Background checks for those without SSN's

My manager just emailed me with a good question. She’s getting a lot of people wanting to purchase a home that claim to be here legally, and are going through the process, but don’t have a SSN yet.

  1. How do you all handle this?
  2. How can you do a background check on them?

NOTE: I said CLAIM to be here legally, not sure even how to verify that.

I have not had this situation, but have seen services that will perform them using other data:

Curious how this ends up working out for you, and which service you use to get there…

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Thanks, good article.

I use RentcDirect. I’ve emailed them the same question.

I would put them at the bottom of my list and tell them to let me know when they finish going through the process and have a SSN.
Having said that I personally would not even consider any applicant that has not been in the country long enough to establish a employment and credit history.

It’s my understanding that most credit/background is done off of linking of names to addresses. The better your information (or less common the name), the better your chances to run a good report. Also, if they are here legally they will have a green card. Green cards have a number on them that is similar to a SSN that might be able to be run through some type of system. (never tried it)

Typically when I run a report on a someone who I suspect is an immigrant (legal or otherwise), their name and addresses match. Their SSN is not a match (possibly because it’s a green card number). I’ve had both criminal and evictions pop up on reports like this. That seems to be the pattern of what they look like.

Maybe have these residents write in their green card number in place of the SSN and present their green card to the manager when they drop off their application. Just to make them jump through an extra hoop to ensure they are legal. I know we probably don’t all have a great deal of faith in the FBI, but so long as they have a green card, you can at least say that from the date of the green card back, you knew their background was clean enough to be allowed into the US legally. Whatever that’s worth is a different discussion. From the green card forward, you should be able to run your background check using names/addresses.

I think you made the right point on this @CharlesD - a SSN has a higher probability for a thorough report than without. I would probably follow @Greg’s advice especially given @Coach62 said his market demand is very good.

Good points above, thanks. Greg, my only concern with your first statement is that may violate fair housing standards, assuming they’re here legally. I don’t think I’m willing to risk giving their lack of citizenship as a reason.

Your right you never give any applicant a reason. You simply place them at the bottom of your list and select the most qualified candidate from all other applicants. It is simply a matter of making choices intended to reduce financial risks.

I would not inform candidates they are not qualified due to the fact that they are not citizens but that would be my practice. To avoid being accused of discrimination you establish screening standards regarding employment, credit etc. which will most likely exclude the groups you do not want. This way you can not be charged with discrimination if coincidently section 8, non citizens etc. do not qualify. Bottom line is as long as you judge all applicants by the same standards accepting the most qualified is not discrimination.

True. In the US you automatically exclude section 8 if you don’t rent homes, only sell them.

If you have a ton of tenants, just disqualify without reason.
In a previous venture, I ran a background check company:
Most background checks use the credit header from the SSN to perform address checks, and then use that to match all the data and exclude spurious names but same addresses. That’s the short answer, and it can definitely influence anything not being done by hand.

Also note that in California, you can’t inquire as to the legality of a persons residence in the country. Can’t say that I’ve heard that in any other state, though.