As a renter I would run the other way.
I would not give consent for a background check of any kind. I am renting your place for 7 days and have paid up front with a deposit.
I don't really understand the needs,
You will loose a lot of renters on this one. Gather your neighbors and fight the association on this, specially if this is something new they have added to the bi laws.
Talk about abuse of power !!! You are required, by law, to supply your SSN to very few - including many government agencies. This rule is out of line and I would think the other HOA members should see a huge red flag on their basic owner rights and freedoms (which are dwindling daily apparently). I can't imagine any potential renter being okay with this requirement.
Paul here, wearing my attorney hat. To be clear, I am neither an expert in this field, nor claim to be. I have done only minimal research, and invite anyone who actually knows what they are talking about to correct me if I am wrong. (Please!) Yet I will share my thoughts, with the primary intention of helping out, and aiming for results.
I do believe my recommendations are sound. I just wouldn’t want to give anyone the wrong impression (that my word is “law”), or (God forbid) misdirect anyone into a situation even more complicated.
You know how web sites, etc. always try and be cutesy and say: “Stuff our attorney made us put in?” In doing that for myself, here, I need to clarify that my contribution to this forum is not be understood or interpreted as having entered into an attorney/client relationship with anyone, and that it is more my opinion, intended to be helpful, than an advisory legal opinion. (As someone has mentioned, we do live in a lawsuit-happy country, and “no good deed goes unpunished.”)
* End of “Cover my A—“ Verbiage*
Now, on to the point. All that being said, here is what makes sense to me: Not only does the Association lack any lawful basis for requiring disclosure of social security numbers, it may well be breaking the law in doing so. As you are aware, the prevalence of identity theft has instilled a deep (and justifiable) fear and suspicion about ss numbers, particularly.
My advice: inform the Association that you have looked into the matter, and gotten an attorney’s opinion on the specific issue of ss numbers, because it causing your prospective guests such discomfort. Tell them that your attorney recommended (as a service to them) that they IMMEDIATELY rethink this matter and change their rules. To clarify: there are no prohibitions on doing a public records background search, but to the extent they actually require a ss number to proceed, they have definitely exceeded their authority.
Practical Recommendation 1: Put the burden back on them. Tell them that you have been advised the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the forced disclosure of ss numbers. Ask that they get back to you in writing (as suggested by your attorney) to explain why they are not bound by the law's authority, or to specify any exemptions they believe may be applicable. (None exist).
(By the way, I respectfully disagree with the poster who said the Federal Act does not apply to private individuals. Again, I could be wrong, but generally Federal law "trumps" the laws of any State that may be in conflict. So in other words, if the laws of your State (hypothetically) say "Associations have this right, turn the info over," and any language in the Privacy Act stands in contradiction, the State law will fail.) Also, a growing number of States have implemented their own privacy laws, quite probably including yours.)
Practical Recommendation 2: Let them know that in light of the economic times, and the fleeting nature of good rental opportunities, you don't have the luxury of time to just drop your life, stand by, and twiddle your thumbs as they hold meetings, debate, deliberate, and so forth. (Fact is, such basic research should've been undertaken before they put the rules in place.)
So: in your own judgment, and according to your own comfort, tell them (something like) “in the meantime, I will be happy to provide any other information, but simply cannot afford to lose any such future opportunities as might come my way. So, I am looking to rent, in the meantime."
Best of luck—
“Quick on the Draw” Paul