What Happens When A You Can’t Verify A Birthday and Social?


When someone applies to rent your rental property, the first thing that you will do is run their credit. The credit reporting agency will attempt to verify a birthday and social security number every time credit is run.  

I recently had someone apply to rent a house and the credit reporting agency stated that it was unable to verify a birthday. 

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Information Cannot Be Verified

Then, about a week later, I had another one state that the social security number could not be verified. 

Not being able to verify a social security number is not unusual when you are running credit on students. They typically don’t have any credit at all and their social security numbers can’t be verified.  I always tell them to look into this issue since it could be a problem down the road.

However, it is not as common once you get applicants that have real jobs.  Not being able to verify a birthday or a social security number is not normal in these situations. Applicants that have jobs where they are getting paid under the table tend to have this issue. These people also tend to pay for everything in cash and haven’t built any credit. 

When you are dealing with an application who should have established credit, not being able to verify a birthday or a social security number is almost always a huge red flag that there is something wrong.

verify a birthday

Verify That The Correct Information Has Been Provided

Always go back and verify that the correct birthday and social security have been provided.  It is very easy for an applicant to transpose a number or two which causes the miss match.  I always call the applicant and try to figure out if it is a simple fix. 

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In one case, upon further review of one birthday that could not be verified, we found that the applicant had transposed a number on his birthday. This mistake was able to be fixed but it required me to run his credit again. 

Another applicant with a social security number that could not be verified turned out to be a problem.  This applicant disappeared when I started asking questions and would not call me back. In this case, I am pretty sure this person was using a social security number that did not belong to her.


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What Are Your Options?

  1. The first option is to not rent to this person and you are certainly within your rights to deny them. If you can’t get the social security number or birthday to match the applicant’s name, that is an issue.  You can simply advise this person that you can’t consider him for a property until the issue is fixed.
  2. Another option is to have the applicant show you a social security card and a birth certificate to verify his identity.  Several landlords that I know have done this. In some cases, they require a larger deposit and /or prepayment of two or three months’ rent.
  3. A third option is to have the applicant get a co-signer. This is common practice with student rentals anyway and it makes the applicant less risky.



verify a birthday

What Does This Mean

This is not an issue that you should be running across all the time, especially if you don’t do student housing.  Responsible adults should have some sort of credit which means their social security number and birthday are attached to their name.

When you own rental property, your goal is to find the best tenant possible.  Unfortunately, most of the applicants that you find will have some sort of credit issues.  You need to operate within the law and consider all tenants without discriminating.

You will have to decide how much risk you are willing to assume.  I have offered some reasonable solutions to information that you can’t verify. It is your job to decide if you want to dig deeper and take a chance on these applicants or you would rather pass.  At the end of the day, it is up to the applicant to try and fix the problem, not you.


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