Screening a Foreign National Tenant (no SSN & no TIN)

11 Replies

What resources (including paid) might you have used and / or came across to screen foreign national tenants (without social security number or Tax ID Number)? Thank you so much in advance for you kind response on here and / or a direct message.

@Malgorzata Sadowska I have foreign immigrant tenants in my triplex They were inherited . You have very little to go on . You judge by personality , what lIttle paperwork and acccount Ingo you can get and most Importantly trust your gut . You must he able to size people up No exact science to screen internationally that I know of or atleady have publIc access to , my tenants came from. Third world hell holes so even a c class apartment is luxurious to them and they have lIttle demands . If your lucky they speak English or have a family member who can help . Even better a person who is a citizen that can sign and vouch for them as a backup on the lease and for utility companies

@Dennis M. I really appreciate you for responding. Exactly what I do.... This is a FAVOR that am doing for a foreign family = an inexpensive rental (you know, for good karma:) and it's turning into lots of detective work....  The association of the building where they want to rent demands the screening, yet, they don't perform one for international tenants. I know one is possible via interpol resources, yet, I have no idea how to request / perform. Have only witnessed a large association performing such....

@Lior Reich -I wish this was my property. Being an immigrant myself, I would love me some hard working immigrant tenants. As I mentioned above, this is an association requirement for a rental real estate client am doing a favor for....  

 Are they legal or illegal? Legal means applying for social security number shouldn't be an issue. Ask the propsective tenant to run a background check in their home country, get it notarized  and submit it. 

Do they have bank account in U.S? If so, Ask them to get a copy of the bank statement.

Get copies of passport and visa and have them notarized to establish their legal name and status.

Ask the propsective tenant if they have relatives or friends who can be added to the lease? This would make the landlord more comfortable.

What is the security deposit (How many months?). Double up/Triple up  the security deposit. That should alleviate concerns about the new tenant as they establish their foot in the states.

@Vic Iyer That’s valid advise . The only issue I see is trying to double or triple the deposit which is not even legal in many states . Even if you can do it ,the reality is Foreigners tend to not have income that could warrant that arrangement they are in a new country just getting acclimated . Your going to scare off applicants by trying to get heavy deposits

@Malgorzata Sadowska I'm a foreigner (Canadian, not an immigrant) but I have an SSN. Plus, I don't see how someone isn't able to provide any form of identification or means through which you can trace them similar to what everyone else has to do during the application process. 

You might be breaking the law by charging a higher security deposit. Maybe you can put them on a weekly payment schedule? This way everyone is on the same page with minimal hassles. 

In my opinion, the amount of security deposit you collect should definitely be determined by the amount of risk you attach to your potential tenant.

In Florida, there's no statutory limit on security deposits at the state level. So offering twice or thrice the security deposit because of lack of credit history is not illegal. 


Very beneficial points. Again, am merely looking to satisfy condo association's requirement...  This is NOT my own property. Doing someone a favor-not sure if they are legal...  Will request they submit notarized background check from their country.  Great idea @Vic Iyer