Apartment Living Tips

What Is A Government-Issued Identification Number In An Apartment Application?

Government-issued identification numbers play a crucial role in apartment applications. These unique numbers, assigned by government agencies, serve as reliable tools for verifying an individual’s identity. Commonly found on government-issued documents like driver’s licenses, passports, and state identification cards, these numbers are often requested by landlords and property managers during the rental application process.

This requirement stems from the need to verify the applicant’s identity, conduct thorough background checks, create lease agreements, and process rent payments.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the significance of government-issued identification numbers in apartment applications, their role in the renting process, and what you need to know to navigate this crucial step.

Why Landlords and Property Managers Require Them

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Here are some of the reasons why landlords and property managers require applicants to provide their government-issued identification number on their rental application:

1. Identity Verification:

Your government-issued identification number plays a crucial role in confirming your identity, making it the gold standard for landlords when they’re screening applicants. This is a key step in safeguarding their property and ensuring that they are renting to the right person.

2. Background Checks:

Property managers and landlords often conduct comprehensive background checks on potential tenants. Your identification number provides them with access to essential information, including your credit history, criminal background, and rental history. This data assists landlords in assessing your suitability as a tenant and evaluating any potential financial risks.

3. Creating the Lease Agreement:

The lease agreement is a binding legal contract between you and the landlord. Having your correct name and government-issued identification number on the lease agreement is essential. It ensures that all parties involved are protected and the terms of the lease are properly enforced.

4. To process rent payments:

Some landlords may use the government-issued identification number to process rent payments, such as through direct deposit or electronic payments.

Types of Government-Issued Identification Numbers Acceptable on Apartment Applications

Landlords and property managers typically accept various types of government-issued identification numbers on apartment applications, as long as they serve the purpose of verifying identity and facilitating background checks. Here are the most common types accepted:

  1. Social Security Number (SSN): In the United States, the SSN is a ubiquitous form of identification used for many purposes, including apartment applications.
  2. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN): This is often used by individuals who aren’t eligible for an SSN but still need to file taxes or complete various financial transactions.
  3. Driver’s License Number: A driver’s license is not only used for driving but also serves as a valid form of identification.
  4. Passport Number: For international applicants, a passport number is a commonly accepted form of identification.
  5. State Identification Card Number: Many states issue identification cards that are similar to driver’s licenses but are designed for individuals who don’t drive.

While these are the most common government-issued identification numbers accepted on apartment applications, landlords and property managers may also consider other forms of identification, such as an Alien Registration Number (A-number), Permanent Resident Card number (green card), or military identification number, depending on local regulations and the specific requirements of the rental application process.

What to Do If You Don’t Have a Government-Issued Identification Number

Not having a traditional government-issued identification number can be a hurdle in the apartment application process, but there are alternatives and solutions available for those who find themselves in this situation:

1. School ID:

If you’re a student, your school identification card can sometimes be used as an alternative form of identification. It may not be as widely accepted as government-issued IDs, but some landlords may consider it.

2. Work ID:

An employee identification card from your workplace is another option to consider. Like a school ID, it may not be universally accepted but can be useful when dealing with smaller property management companies or individual landlords.

3. Birth Certificate:

Your birth certificate is a universally accepted document that can serve as proof of your identity. However, you may need to provide additional forms of identification or documentation to supplement it.

4. Contact Local Government Agencies:

In some cases, it may be possible to obtain a government-issued identification number from your local government agency. This can involve obtaining a state ID or other similar documents. Research the specific requirements and procedures in your area.

Safety Concerns and Protecting Personal Information:

How to protect your government-issued identification number in an apartment application from fraud

Sharing your government-issued identification number is generally safe when applying for an apartment, especially when dealing with reputable landlords or property managers. However, it’s crucial to safeguard your personal information and be aware of potential risks. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Apply to Reputable Landlords or Property Managers:

Start your apartment search by looking for listings from well-established and trustworthy landlords or property management companies. Reputable professionals are more likely to handle your personal information responsibly.

2. Beware of Unsolicited Contacts:

Be cautious when providing your personal information to unsolicited contacts or unfamiliar parties. Scammers can pose as landlords or property managers to steal your data. Always verify the legitimacy of the person or organization before sharing information.

3. Review Privacy Policies:

Take the time to read the privacy policy of the landlord or property management company. Understand how they handle and protect your personal data. Reputable entities should have clear privacy policies in place.

4. Consider Credit Freezes or Fraud Alerts:

To protect your credit and financial information, you can consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports. These measures can help prevent unauthorized access to your credit history and personal data.

5. Communication is Key:

If you have any concerns about providing your government-issued identification number, don’t hesitate to communicate with the landlord or property manager. Discuss your worries and ask about their data security practices to ensure your information is handled responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I think my government-issued identification number has been compromised?

If you suspect your government-issued identification number has been compromised, such as your SSN, contact the issuing agency right away. Additionally, keep a close eye on your credit reports for any signs of fraud. You can obtain a free annual credit report from each of the major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. Should you discover any suspicious activity on your reports, reach out to the creditors and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for assistance in disputing the fraud and safeguarding your credit.

What are the risks of providing my government-issued identification number on an apartment application?

Providing your government-issued identification number on an apartment application carries potential risks, including identity theft, discrimination, and data breaches. These risks may arise if the landlord or property manager is untrustworthy, engages in discrimination, or experiences a security breach.

What are the benefits of providing my government-issued identification number on an apartment application?

Providing your government-issued identification number on an apartment application offers several advantages, such as expediting the application process, signaling your seriousness as an applicant, showcasing your creditworthiness, and contributing to your rental history.


Understanding “What is a government-issued identification number in an apartment application” is fundamental for both landlords and tenants. Your government-issued identification number not only verifies your identity but also plays a pivotal role in the background check process and in creating a legally binding lease agreement. By being informed and taking necessary precautions, you can navigate the application process with confidence, ensuring your data remains secure throughout the journey to securing your ideal apartment.

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