2

A roommate and I are applying to apartments and rental houses in Baltimore, Maryland.

One landlord gave us a form for us to fill out references for our employment and past rentals.

We felt the form was pretty invasive because it collected a lot of personal information not directly related to evaluating us as tenants. In particular, it asked for: our SSNs, our drivers license IDs, our current address, it requested to inspect our current residence, etc.

Despite our better judgement, we filled it out anyway.

In following up on our employment references, he forwarded the entire reference form to my employer. This is deeply disturbing to us. Especially because my employer obviously doesn't have my roommate's SSN.

Is this a violation of our rights? If so, which laws did he violate?

1

The Maryland Social Security Number Privacy Act could be relevant. There are limits on how a SSN can be transmitted, but one context where it is allowed is:

(b) (1) The collection, release, or use of an individual's Social Security number as required by State or federal law;

(2) The inclusion of an individual's Social Security number in an application, form, or document sent by mail, electronically transmitted, or transmitted by facsimile:

(i) As part of an application or enrollment process;

(ii) To establish, amend, or terminate an account, contract, or policy; or

(iii) To confirm the accuracy of the individual's Social Security number;

Use of SS numbers is common (though not mandatory) in running credit and background checks. There are no apparent restrictions on revealing a person's driver's license number.

  • So if I understand it correctly, that wouldn't protect the landlord because he unnecessarily transmitted the SSNs to my employer. Does that sound correct? – scheming_and_trees Jun 3 '17 at 16:17
  • Unfortunately, it is allowed as "part of an application process". That does not mean that you have to be applying to the employer for something – you are applying to the landlord, and that SS number is part of that process. Thus is is legal and common to transmit SS numbers to credit bureaus, when applying for an apartment. The current law does not limit such transmission to "just those absolutely necessary". – user6726 Jun 3 '17 at 18:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.