Photo ID to see an apartment-- why?

Today I phoned an apartment complex to set up an appointment to see an apartment, and the apartment complex people told me that I would need to show a photo ID before I could see the apartment.

Is there any reasonable and legitimate reason why they’d need to see photo ID? It struck me as odd, since it’s not something I’d ever come across before in the apartment search. I asked the person at the apartment complex, and the answer I got was more or less, “Because,” which didn’t satisfy me.

Perhaps they want to make sure that you’re the person they’d be renting to if a lease gets signed, to avoid a better put-together friend helping a sketchier buddy get a place?

WAG: They will run a credit check on you.

Or because you are less likely to rape/maim/kill the person that shows the apartment if you know they have your ID.

I’ve heard some places might do it, and take a photocopy, to have a record that you were there. It’s to prevent people from casing the place, and so they know you are who you say you are. They may also be making sure you even have an ID if they are required to apply for the apartment, so as no to waste anyone’s time if you don’t have one.

Possibly for the safety of the person showing the apartment. I’ve heard of realtors being raped by men posing as renters.

ETA: I agree with Oakminster.

The time I went to see an apartment, they asked me for my driver’s license and said they’d hang onto it until I was done looking at the apartment, and I figured it was so they’d have a head start on figuring out who kidnapped the apartment manager, because they’re the ones with all the cash, or whoever it was tossed the apartment, because an empty apartment is totally filled with valuable things. :dubious:

Possible, but in this case, unlikely-- you can reserve the apartment online, with no in-person visit required.

But then, if it’s for the safety of the person showing the apartment, why not just say so? It casts the request in terms of “We want to look out for our people,” not, “Because this is a police state.”

Telling people “We think you look like a rapist” is probably worse for business.

Plus it’s not always clear to every employee why a certain policy is in place. I’ve seen this before, and there is no doubt in my mind the person was asking as a matter of policy - and the policy was there for safety reasons.

Here’s a previous thread on the question. It doesn’t really give any other answers besides what’s already been posted here; but there were a lot of people who said it’s a common practice and a lot of people who’d never heard of it, and one post (#85) linking to some specific examples showing why security might be needed.

And your perceived difference between the two is?

Isn’t a “police state” merely looking out for their people?

I am a bit perplexed why someone would have a problem with this request, unless they don’t have a photo ID and want to rent an apartment. In such cases, I would think discussing the matter with the management service would be the quickest way to resolve the issue. If that’s not the case, I’d suspect the one wanting the appointment was being less than honest.

If I was looking to harm the person who showed me an apartment, I’d bring a fake I.d. Just sayin’.

Eta. Never mind. I guess I’d have to look enough like the photo to make the person believe it was me. Which defeats the purpose of bringing a fake I.d.

Per the previous thread:

They take a photocopy of your ID. Which captures your face, name, address, date of birth, and often physical description and social security number. Which it’s not a good idea to leave in the files of a bunch of randoms.

OK, I read that entire thread, it did not shed any light on why, other than the overly paranoid, anyone would have a problem with this.

I don’t believe any driver’s licenses or other Photo IDs has your SSN on it. It has been that way since shortly after 9-11 (I thought it was part of the Patriot Act), so a decade at least. For that other information, it really doesn’t matter; if you are looking for a new apartment, the address on your license is pretty much useless. Besides, they aren’t requiring a DL anyway, just some sort of photo ID. They want some proof that the person being shown the apartment is who they say they are and aren’t going to cause any trouble. And, the people who have this information are not a bunch of randoms, but people you are trusting and you want to trust you. If that trust doesn’t exist, you aren’t going to rent their property, anyway.

Sure, you can defeat the system with a fake ID, but why? Just to show them that their practice is not effective? The people who are responsible for the policy probably don’t care if it is effective, only that they do take steps to prevent any problems so they don’t get sued for being negligent. It is an easy way to make sure that the people you spend resources on showing the property are interested.

You didn’t answer my first two questions, however.

Just as a data point, I don’t ask for a photo ID until the point where the potential tenant brings their application back with all the fees, and that’s just to make sure the person applying is who they say they are. Because of fair housing laws, I don’t take a copy of that ID and the company that owns the property never sees it.

I guess I can understand the practice as a kind of deterrent maybe, but I’ve never done it and it’s never actually occurred to me to do so. Then again, I generally only set up the showings and let the man of the house actually perform the tour, and that is in some part for safety reasons (we’ve dealt with some shady people). Not that I’ve never done a showing but I’ve always maintained my safety the same way I would anywhere else, I guess, and easy ID of any potential perpetrator hasn’t been a concern.

I didn’t need to when I looked at my current apt. (or any for that matter)

Yes, to weed out the serious seekers only? In some bridal shops, you have to pay to try on the gowns (refundable if you actually buy one).

When we were apartment hunting, my wife was never asked for one when she was alone and I was. So, I vote for “in case you’re a rapist.”

No state-issued ID will have your SSN on it, unless it’s more than 10 years old. It’s prohibited by federal law (§7214 of the Intelligence Reform And Terrorism Prevention Act for those playing at home.)