If you are hunting around for a place to live and finding that landlords are asking for your bank statement, you are not alone.
It’s a common practice and, although the information in your bank statement may seem like a highly private matter, landlords often use banks statements as a way to verify many things that they feel are important to determining if you will be a good tenant.
Mainly, a bank statement can be a way to determine income and assets, but it can also show outgoing expenses, such as debt payments and the like.
If your bank statements are constantly showing overdrafts and negative balances, that can also signal financial instability or an inability to manage your finances. Obviously, a landlord would want to know if a prospective tenant falls into these categories.
Finally, knowing a bank account number could come in handy in the event that a tenant fails to make rental payments and the landlord needs to collect. If they get a judgment against you, they may be able to get money from that account to satisfy the judgment.
So we know why a landlord would find examining bank statements helpful, but is it allowed? Do you have to provide it if they ask?
That’s what we are going to explore in this article.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
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Can My Landlord Ask for My Bank Statement?
The short answer is that a landlord can ask for your bank statement in connection with your rental application, but you are under no obligation to provide it.
As mentioned, your bank statement can be used to provide evidence of income, and can show that you actually have money to pay for things like the security deposit, rent, and other expenses.
When screening your tenant application, the landlord will establish your financial strength based on your income, assets, debt, and expenses. They can also see how well you have managed your debt obligations by requesting credit reports and performing background checks.
All of these things will factor into their decision with respect to your application.
Now, I want to reiterate that landlords cannot force you to provide bank statements. It’s ultimately your choice, but refusing to do so may result in your application being rejected.
What if I Do Not Want to Share My Bank Statement, But Still Want to Get Approved?
If you can offer alternative documents that provide the information that the landlord is looking for, you may be able to withhold your bank statement.
This could include your recent paystubs, W-2s, tax returns, offer letters (if you recently joined your job) and so on. You could also provide the landlord with contact information for your HR department (who could also verify your salary details).
All of these are fairly reliable ways to prove income.
As far as proving assets go, you can print out the bank statement (or other relevant document), but redact all transaction activity and just show the balance.
Debt statements can also be provided (and are usually reflected in credit reports anyway).
So there are a lot of options when it comes to giving landlords the information they want. It may not hurt to offer them these types of alternatives if you feel that sharing your bank statement is too intrusive.
Bear in mind that landlords may have multiple people interested in their property (especially in a hot rental market), so they may just go with the applicant who is easiest to work with (provided they are also qualified).
Throwing up roadblocks could hurt your changes of getting the rental, even through you are acting reasonably and trying to make it work for both of you
So there you have it – a clear answer to the question of a landlord can ask for a bank statement and some alternatives you can offer if your don’t want to share your bank statement. Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!