Asked and AnsweredWe received a draft of the contract of sale for the cooperative apartment we are buying and our social security numbers are on the front page! Our attorney told us that we will have to provide our identification numbers to the managing agent for a credit check as a part of the Board package, so it’s not a big deal. Do we have to list our socials on the contract?
Absolutely not. The printed portion of the contract of sale for a co-op has a lot of “fill in the blank” type questions. When the form was revised a number of years ago, the parties drafting the form left a space for the social security numbers of the seller and the buyer. We now live in a world of identity theft, hacking of personal information and internet spying. When you submit a board package, a number of copies of the contract are made and many people have the opportunity to review the personal information of both parties. It simply makes no sense to include social security numbers of the front page of a document to which anyone might have access. Limit disclosure of your social security number to those folks who must have that information in order to process your application. Social security numbers are routinely placed on the “deal sheet” that the seller's real estate broker sends out when an offer is accepted. I think that is a mistake as well. Inclusion of identification numbers is just not necessary. Provide your attorney with your social security number, but ask that it not be disclosed unless and until it is absolutely necessary.