Potential Tenant w/o Green Card

7 Replies

Hello all,

I have a very young married couple and the son's mother looking to rent my SFH. Once we began the screening process, I was told that the mother does not yet have her green card. The couple are both US citizens. I am not able to do a proper screening of the mother, but she is the breadwinner among the three.

Should I even attempt to move forward with them?





@Aralyn Austin you get a SSN when you apply for your visa as a legal immigrant. If she has no ssn she most likely has no visa and definitely no green card. Ask for an itin which is issued by the irs so she can pay taxes. People like her are difficult or impossible to screen in the US without ssn. But you can ask for paystubs and do an employer verification. Also with her help you can screen her through the police department in the local jurisdiction where she is from. Thoroughly screen anyone who is over 18 and will be on the lease-breadwinner or not. All the best!

If she's working legally, she will have a SSN, even if she doesn't have a green card.  You can have a right to work permit, with a SSN, and not have a green card.

I volunteer with ESL second language students who are usually spouses of IT workers here on work visas.  I'm somewhat familiar with the laws.

I'd tell them you need an applicant who has a SSN, and anyone working legally will have one, regardless of citizenship, and sorry, you'll have to turn them down if they can't provide proof of legal income.  In CA, you have to allow them to pool their resources to meet your income requirements, but you have the right, in my opinion, to require proof of all of their credit scores and legal income.

Worst case scenario, they get a legal aid person to confront you.  If that happens, then hire a lawyer to deal with it.  I've encountered some real idiot bully legal aid law students.  Just because they are working for or volunteering for a legal aid organization, or they are a law student or even a newly bar-passed lawyer, doesn't mean they know what they're doing or aren't bluffing you.

Good luck.  I have a bachelors in law, have worked for lawyers, was a PM in CA for many years - and that's what I'd do, for what it's worth, based on my knowledge and experience.

Oh, and whenever I pushed back on the legal aid bullies regarding what my criteria was for denying "their" applicants, they backed down every single time.  Without a fight.  So, they knew they were full of it, or found out they were wrong, after consulting with their supervisors.

Originally posted by @Aralyn Austin :

Hello all,

I have a very young married couple and the son's mother looking to rent my SFH. Once we began the screening process, I was told that the mother does not yet have her green card. The couple are both US citizens. I am not able to do a proper screening of the mother, but she is the breadwinner among the three.

Should I even attempt to move forward with them?


So, they are married, no income (and don't want you to run
credit/bkgrnd checks, right?) and living off what Mom can make cash,
under the table (so, no check possible here, as no SSN). That would be a hard pass, for me.

Set your criteria - all adults 18+ must have credit and background checks done. Income must be provable (not cash under table or drug income). You can't discriminate on immigration status in most places - but you can require that someone be able to get utilities in their name (and no keys until that happens). That reduces the chances they've burned the utility company multiple times in the past, but doesn't eliminate it entirely -- unless you put the SSN on the lease, which is required to be shown by our utility companies, so they run all of them at their end, too. Those with zero legal documents (not just green cards, but work visas and other status are legal) can't get power turned on at all, so are locked out here from long term rentals. Which is why the weekly motels tend to attract them.


Originally posted by @Karen O. :
Originally posted by @Aralyn Austin:

Hello all,

I have a very young married couple and the son's mother looking to rent my SFH. Once we began the screening process, I was told that the mother does not yet have her green card. The couple are both US citizens. I am not able to do a proper screening of the mother, but she is the breadwinner among the three.

Should I even attempt to move forward with them?


So, they are married, no income (and don't want you to run
credit/bkgrnd checks, right?) and living off what Mom can make cash,
under the table (so, no check possible here, as no SSN). That would be a hard pass, for me.

Set your criteria - all adults 18+ must have credit and background checks done. Income must be provable (not cash under table or drug income). You can't discriminate on immigration status in most places - but you can require that someone be able to get utilities in their name (and no keys until that happens). That reduces the chances they've burned the utility company multiple times in the past, but doesn't eliminate it entirely -- unless you put the SSN on the lease, which is required to be shown by our utility companies, so they run all of them at their end, too. Those with zero legal documents (not just green cards, but work visas and other status are legal) can't get power turned on at all, so are locked out here from long term rentals. Which is why the weekly motels tend to attract them.

Thank you for the input!

The married couple does have some income, but it is not nearly what the mother makes. I’ve run credit checks on the two of them, but when it was the mothers turn, that’s when I was told she did not have an SSN.

I did speak with her two precious landlords that have positive feedback. I reached out to her employer as well, who told me she has been a contractor with the company for 4 years and confirmed her income. 

I’m considering asking for first and last months rent in addition to a security deposit as @Danny Webber suggested.