Can a Landlord Check Bank Balances on a Rental Application?

2019-01-28

Can a Landlord Check Bank Balances on a Rental Application?

Landlords want to rent to stable, reliable tenants – not someone who keeps his cash under the mattress.

A bank sign.” Title=”Landlords can request any information that would be objectively indicative of your ability to pay rent. Often, tenants are asked to prove their creditworthiness during their rental application. Landlords need to check a renter’s employment and eviction history as well as some personal background. After obtaining this information, the Landlord now can make a decision whether or not you are a suitable tenant to lease his property to. One of the information the landlord will ask is your bank balance. However, you can always refuse to divulge such personal information.

Tenant Screening
At this phase in your application, the Landlord can legally ask for any information that can confirm your capability to pay the rent. He can establish your financial strength by comparing your monthly income against your monthly payments. A landlord can also obtain credit report and copies of your bank statements with your consent.

Why the Landlord wants Bank Details
Landlords only want to rent to reliable, stable tenants. By asking for your bank details, the landlord is able to confirm that you actually hold an account and that your monthly income, less your expenditures, is enough to cover the rent. Another reason for Landlords to want to know your account number is for security in the eventuality that you may fail to pay the rent. If the landlord has to sue you for lease violation, he can seek a court order to allow him to take money directly from your account to pay a judgment debt.

You Can Say No
Just as the landlord has the right to ask for your bank balance, you likewise have the right to say no. It’s a difficult decision for a tenant. You may find it uncomfortable to supply confidential information; however you know that by refusing to give your bank details, you are also putting your rental application at risk of being disapproved. There are various reasons that landlords can refuse to rent to you as long as they do not violate discrimination laws.

Alternative Sources of Information
Fortunately, showing your bank statements is not the only way to prove your income. Your certificate of employment validating your job and remuneration, plus your actual pay stubs are also alternative sources of information. You can also provide a copy of your bank statement showing your account balance but with your account number blacked out. However your landlord may still see your account number in another way, like printed on the check for your screening fee or holding deposit.

Bank’s Duty of Confidentiality
But don’t fret. Even if your landlord gets hold of your bank account number, he really can’t do much with it without your consent. In most cases, a bank can’t disclose to a third party, any non-public information such as your bank balance unless a court orders it to do so.

26 thoughts on “Can a Landlord Check Bank Balances on a Rental Application?

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  2. Hi ,
    I’m filling out an application for a rental home and the application is asking to provide information Marion from my bank such as my bank account and my current balance, my question is if he gets a hold of this information on a application that he gave to me can he actually see my bank account balance ?

    1. It is unlikely someone could check your bank balance without your bank account number and proper authorization. Of course, hackers often find ways.

    2. im looking to rent a apt the landlord wants on my application my checking and savings account numbers. do i have to do that.

  3. I live in a 55+ community mobile home. We have new owners, there wanted us to have Auto payment, do we have to do this. Plus they want are banking information, do we have to do that to.
    Thanks

    1. You do not have to cooperate with Auto-pay request, but then they may be able to charge you an extra fee for NOT doing so.

      They probably want your banking info so they can auto-deduct rent, but you don’t have to give this to them either.

      1. That is the truth they no right to your account number balance or 3 months payment can the owner prove they will make the payment

        1. Your response is a bit confusing.

          There are no laws stopping a landlord from requiring a bank statement, with the account number on it, from an applicant or tenant. When they rent to a tenant, they give that tenant possession of a home worth tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. The tenant could potentially cause many thousands of dollars of damage to that home. So, who has more to lose, the landlord or the tenant?

          There are laws stopping a landlord from randomly accessing your bank account.

  4. I have been asked to provide bank mane and phone number as well as my bank accounts number both check and saving for a rental property. Is there a way to provide that income without disclosing such confidential information.

    1. You don’t have to supply them, but then the landlord doesn’t have to accept or approve your application.

      You could try to negotiate to give them bank statements with blacked out account numbers, but they do not have to accept that info.

  5. Do a landlord has the right to go through your bank statement and ask why you have money coming in or going out your cash app? And should I only have to show them I no longer work for a company with just a letter saying that?

    1. There is nothing illegal about a landlord askingyou for this info.

      You also do not have to give it to them, but then they do not have to approve your application.

      FYI, some of the reasons a landlord might be concerned about these things:
      1) Are you paying someone back a person loan?
      2) Are you engaged in illegal activities?
      3) Have you been consistently working or taking time off between jobs?

      Good luck:)

  6. Hello
    I am very upset and looking to speak to attorney about this matter.
    I was disclosing my bank account to the landlord to pass on to the rental company which was fine and felt it was in good hands well last month my landlord ask me if she could barrow $5000 dollars from me and I am like wtf and very upset plus she used my info for my bank statement knowing what was in my account and text me after I told her no and I am very upset because she hangs out with other tenants and I’m sure she disclosed my money info also.
    I went to at my rent at corporate and disclosed this to the office text and ask her to keep it private but I have a feeling she told the landlord because I text the landlord about my parking with a new car and needing a new sticker for parking and not text back.
    I m very upset and very uncomfortable about this matter and should not have to deal with this.

    1. We’re not sure if any laws have been broken.

      Let’s first clarify titles, so we’re on the same page.
      Landlord – “lord of the land” and typically the actual owner
      Property Management Company (PMC) – hired by the landlord to actually manage the property
      Property Manager (PM) or Agent – person at the management company that shows properties, deals with leases, etc.

      As you detailed, the “landlord” person (actually a PM), sounds like they work for the rental company (PMC). So, they can disclose your information and even share it with the property owner.

      You do have a valid complaint about the request to borrow money, which was unethical, but not illegal. Not sure how far you will get with a lawsuit about it though.

      You should question the professionalism of this company, file a written complaint with their office and perhaps look elsewhere to rent.

      This is not legal advice, so check with an attorney.

  7. My daughter is looking to rent an apartment. She’s extremely thrifty and has saved enough for a down payment for a house, but with the current market has decided to rent. The property manager- leasing agent saw her balance and asked her to provide source of the deposits. Is that legal?

    1. Uncommon, but entirely legal.

      The PM may be concerned the funds are from illegal sources.

      She could try to give them 3 monthls of statements proving she’s carried a consistent balance with consistent deposits.

    1. An increasing number of landlords are using bank statements, to combat fraud, to verifying income deposits.

      They may also use them to establish if an applicant has a savings history or is living paycheck-to-paycheck.

      You do not need to cooperate with any landlord requests, but then they don’t have to approve your application.

  8. I rented an apt in May and provided a bank statement but I blacked out acct # and transactions. Left balance and deposits to be seen. They accepted it.

  9. I’m a life insurance agent and do not get pay stubs. I submitted an application for an apartment which contained my bank statements for the last 3 months. The office got back to me that they needed to see proof that I have 3 years of rent in my savings account. That would be about $80,000. That doesn’t seem reasonable to me. He said I needed that because I’m submitting bank statements instead of paystubs.

    1. For the most part, every landlord is able to dictate their requirements as there are very few laws that manage the tenant approval process.

      As it appears you are self-employed, did you discuss with them about submitting your most recent tax return to prove your income?

      1. That will be my next step but I’m not sure they’ll back down on the savings requirement even after I submit my taxes. My employer also submitted an offer letter and a letter stating my income.

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