Can Landlord Ask for Passport

When a landlord is renting out a property, they may ask for a passport as part of the application process. This is to verify the applicant’s identity and immigration status, if necessary. In some cases, it may also be required by law, such as when the landlord is participating in a government-funded housing program. The landlord may also use the passport to run a background check on the applicant. By doing this, the landlord can help to ensure that they are renting to a responsible and trustworthy individual. However, it is important to note that a landlord cannot use the passport to discriminate against an applicant based on their race, religion, or national origin.

Landlord’s Right to Verify Identity

Landlords are entitled to verify the identity of potential tenants. This right helps protect landlords and their properties by ensuring that they rent to individuals who are who they say they are. Landlords may request specific documents to confirm an applicant’s identity, such as a valid government-issued photo ID, passport, driver’s license, or social security number.

Acceptable Forms of ID

  • Valid passport
  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued identification card
  • Military identification card
  • Permanent resident card
  • Social Security card (may be requested but not required)


In some limited circumstances, landlords may not be allowed to request certain forms of identification. For example, landlords in certain jurisdictions may be prohibited from asking for a Social Security number.

Consequences of Not Providing Identification

If a potential tenant refuses to provide the requested identification, the landlord may deny the applicant’s rental application.

Additional Information

Landlords should use caution when collecting and storing personal information from potential tenants. Landlords should have a secure system for storing this information and should only use it for legitimate purposes, such as verifying an applicant’s identity or conducting a background check.

Tenant’s Rights

Tenants have the right to request that their landlord dispose of their personal information in a secure manner once the tenancy has ended.


Landlords have the right to verify the identity of potential tenants to protect themselves and their properties. Landlords can request several forms of identification, but they must comply with applicable laws and regulations.

Summary of Landlord’s Rights and Tenant’s Rights
Landlord’s RightTenant’s Right
Can request identification from potential tenants.Can request that their personal information be disposed of securely.
Can deny an application if the potential tenant refuses to provide identification.

Passport as a Valid Form of Identification

A passport is a travel document issued by a government to its citizens. It serves as proof of identity and nationality and is recognized worldwide. Passports contain personal information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, and a photograph. Some countries also include biometric data such as fingerprints or iris scans.

Passport as a Valid Form of Identification for Renting Property

Landlords may request a passport as a form of identification when renting property. This is because a passport is a secure and reliable way to verify a tenant’s identity. Passports are also difficult to counterfeit, making them a more reliable form of identification than other documents, such as a driver’s license or Social Security card.

In addition to verifying identity, landlords may also use a passport to check a tenant’s immigration status. This is important because landlords are required to ensure that their tenants are legally allowed to live in the United States. Furthermore, landlords may use the passport to verify the tenant’s age, as some rental properties have age restrictions.

However, some individuals may be concerned about providing their passport to a landlord due to privacy concerns. To address these concerns, landlords should only request a passport if it is necessary to verify the tenant’s identity or immigration status. Additionally, landlords should keep the passport information confidential and only use it for the purpose of renting the property.

In some jurisdictions, there are laws that restrict landlords from asking for certain types of identification, including passports. Tenants should check the laws in their jurisdiction to learn more about their rights.

Alternative Forms of Identification for Renting Property

In cases where a tenant does not have a passport or is unable to provide it to the landlord, there are other forms of identification that may be acceptable. These forms of identification may include:

  • Driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Utility bill or bank statement with the tenant’s name and address
Identification DocumentProsCons
PassportSecure and reliable form of identificationMay contain sensitive personal information
Driver’s licenseWidely accepted form of identificationMay not be as secure as a passport
State-issued ID cardGenerally accepted form of identificationMay not be as widely accepted as a passport or driver’s license
Birth certificateOfficial document proving date and place of birthDoes not contain a photograph
Social Security cardOfficial document issued by the U.S. governmentContains sensitive personal information
Utility bill or bank statementProof of residencyDoes not contain a photograph or other identifying information

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to accept a particular form of identification is up to the landlord. Landlords should consider the security and reliability of the identification document, as well as the privacy concerns of the tenant.

Concerns Over Tenant Privacy

Numerous privacy concerns arise when landlords request tenants’ passports, which include:

  • Passport Information Access: Landlords obtain access to sensitive personal information, such as full name, date of birth, place of birth, passport number, and date of issue.
  • Immigration Status: Passports reveal an individual’s immigration status, which is private.
  • Potential Abuse: Unscrupulous landlords might misuse passport information, like sharing it with third parties or using it for discriminatory purposes.
  • Overreach: Passport requests may be viewed as excessive and intrusive, especially when other forms of identification are available.

Tenant Protection Measures:

To safeguard tenants’ privacy, various measures can be taken:

  • Tenant-Landlord Discussions: Landlords and tenants should engage in open discussions to understand why passport information is required.
  • Redacted Information: In cases where passports are essential, tenants can provide redacted copies with sensitive information concealed.
  • Government Advocacy: Tenants can advocate for legislation that limits landlords’ ability to request passports and outlines specific circumstances where such requests are justified.

Alternative Identification Documents:

Instead of passports, tenants can provide alternative identification documents, such as:

  • Government-Issued IDs: These may include driver’s licenses, state IDs, or national identity cards.
  • Rental Application Forms: These forms typically request personal information that can serve as identification.
  • Credit Checks: Credit checks involve verifying an individual’s financial history, which can help establish identity.
Identification DocumentAdvantagesDisadvantages
PassportWidely recognized, contains various personal detailsPotential privacy concerns, not everyone possesses a passport
Government-Issued IDCommonly accepted, includes photo and personal informationMay not be recognized internationally
Rental Application FormProvides basic personal information, often includes referencesMay lack additional security features
Credit CheckVerifies financial history and identityMay not be conclusive proof of identity

Legal Restrictions on Landlord Inquiries

Generally, landlords in the US are prohibited from asking for a passport or other immigration-related documents from potential tenants. However, there are a few circumstances where a landlord may be allowed to ask for a passport:

  • Government Housing Assistance: If a landlord is participating in a government housing assistance program, they may be required to collect documentation of a tenant’s citizenship or immigration status.
  • International Students: Some landlords may ask international students to provide a passport or other proof of their student status.
  • Non-US Citizens: Landlords may ask non-US citizens for proof of their legal status in the US.
  • Tenants from Protected Classes: Landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability.

It’s important to note the following:

  • A landlord cannot ask for a passport or other immigration-related documents from a potential tenant unless they are legally permitted to do so.
  • If you are asked for a passport or other immigration-related documents, you can refuse to provide them.
  • If you feel that you have been discriminated against based on your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Summary of Legal Restrictions on Landlord Inquiries About Immigration Status
LandlordCan Ask for Passport or Other Immigration-Related Documents?Exceptions
Participating in a government housing assistance programYesRequired to collect documentation of citizenship or immigration status
Renting to international studentsIn some casesMay ask for a passport or other proof of student status
Renting to non-US citizensIn some casesMay ask for proof of legal status in the US
Renting to tenants from protected classesNoProhibited from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability

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