Dear Fair Housing Lady, Is it a fair housing violation to ask an out of town applicant that is going to be a lease holder or co-signer to fax or scan and email their photo ID for their file? This would be in reference to an applicant that has not visited the community but has leased the apartment through our community website or over the telephone. Thanks   I cannot see how this wise business decision could present a fair housing issue.  You are asking for verification of identity before you commit to unseen renters or unseen co-signers.  This way, folks cannot later say “that wasn’t me – I didn’t sign this”.  Just be sure that you are equally wise in applying this requirement to all unseen people.  While consistency is not a fair housing requirement, I always like to point out that it is a darn good risk management process.  That way if one of your “unseens” complains for example that “This landlord tried to discourage me from renting by making me fax or scan my photo ID because they are trying to discourage me because my name sounds Polish,” you can show that all “unseens” are required to produce photo IDs.  And that is how the story of the “Case of the Unseen Resident” will have a happy ending. c

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