Does it necessary to collect lease signer's drivers license info?

12 Replies

I rent my house to a couple, after tenants signed the lease but before I hand over the keys to tenants. I asked the signers to provide a copy of their drivers' licenses to me. They asked me to provide them a solid rationale reason why this is required. As a landlord, I need to keep a copy of their drivers' license on file, what should I tell them about the reason to collect the drivers' license?

Updated about 2 years ago

Thank you all for your prompt and valuable responses to my initial post, greatly appreciated! I did insist on collecting the DL before hand over keys, now they are asking to terminate the lease contract that we both have signed, and it already started on 7/19. What should I do, please advise.

@Wendy Home ;

It's prudent for you to do so. All you have to state is "It's my policy, and it allows me to verify that my tenants are who they say they are". No licence, no lease.

I keep a copy and shred the copy once the lease is over.

You have to verify they are who they say they are and that it matches up to the information provided on their application. 

At the end of the day, as a landlord you’re turning over the keys to an asset likely worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I don’t think asking for a simple photocopy of the ID for the person you’re entrusting with this asset is too much to ask. I wouldn’t budge on this if I were you. 

Its a legal form of ID..... a way to verify the info they have provided.

I can see some reasonable apprehension with concerns about identity theft, but this would also raise some concerns about what they are trying to hide....now I want more info... not less

No valid legal ID, then no lease....no exception

Thank you all for your prompt and valuable responses to my initial post, greatly appreciated! I did insist on collecting the DL before hand over keys, now they are asking to terminate the lease contract that we both have signed, and it already started on 7/19. What should I do? please advise.

@Wendy Home now it is up to you to decide if it is worth it.  As @Jim Cummings says it is much easier to get this when doing the application process.  That's when I collect all information.  I check all ID's at application time.  Otherwise how do you know the person you are running the background check on is the person that's filling out the paperwork?  Picture government ID, that's how.  If you haven't seen the licenses to verify the people in front of you match the government issued ID, and that matches what was filled out on the application then I would not be letting them in to my property.  

@Wendy Home ,

(Great name by the way)

Wendy, 

We won't SHOW a vacant unit without a copy of the prospects state-issued photo ID.  You MUST know who you are dealing with from the get-go.  They balk at that?  Next!

I will let them go, as they asked to terminate the contract. But he asked for a full refund of the rent which he had already paid to me. Is it appropriate to ask for a compensation for my lost of rent caused by his request of early lease termination?

It is also a way to prove the identification of your tenant. It is legal for you to do so. You need to check their identity, and they need to provide related documents to help you check their background. You can tell them if they don’t provide it, you will not sign a lease with them.