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I recently moved into an apartment in Chicago and sent my security deposit check to the landlord about 2 weeks before moving in. Now, 1 week after moving in (about 3 weeks after initially sending the check) my landlord has emailed me regarding setting up an account in my name for the security deposit.

In his email he has asked for the following:

  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • SSN
  • Occupation
  • Government issued ID
  • Completed W9

This seems odd to me for several reasons:

  • Is there risk involved in him opening an account under my name? For instance he has some sort of access to it I assume, what if he misuses it in some way and my name is on the account?

  • Email does not seem like the correct place to request all of this sensitive information.

  • Why would he be starting this process just now, 3 weeks later?

The above are just my concerns, my real question is: Is this normal practice/should I provide information as is? If not then what would be the correct course of action?

I apologize if this is in the wrong network, if it belongs somewhere else (i.e. personal finance) let me know and I will move it.

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    I think Money.SE would be better, as none of your questions seem to be related to the law, and in any case we cannot give legal advice on your specific situation. – Nate Eldredge Sep 6 at 16:34
  • There is no conceivable reason the landlord would want to open an account in your name for a legitimate purpose - after all, what's stopping you from taking the money and skipping town if it's in your name? He may need this information for background/credit check purposes, but that would be done before signing the lease. – IllusiveBrian Sep 6 at 19:40
  • @IllusiveBrian Very good point about me being able to take the funds then. I already went through a third party background/credit check before moving in, so he probably never got access to my details. I was able to clarify with the landlord that the account would be under his name and I would only be a beneficiary. Thanks for the advice – wearebob Sep 6 at 19:57
  • @wearebob That makes a little more sense, but I would still ask him to send you the bank's form filled out sufficiently from him for you to complete whatever information they need and give it to the bank directly. – IllusiveBrian Sep 6 at 20:27
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The landlord is complying with a city ordinance that mandates security deposits must earn interest that belongs to you.

A security deposit and interest due thereon shall continue to be the property of the tenant making such deposit, shall not be commingled with the assets of the landlord, and shall not be subject to the claims of any creditor of the landlord or of the landlord’s successors in interest, including a foreclosing mortgagee or trustee in bankruptcy.

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