.

Judi's avatar

How do you decide who you will rent to? Aren’t you afraid of fair housing violations if you just go based on how you “feel” about the applicant? Have you never seen Pacific Heights?
I doubt the department of justice would come down as hard on someone with only a few (For fair housing violations) rentals as they would on someone like me with nearly 300, but I am always careful to have a written specific criteria and the first person with a deposit that meets that criteria gets the apartment. If I didn’t run a credit check I would have no real legal way to verify their information or judge their character. A persons ability to pay bills is really the only character scale I can use without discriminating.

HungryGuy's avatar

Sure, I’ve heard horror stories like that. You’re not the only one who told me I should operate more like a business. But references have always seemed to be a good guide for me, and just renting to whoever has the “highest number” seems impersonal and as risky to me.

What if I go strictly “by the numbers,” and someone with a slightly higher credit rating gives me the creeps over someone else, and I choose that someone else?

Judi's avatar

That’s the problem. A lot of people get the creeps because someone is black, Hispanic or gay. Maybe they’re a single parent or have handicapped. Even if that wasn’t the reason you denied them, if that is the only qualifiable difference you have, they have a case if you are sued. References are the easiest to fake, especially if you’re not running a credit check to verify the address they give you against the ones that show up on their credit report. In 25+ years, I have learned that the numbers are way more reliable than my gut anyway. Some people that totally creeped me out, but qualified ended up being the most consistent rent payers who never bothered their neighbors.
On the few times that I have made an exception based on my compassion and a feeling that these “are good people,” I usually end up with a trashed apartment and angry neighbors.

HungryGuy's avatar

Okay. Thanks for the advice :-)

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