Accepting rent up front

I had a prospective tenant contact me about renting a unit. They mentioned that they are not from the U.S. and do not have a social security number, but they would pay the rent in full up front. It sounds good to me, but is there anything I should watch out for? I normally run a credit check and contact their most recent landlord, but I’m assuming they are offering rent up front because they have limited credit history and references.


That's probable correct! Make sure you get their passport information which should include basic information and ability to verify there identity by photo, the passport has a series number inside which identifies the person in that country. 

Make sure you get double or triple the deposit money as you probable can not go after this renter or collect outside of the US. If there is strange behavior, the reason they are staying in the states is weird or doesn’t pass the smell test beware, other wise people visit all the time for some period of time, probable on a 6 month or year rental they probable also have a green card.

Make sure you get the green card information too!


I have had tenants that try to offer rent up front also. Not one has ever done it. Many of these people ended up being tenants that lied on the application. I am sure that there is the other kind too, I just haven’t met any.

This is now a big red flag for me.

Any mistakes in real estate are made because of either one of two things. #1 Greedy #2 Lazy. What crooks appeal to is your greed by offering you a year’s worth of rent in advance. Don’t fall for it.

I see nothing wrong with it. If you’re not sure, you can ask for a lagger security deposit.

You can ask for personal references. And run a background check, using the applicant’s first and last name and date of birth.

Just so you know, foreigners in the USA legally have either a SS# or a tax ID number. So, my best guess is that you are either dealing with an undocumented alien or some sort of criminal or really undesirable tenant who is pretending he is from outside the country with no identification so that you can not screen him

Or it is one of those Nigerian scams.

People who offer a full year in advance are people like drug dealers, alien smugglers looking to rent a drop house, porn producers, felons, terrorists, and people with outrageously bad credit in combination with horrible landlord references. They are people who don’t want you checking on them and they are people who don’t want you coming around ant looking at your house for a full year.

Normal honest people would never even think to offer a year in advance.