Author Topic: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?  (Read 1744 times)

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Hillia

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Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« on: December 20, 2012, 11:08:56 PM »
DH and I will be relocating out of state very soon (yay!).  I've been contacting property management places that I find online to try to get a rental agreement at least started before we move up there - I do not want to be camped out at the Motel 6 with 3 dogs and a 24' UHaul while we scramble around trying to find somewhere.

I've lived in rentals continuously for the past 10 years and have filled out a lot of applications, so I'm familiar with the usual questions about rental history, criminal history, and employment, and I'm used to providing my SSN for background checks and credit history.  But one rental agency's application really surprised me.  In addition to the 'usual' questions, they want my bank account number and credit references, including account numbers.  No way am I providing that info to anyone.  I can't imagine what good it would do them anyway, as the bank and credit card companies certainly aren't going to provide info about my accounts (at least they'd better not) other than what's on a standard credit check.  I just left those questions blank, and if that disaqualifies me, oh well.

Has anyone else seen this on rental applications, or use it themselves for those who manage rentals?

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Slartibartfast

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 11:24:49 PM »
The bank account number I don't see as odd - it's the same info that's printed on your checks, and they shouldn't be able to do anything with it unless they won an eviction settlement against you and a judge mandated that you pay them back.  (I don't know for sure but it seems like they'd be much more likely to actually get the money they're owed if they can show the judge you're not broke, you're just not willing to pay them.)  I would definitely shy away from anything that involved credit card numbers - if they want your credit report they need to pony up the $$ and buy one just like everyone else.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 11:43:19 PM »
DH is co-signer for DS1's apartment.  The property management firm asked for bank account number but not credit card number.

Good luck with your move!

valkyrie

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 12:34:12 AM »
I have rented two times in Manhattan in six months (long, involved story that I don't want on the board).  That all sounds normal. Expect a credit check, needing to print three months of bank statements and show pay stubs in addition to the bank account number. 

Make sure you investigate your realtor or broker before handing these things over -- make sure that they are licensed with the appropriate folks in your area, and maybe call around.  I have not had problems.

One thing I did do for my own piece of mind was sign up for a monthly credit report with one of the three big companies just in case.  Though, in my scenario there were complicating factors that made that a prudent step which would not apply to your situation.

magician5

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 07:47:45 AM »
If they want your credit info they can pull a credit report on you (which they are well equipped to do as they do it daily) and get all the info they need. I'd be reluctant to hand over any of my numbers.
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LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 08:08:16 AM »
A couple of years ago, I would have said that that was a bit over the top. However, I've lived in some pretty bad places, ending with the last place, where drug deals happened in the next apartment, and someone kicked a big hole in my door (a hollow core door???) to rob my apartment.

The place I live in now did a credit check, called my last apartment complex, my manager at work, and checked a lot of things that nobody else had checked.  As a result, this has been the best place I've ever lived.  There are no deadbeats, no (overt) drug dealers, and no riffraff. 

However, I don't think I've ever been asked for my bank account number, or a credit card.  That would have been a problem, since I don't *have* a credit card!

Wulfie

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2012, 09:57:40 AM »
Very standard questions now days. The reason that they ask for that is to use it for comparing found info to your application to make sure they have the right person. It is scary how many people come in and apply for an apartment with someone else's information.


Hillia

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2012, 10:42:16 AM »
Wow, I had no idea applications could get so detailed!  I never even thought about the bank account number being on checks because I haven't used checks in about 7 years; I use cash or a debit card in stores, and do all my bill paying on line.  I have never even had a checkbook for my current account.

Like I said, I expected them to pull a credit report and background report, looking for criminal activity, and I appreciate that, but the credit card numbers seemed a bit off.  We'll see what kind of response I get - I know the property manager plans to pull a credit report, because they're charging me $30 to do it.

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PastryGoddess

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2012, 11:40:46 AM »
I don't think they were asking for credit card numbers, but for account information that was on her credit report.  It sounds like they want to verify you are who you say you are, since there are a lot of people who will apply with someone else's information.

If it is on the application, then it is legal in that state to ask for that information I believe.

Girlie

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2012, 02:11:45 PM »
The bank account number I don't see as odd - it's the same info that's printed on your checks, and they shouldn't be able to do anything with it unless they won an eviction settlement against you and a judge mandated that you pay them back.  (I don't know for sure but it seems like they'd be much more likely to actually get the money they're owed if they can show the judge you're not broke, you're just not willing to pay them.)  I would definitely shy away from anything that involved credit card numbers - if they want your credit report they need to pony up the $$ and buy one just like everyone else.

I just want to state that they should never have this information, whether or not they have your account numbers. Banks are not allowed to disclose this information to anyone just because someone owes them money.

oceanus

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2012, 11:59:08 PM »
Not unusual these days.

Most rental companies and many private landlords charge a non-refundable application/credit check fee, and they often wonít accept cash.  So your check would show your bank account number.  At some point they may want to find out if there has been a problem with NSF checks.  Theyíre not going to ask how much you have in the bank and the bank isnít allowed to disclose that information anyway.  But the longer youíve had a bank account in good standing, the better.

These days with direct deposit if someone doesnít have a bank account and only deals in cash that might be a red flag. 

If I was a landlord I would dig deeper than just a credit check.  Iíd run a police check to see if there had been police calls at a personís address (domestic violence, excessive noise, etc.)  Just because someone pays their bills doesnít necessarily mean they are an ideal tenant.  There is a service for rental companies (federal adjustment bureau) that gives detailed information about a personís rental history.

Regarding some other comments about collection of money owed, the only way a creditor can get money from (garnishee) a personís bank account is to file suit, get a judgment, and the debtor would be informed about this way in advance anyway.  (Most deadbeats empty out/close their bank account way before any of this happens.)  All that has nothing to do with rental applications.

Wulfie

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2012, 12:34:09 AM »
If I was a landlord I would dig deeper than just a credit check.  Iíd run a police check to see if there had been police calls at a personís address (domestic violence, excessive noise, etc.)  Just because someone pays their bills doesnít necessarily mean they are an ideal tenant.  There is a service for rental companies (federal adjustment bureau) that gives detailed information about a personís rental history.

If only we could do that! In my state it is illegal to run a police check like that. I REALLY wish we could however! The closest thing that we can do is look at the crime report statistics for the area they reside in. The report I look at shows what kinds of activities are going on in an area for the last 30 days. It shows by block not by house number but you can get an idea if there are a lot of violent crimes committed nearby and their background check results to see if the two may be related. It is really only helpful if they are coming from a house instead of an apartment complex but for those few that do it does help a bit. 

Also there is a law in the US called the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA for short) that prohibits us from refusing to rent to someone for being the victim of DV.  If the police told us that they had frequent DV calls to that address there would be a case that could be made stating that we were in violation of VAWA. For the most part, VAWA is a fantastic law that (and this is REALLY rare) benefits both the landlord and the tenant if the tenant is the victim.

oceanus

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Re: Rental application questions - is this normal or over the top?
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2012, 12:45:03 AM »
Quote
If only we could do that! In my state it is illegal to run a police check like that. I REALLY wish we could however!

hmmm. 

Try www.(city)police.org.  Go to 'incident reports'.