Can a Landlord Give Out Tenant Information? [Tenant Confidentiality Guide]

Landlords find themselves in a unique position as both business owners and holders of private individuals’ information. It’s crucial for landlords to be aware of the legal boundaries surrounding the disclosure of tenant information.

In most cases, privacy laws will restrict a landlord’s ability to give out tenant information to third parties without the tenant’s consent, however there are notable exceptions, such as in the case of subpoenas, law enforcement actions, and certain third party service service requests.

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.

We may earn commissions from products and services that are purchased or recommended through our website as part of our affiliate partnerships. As an Amazon affiliate, we may earn from qualifying purchases.

Tenant Information and Privacy

Tenant information usually includes personal identifiers such as names, contact details, Social Security numbers, employment and financial data, and other sensitive information provided during the rental application process. In many jurisdictions, landlords are obligated to ensure this information is secure and confidential.

Respecting the privacy of tenants isn’t only a mark of professional integrity; it’s a legal requirement. In most states, tenant personal and financial information is protected against disclosure.

For example, in Virginia, the law prohibits a landlord from releasing information about a tenant or prospective tenant in its possession to a third party unless the tenant or prospective tenant gives consent or meets certain specific exceptions like the information is a matter of public record, the information is requested as part of a subpoena, is required as part of a law enforcement request, is requested by the tenant’s commanding officer, etc. Source.

Speaking of exceptions to the rule, let’s turn to that.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are certain situations where a landlord may share tenant information. As we covered earlier, in most cases, if a court order or subpoena mandates the release of such data, landlords are legally obliged to comply. Similarly, landlords may be permitted to share information with law enforcement agencies if it’s relevant to a criminal investigation or to taxing authorities.

Other potential exceptions include sharing tenant information with potential buyers of the property, the landlord’s property manager, or the landlord’s mortgage lender,

Furthermore, landlords can share certain data with third-party service providers, such as repair and maintenance companies, to facilitate necessary services. However, these third parties are also bound by privacy laws and must ensure the confidentiality of the shared data.

In certain scenarios, landlords may need to share information with potential future landlords during the reference check process. Still, this should be done responsibly and with the tenant’s knowledge and consent. In fact, many landlords will not agree to disclose this information without written acknowledgement and consent from the tenant.

The Impact of Consent

Landlord-tenant relationships are underpinned by a shared understanding and respect for privacy. It’s crucial that tenants are aware of the circumstances under which their information might be shared and have the option to give or withhold their consent.

Landlords should include a clause in the lease agreement explicitly stating how they will handle and protect the tenant’s data. This clause should detail the circumstances where information might be disclosed and that such disclosures will occur only with the tenant’s consent or as legally mandated.

If a landlord wishes to share tenant information for purposes not covered by the lease, they should seek the tenant’s explicit consent in writing. On the other hand, tenants have the right to deny such requests if they deem them unnecessary or invasive.

Consequences of Unlawful Disclosure

Non-compliance with privacy laws and regulations can result in serious consequences for landlords. Penalties can range from hefty fines to, in extreme cases, imprisonment. Not to mention, unlawful disclosure of tenant information can seriously damage the landlord’s reputation and trustworthiness.

In some instances, tenants may even have grounds to terminate their lease without penalty if their privacy has been significantly violated. Landlords could also face lawsuits for damages if tenants suffer harm or loss due to the wrongful disclosure of their personal information.

Obviously the consequences for unlawfully disclosing tenant information will vary by circumstance and the applicable laws, so landlords will want to familiarize themselves with the laws that may apply to their jurisdiction (or have a lawyer assist them).

If you prefer to have a lawyer assist you, I would try JustAnswer. They boast access to thousands of highly-rated, verified real estate lawyers whom you can connect with via their unlimited chat service.

By clicking the banner below, you can get a one week trial membership for only $5, which you can cancel at any time.


While landlords hold a wealth of tenant information, it’s paramount that this data is treated with the utmost respect and protection. With rare exceptions, a landlord cannot and should not give out tenant information.

Landlords are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their local laws and regulations regarding data privacy and disclosure. Likewise, tenants should be aware of their rights and the steps they can take if their information is wrongly disclosed.

Ultimately, maintaining privacy and security of tenant information promotes a healthy, respectful, and law-abiding landlord-tenant relationship. Protecting tenant privacy isn’t just about adhering to the law – it’s about fostering trust, peace of mind, and a positive rental experience for all involved parties.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top