Can a Landlord Check Bank Account Balance? [Answered with Alternative Options]

If you are wondering whether a landlord is permitted to check a tenant’s checking account balance as part of the rental application process, you are in the right place.

Many landlords will insist on seeing this information (as well as the bank statement) to confirm that a potential tenant has enough funds in their checking account to cover the security deposit and the first month’s rent (or any other upfront costs that may be needed).

But many tenants may be reluctant to share such personal financial information with someone they don’t know. This can lead to misunderstandings and ultimately lost rental opportunities (for both the landlord and the prospective tenant) if not handled correctly.

In this article, I am going to answer whether a landlord is allowed to check a potential tenant’s checking account balance, the reasons behind this type of request, and the need to balance that against a tenant’s need for (and right to) privacy.

I’ll also include possible alternatives to this information that may be less sensitive for the tenant but that still offer the landlord assurance of the tenant’s financial credibility and resources.

If you have don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:

Landlords may request to see a tenant’s bank account balance as part of their standard application process and many do, but a tenant is not required to provide it if they are not comfortable doing so. To avoid losing the property, a tenant can offer a variety of alternatives, which we will cover below.

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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Why Would a Landlord Want to See Bank Account Balances?

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons why a landlord may want to check a tenant’s bank account balance is to ensure that they have enough funds to qualify for the rental. In many cases, landlords will want a security deposit at least equal to one month’s rent and they will want the first month’s rent prior to move-in.

Before rejecting other applicants, a landlord may want proof that the prospective tenant actually has the funds on hand to cover the needed payments.

In many cases, the landlord will also insist on seeing the full bank statement. That can be for several reasons.

First, it can be used to verify income because a bank account statement will show deposit activity, which may include payroll deposits.

Second, a landlord may want to check a tenant’s bank account activity to check for past financial issues. For example, if a tenant has a history of bouncing checks or overdrawing their account, a landlord may be hesitant to rent to them.

By checking a tenant’s bank account statement, a landlord can get a better understanding of their financial situation and whether or not they are a reliable tenant.

How do landlords typically check this information?

A landlord may request that the tenant send them a print out of bank balances or statements via email or text (may ask for it in paper form).

But a savvy landlord may understand that these may be fairly easily forged or faked, so they may insist on an in-person log-in via the tenant’s phone to ensure there is no deception afoot.

Tenant’s Right to Privacy

As a tenant, it’s important to understand your rights and protections when it comes to sharing your personal financial information with your landlord. Just because a landlord asks for this type of information does not mean you should feel compelled to share it if they seem shady or illegitimate.

There are a lot of fraudsters out there who prey on unsuspecting renters and ask for all manner of financial information, which they can then use to victimize those renters.

So if you are a tenant who has suspicions, make sure you feel comfortable before sharing any sensitive data. Meet inside the rental property so you know the person at least has access to it. Also ask for their identification, so you can see that they are who they claim to be.

You can check who the owner of a property is by going on your state or local government website and obtaining property records. Many have a free online option where you simply type in the address and it shows who the legal owner it.

Alternatives to Bank Balances

There are several alternatives to banks balance or bank statements if a tenant is uncomfortable sharing them.

For example, if the landlord’s main concern is whether the tenant has enough money on hand, they can ask the tenant to simply write out a cashier’s check to the landlord in the required amount (which may include the security deposit as well as the first month’s rent) at the same time that the tenant signs the lease.

The landlord can then hold his signature in escrow until the funds clear.

If verification of income is the issue, a tenant can provide proof of income via paystubs, tax returns, W-2 statements, confirmation from their employer, and the like.

If a landlord is concerned about financial responsibility in general, they can easily pull a credit report (assuming the tenant consents) which will provide a detailed look at the tenant’s past payment history and any judgments, collections, etc.


In conclusion, a landlord may have the right to check a tenant’s bank account balance as part of their standard application vetting process, but if a tenant feels uncomfortable sharing that information, there are good alternatives that may work for both parties involved.

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