Renters currently being questioned for SIN, driver’s licence and other sensitive data by some landlords

Renters currently being questioned for SIN, driver’s licence and other sensitive data by some landlords

Vanessa Sih plays with her two young daughters on a bed in a Calgary lodge.

The resort has been home for her relatives of 4 because she moved out of her rental property at the stop of February, just after the owner required the device back. 

Due to the fact then, Sih, her husband, her 12-year-old daughter and two-yr-previous daughter have lived in a few other accommodations when they seemed for a location to lease.

There are evident indicators of the family settling in: their clothes are piled large in an open piece of luggage on the floor and there’s a table strewn with fruits and other snacks.

Fruit and a plate of muffins sit on top of a brown table.
Vanessa Sih and her spouse and children have been settling into daily life in a hotel. (Julia Wong/CBC)

The research to locate a rental assets has been complicated, Sih stated, and invasive she stated that some landlords ended up inquiring for personal information like her social insurance policies selection (SIN), not to lease the residence but simply to view it.

“Our full name, my daughters’ whole names. They also questioned for their birthdays. My SIN … driver’s licence. They asked for [our] vehicle’s plate variety,” Sih mentioned.

Sih reported she did not sense entirely comfy giving that information and facts out, adding she isn’t going to truly feel “harmless” with these aspects in someone else’s fingers, but admits that she shared them in hopes the family members would be able to find a location to dwell.

Regardless of her endeavours, and her info, Sih has not been able to locate a new position to dwell still.

“Suitable now, I come to feel extremely desperate to find a position for my household,” she said.

Tight rental sector

In Alberta, emptiness costs stood at 4.3 for each cent in October 2022, their least expensive due to the fact 2013, in accordance to quantities from the Canadian House loan Housing Corporation.

In times of superior emptiness costs, some landlords have provided tenants free of charge lease or even a absolutely free television but when there are very low emptiness premiums, the ball is in the courtroom of landlords.

A woman wearing a black shirt and green sweater sits on a park bench.
Megan Plumtree has been browsing for a new area to dwell considering that January. (Colin Hall/CBC)

Megan Plumtree and her associate have been looking for a location to rent in Calgary given that January, but she has also operate into situations where extremely sensitive information was getting requested to see a house.

“We are currently being requested for a social insurance coverage variety. We are becoming questioned for photocopies of our driver’s licence, our banking details, like account specifics,” she reported.

Equally Sih and Plumtree stated they were being advised by landlords that the details was wanted to confirm their id and to weed out opportunity lousy tenants.

Plumtree phone calls the follow “an overreach” and stated that when she has declined to deliver that details to a landlord, she does not hear back from them.

“It is certainly manufactured the lookup a great deal tougher and it truly is taken a great deal for a longer time than we have envisioned,” she claimed.

“It truly is really stress filled. We have both equally had dreams, like nightmares, about not currently being ready to locate rentals. It is challenging currently being ignored. It’s really hard getting requested for so much particular information and facts devoid of getting able to meet somebody, to talk to them to see if we even want to hire the place.”

‘They could consider on your identity’

Drew McArthur, the former performing details and privacy commissioner for British Columbia, mentioned privacy laws require folks be advised what the function is of gathering their personalized details and claimed that individuals reasons ought to be sensible.

A man in a black shirt sits in front of wall.
Drew McArthur is a previous performing information and privateness commissioner of B.C. (Google Meet)

“To be inquiring for sensitive personal data these types of as financial, banking details, passport, that’s amongst the most delicate individual facts — that does not look to make sense in the situations of just wanting to check out a rental house,” he said.

“It appears to me that corporations may be hoping to choose advantage of the situation, could possibly be making an attempt to pressure persons into supplying information and facts and renting underneath a little bit of duress.”

McArthur said that there are problems about what another person could do with sensitive information and facts.

“They could consider on your identification. They could use it for nefarious uses. They could test opening credit rating playing cards in your name … Alternatives are virtually endless and we often need to safeguard our private data,” he mentioned.

McArthur mentioned renters could say no if requested to give sensitive individual details or they could file a criticism with provincial, territorial or federal privacy commissioners, nevertheless he admits that the complaint method does take some time, ordinarily extended than most tenants may well have.

Landlords may possibly be safeguarding qualities, landlord group claims

Alberta Landlord Group is an on the net community and academic useful resource for much more than 4,000 landlords.

A man wearing a white shirt sits in a chair.
MacKenzie Wilson is a landlord and co-founder of Alberta Community Landlords. (Colin Hall/CBC)

Co-founder MacKenzie Wilson explained pre-screening is essential for landlords to make sure both of those landlord and tenant are a very good match for one particular another.

“If you’ve got experienced the mistaken person [who] won’t shell out rent, you’re going to be in problems pretty rapidly and it can be pretty challenging,” he mentioned.

He mentioned it can be popular through pre-screening to talk to about transferring dates, the form of assets a tenant is interested in and the kind of lease they want.

But he is clear that it is inappropriate to request for delicate details, this sort of as driver’s licence information and facts or banking facts.

“It truly is incredibly relating to on a amount of factors,” he reported. “We have to have to be very good stewards to keep the marketplace … It’s a mutually effective connection. Landlords need to have tenants as a lot as tenants require landlords.”

Watch | Would-be renters questioned to hand more than sensitive details to landlords: 

Renters getting questioned for personal details by landlords

Renters in some cities are becoming asked to share their social insurance coverage range or banking information in advance of even viewing a residence. Industry experts say the ask for is unreasonable, but in restricted rental markets, some tenants say they really feel they never have numerous possibilities.

Wilson mentioned a single doable clarification is that landlords are requesting particular information and facts to safeguard their attributes.

“I can visualize maybe some folks or people today are quite nervous. They’re overprotecting on their own by inquiring also a great deal data too early in the process … It really is just basically not knowing what they really don’t know.”

As for Sih, she and her loved ones will continue on to dwell in inns, which are working her a monthly bill of roughly $1,000 a 7 days, until eventually they can find a area to contact home.

“It’s incredibly aggravating, really aggravating and unhappy to stay in a hotel,” she stated.