Why does my bf need my ss# to buy a home?
October 24, 2015 4:00 PM   Subscribe

My bf is in the process of signing a contract for a home. We will both be living in it, but I was under the impression it would be all his. Now he's asking me for my ss#.

When I asked him why he said it was for the LLC. So it seems he's purchasing the place under an LLC, but what does that have to do with me? I didn't get a chance to ask him a lot because we're currently at a long distance between each other and I won't be able to really speak to him for several days. By the time I do the contract has to be in so I won't have much time to think over whatever it is he's doing. Perhaps it's something really obvious that I don't understand because I've never purchased a place. Why would he need me to be a part of the LLC thing?
posted by rancher to Law & Government (36 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Which state will the home be in?
posted by griphus at 4:04 PM on October 24, 2015


The home is in NY state.
posted by rancher at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2015


Why does he have an LLC for buying a house? Why does this LLC have anything to do with you at all? This question produces a lot of questions that can only be answered by him, frankly.

(Landlords typically ask for SSNs for all residents, but that's one of those "they can ask" things rather than something truly necessary. When I worked on mortgages, we - the bank - only had SSNs for the one or two people whose names were on the loan.)
posted by SMPA at 4:21 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Buying a house into an LLC is pretty common here in NY, although much less common for individual buying places to live in rather than investment properties. There's a couple of parts of the LLC process that would require someone's SSN: registering an EIN for the LLC, which require the name and SSN of one member of the LLC to serve as the responsible party for IRS purposes (a member is the LLC equivalent of a shareholder.) He shouldn't be using your name or SSN for this if this house is his own. Keep in mind this would not require your signature at the time of EIN retrieval, although the rule is that your signature would need to be on file unless he's filing as you which he shouldn't be.

When forming an LLC in NY you declare the members shortly after (within 3 weeks or so) to the NYS Dept. of Taxation and Finance and I believe you need the members' social security numbers there. The lender may also require the SSN of the members if there's going to be a mortgage.

All that being said, have you two talked about whether you're actually going to own any part of it? Because he hasn't explained enough of the process to you for this to not be at least kind of shady. Maybe there's nothing shady going on (perhaps the lender or someone else requires the SSN of any individual to be residing in there initially) but never give your SSN to anyone if you don't know why, your boyfriend included. You don't want to be a member of an LLC or a responsible party to the IRS for that LLC if you don't know anything about it.
posted by griphus at 4:22 PM on October 24, 2015 [35 favorites]


Honestly, it sounds like he's including you as a partner in the LLC.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:26 PM on October 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Also people try to do dumb, shady shit with LLCs in re: buying homes on the advice of shady people to get among other things tax breaks by trying to cover up their own identity and buying the house under the LLC under someone else's name (as in the owner of the house is the LLC, the sole member of the LLC is someone that isn't him, but de facto he owns the house.) Maybe someone else would be able to better explain the exact mechanics but if your boyfriend is the type to be involved with something like that, absolutely 100% do not give him your SSN.
posted by griphus at 4:27 PM on October 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


Also people try to do dumb, shady shit with LLCs in re: buying homes anything on the advice of shady people to get among other things tax breaks

I have seen a lot of this. So-and-so is talking about some business transaction that needs to happen and is woe-is-me-ing about the work and effort and taxes and shady person offers their shady advice of how to do it Easier! and Cheaper! and No Really I Do This All The Time It's Totes Cool! and people do it and get themselves in all sorts of messes later.

Nthing that there is no legitimate reason your boyfriend needs your SSN to purchase his own home. Do not give it to him.
posted by phunniemee at 4:36 PM on October 24, 2015 [25 favorites]


You really need to talk to your boyfriend about this.

Forming an LLC for occupied home ownership is relatively rare. It is usually because someone wants to keep their home address somewhat hidden from the public for some reason by registering under the LLC name rather than the individual owner. This might be the case for someone who is a celebrity or in a public business in which they don't want customers to hound them by looking up their home address.

As for why he wants your SSN, it seems he wants you to be a nominal partner, even if it is a 1% partner. A single-member LLC has somewhat less protection from liability than a partnership. If an LLC is sued and it is a partnership, then if a judgement is made, the winners cannot seize the property, they can only get a lien against the property.

Is your boyfriend the sort that is prone to sleazy business deals or the paranoid conspiracy type? If he is adding your name as a partner in the LLC without telling you for his own advantage, he has some serious explaining to do.
posted by JackFlash at 4:37 PM on October 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why can't you contact him? It seems shady as hell. I have no idea why you would be in enough contact for him to get your Social Security number from you, but somehow not enough contact for you to be able to discuss your concerns. I strongly suggest waiting until you can actually talk to him. If that wrecks his deal, then he perhaps should have considered discussing this with you before the last minute.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:53 PM on October 24, 2015 [46 favorites]


OP, I just have to say, this is not cool. Not cool for SO to be putting you in the position to assert yourself but please do assert yourself. Don't do it. You don't feel comfortable and there's no reason to and if he starts throwing a tantrum or being pouty about it, or even if he tries to really explain multiple logical "reasons" as to why it's "necessary", then that's too fishy in my non-professional opinion. This sucks for you and I am sorry you're in this mess.
posted by lunastellasol at 4:54 PM on October 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


I should clarify how I stated that. If the LLC is a partnership and one member of the partnership, say your boyfriend, is successfully sued, they can't take his house because the LLC has a second partner, say you. So in that case your boyfriend would be using you as a shield for his potential liability. Otherwise it is hard to imagine a reason that your boyfriend should ever need your SSN. You should ask him why.
posted by JackFlash at 4:54 PM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


If that wrecks his deal, then he perhaps should have considered discussing this with you before the last minute.

Yeah if he tries to give you any shit about messing up his big real estate deal -- time better spent to be explaining things to you, honestly -- please understand that by not giving him this info you are acting prudently and he is messing up his real estate deal by doing things ass-backwards and very potentially unlawfully.
posted by griphus at 4:56 PM on October 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


"This might be the case for someone who is a celebrity or in a public business in which they don't want customers to hound them by looking up their home address."

Yep, my bf is definitely in the latter category and that happens to be one of his main complaints. So I guess the LLC thing is making a bit of sense to me now, but I still don't know why he wants me in on it instead of just himself. Is there some kind of tax break involved if I join it? I mean when I asked him why he needed my # and he said it was "for the LLC" while I was rushing to the train station, I could only assume that he meant he was buying the house this way.

I'm currently in the middle of fixing my credit so I don't want anything to ruin that. If it shows on some record that I partially own a house then it could cause me some problems with fixing my credit I think.
posted by rancher at 5:02 PM on October 24, 2015


You should just say no until he invests the time and effort to walk you through exactly what he needs, and then gives you at least a month, possibly even two months, to think about it without any pressure at all from him.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:05 PM on October 24, 2015 [63 favorites]


I still don't know why he wants me in on it instead of just himself.

As I explained above, if he adds you as a partner in the LLC, even a 1% partner, then he has slightly better protection from liability if sued, using your partnership as a shield. If sued and he owns the house as a single-member LLC, they can take his house. If he is sued and it is a partnership LLC, they can't seize the house, they can only file a lien against it.
posted by JackFlash at 5:09 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Because of the way the LLC laws work in NY, you could use an LLC to shield the identity of the owner of the property from the public (to a certain extent and assuming the LLC doesn't end up getting sued) but again that specific use of it does not require your SSN.
posted by griphus at 5:11 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm currently in the middle of fixing my credit so I don't want anything to ruin that.

Oh, god, this makes it so easy - NOPE.
posted by tristeza at 5:14 PM on October 24, 2015 [21 favorites]


To be a bit more clear: certain states require that any LLC declare the members of the LLC in the public record, which anyone can access either completely free or for a nominal fee. In NY, the membership records are not public record. If someone is using the LLC to shield their identity as a property owner, anyone accessing the LLC's public records can very well end up with nothing more than a PO Box and only the name of Joe Smith at Smith Corporate Services who set the LLC up for the member(s).
posted by griphus at 5:15 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you don't want anything to ruin your credit then do not give him your SSN. Just don't. It's not going to be your house so he doesn't need ANYTHING from you.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:15 PM on October 24, 2015 [19 favorites]


If it's for the sole purpose of buying the home 'under cover', then perhaps he can simply set up the LLC as himself solely so he can get the house, and then add you to the LLC later on once you're comfortable with what's going on?

Here is a link to some info on adding people to an LLC, and the differences between a single-member LLC and a partnership. It's the internet, so take that info with a grain of salt. Overall, nthing that whatever his intentions may be, at the very least, it's not appropriate for him to be doing anything with your information without giving you full information on the reasoning, and making sure you agree to it.
posted by SquidLips at 5:21 PM on October 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's not uncommon in NYC to buy property as an LLC, but he shouldn't need your SSN for any reason unless you're part of it. As for taxes, it's actually a detriment in many cases, as you may lose out on certain deductions. Definitely dig further; he should be upfront about why he wants your SSN and you should be very wary about commingling your financial affairs without thorough discussion.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:12 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're being manipulated. Don't give him your SSN and start giving some serious thought to what kind of communication you deserve from decent people.
posted by odinsdream at 8:19 PM on October 24, 2015 [15 favorites]


1) He needs to explain this to you like you're five. And to do that face to face.

2) You need to see your own independent legal and/or financial advisor(s) before signing on. (Not necessarily before saying "no".)
posted by stevis23 at 8:53 PM on October 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


You do not, DO NOT give people your SSN so they can make you part owner of they-don't-have-time-to-explain-what. This is how you get ripped off, this is how you find out a year after you break up with somebody that you own their debts or some shit, this is how you make a mess. Even if everybody has the best intentions this can turn into a hot and cold running mess, and people who have the best intentions are usually happy to tell you what they are. I would not do this on a bet. I'd have it explained to me carefully, get independent legal advice, and THEN say no.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:06 PM on October 24, 2015 [27 favorites]


> He needs to explain this to you like you're five.

No, he's already done that. He needs to explain it to you like you're the adult you are.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 PM on October 24, 2015 [30 favorites]


I'm going to go ahead and jump in here with a big old NOPE. I know people who have created LLCs to buy a house (public figures, mostly), and they don't need the SSN of their significant other to make that happen. This is either negligent or intentional, so I urge you to seek caution in your financial commitments with this person.
posted by bedhead at 9:43 PM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is there some kind of tax break involved if I join it?

No.

Seconding everything griphus said. There's no reason for him to have your SSN for the LLC unless you are a member of that LLC. And you'd have to sign an operating agreement after having it reviewed by your own attorney. And partnership taxation is really really complicated (a two-person LLC is taxed as a partnership, unless you elect to have it taxed as a corporation, which is almost never advisable if it's holding real estate).

Do not give him the SSN. Do not agree to be a member of the LLC unless you have an independent attorney representing only you review the documents and advise you on the implications of that and you have an amazing CPA who is familiar with both partnership taxation and holding nonbusiness assets in a business entity.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:19 PM on October 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


FWIW, if the mortgage is in his name or the LLC's name, your being a member of the LLC will have absolutely no impact on your credit one way or another, as it will not show up on your report.

Moreover, he cannot make you liable for any part of the debt without your signature. (And that would be the only way it would have any effect on your credit) A co-borrower would be required to sign all the documents at closing. If the bank was writing the mortgage such that the LLC is the primary borrower, but require a personal guarantee from all members, you would still be required to sign documents to that effect to take on any liability for the LLC's debts. Without that personal guarantee, you have no liability for its debts regardless of whether or not you are a member. Your only risk is losing any capital contribution you make to the LLC, which seems to be zero.

However, being a member could be an issue if the LLC is sued and it were set up and/or run poorly enough that a court invalidated the limited liability. That would be my only (legal) concern here, if I were in your position. Any other concerns would be purely of the social sort. As in why your boyfriend is setting things up this way without consulting you beforehand.

In short, it sounds pretty innocuous to me, unless your boyfriend is the sort to commit identity theft and use your SSN for other purposes, like opening a credit card or something.
posted by wierdo at 11:41 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you can't phone and speak to him personally - text him or Facebook him and ask him for a valid explanation - don't be caught out at the last minute.

If you're unsure now - are you sure you're ready to move in with him?
posted by Flowerpower at 2:00 AM on October 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd also make sure that he can't get your social by looking at papers you may have in your home.
posted by winna at 6:04 AM on October 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's fishy to me that you're connected enough to post here and get several answers but not to have meaningful communication with boyfriend. NY state is not a disconnected hinterland. Maybe you can't communicate synchronously but if he can't even meaningfully answer an email about why he is asking you for this information that makes you very vulnerable to him, I would seriously question his judgment, character, and/or capacity to make this transaction responsibly.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:22 AM on October 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


This is a big red flag. Find out wtf he needs it for.
posted by freakazoid at 7:40 AM on October 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


We will both be living in it, but I was under the impression it would be all his.

To clarify, you yourself will not be on title? Title will be held only by the LLC? And you are not part of the LLC? Except, now apparently the bf is claiming that you do need to be part of the LLC? Or...?
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:13 PM on October 25, 2015


If you have enough time and internet to ask this question here, you have enough time to email him and ask him to explain. Because his explanation fucking sucked. This sounds like a terrible fucking idea, and you shouldn't do it unless he can explain everything much more comprehensively and in a way that makes sense and won't put you at risk of anything (which I doubt is possible, if he needs your SSN).
posted by J. Wilson at 8:13 PM on October 25, 2015


> So I guess the LLC thing is making a bit of sense to me now, but I still don't know why he wants me in on it instead of just himself. Is there some kind of tax break involved if I join it? I mean when I asked him why he needed my # and he said it was "for the LLC" while I was rushing to the train station, I could only assume that he meant he was buying the house this way.

He really, really needs to use his words and explain exactly what he's doing and what part your SSN has in it. He needs to be able to explain this clearly and completely enough that: a) you're certain that HE fully understands what he's doing, and b) so that you yourself understand the situation well enough to do a little research and/or explain it to a third party in order to verify that it makes sense and is prudent for you.
posted by desuetude at 1:17 PM on October 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


I prepare and conduct bank closings in NYC all the live long day.

I can think of legitimate reasons to need your SSN, just as I can also imagine illegitimate reasons to need your SSN. However, we don't have nearly enough information to say. It doesn't sound like you have been given this information, either.

I cannot think of any reason to require your SSN which would be so abstruse, so obscure, so as to be beyond a simple one-, two-, maybe three-sentence email of explanation from your BF. "It's for the LLC" doesn't cut it. One could assume that he gave that terse response just because he wants to get things done and he doesn't want to deal with any of the mechanics. That's not how this should be done, especially since you are involved in this.

It is also certainly possible that your BF is up to something shady. However, we can only speculate. Many shady people are actually quite good at providing reasonable-sounding explanations for things. I myself can think of many ways to fish for your SSN, while also sounding perfectly reasonable, open, and trustworthy. And, hell, if he was really determined to be shady, then he could just copy your SSN from an otherwise legitimate source.

Ultimately, this is a communication issue. Your BF needs to explain why he needs your SSN. Buying a house is a big deal. However, this stuff ain't rocket science. Not only that, but there are laws and regulations which mandate explanations of what is going on and why. Neither your BF's lending bank nor your BF's attorney are ever going to ask for your SSN without some kind of reason and without some kind of explanation on-hand. There is literally no reason why any part of this process should be left unclear to you or your BF.

And, you know, relationships, and trust. You should never have to suspect your SO of anything sinister. You also shouldn't have to run to MetaFilter to have these important things clarified for you, even if your BF is busy.

Until then, do not rest until you have an answer. Your BF owes it to you, and it is not beyond his capabilities. If he has the time to piss, then he has the time to text you a sentence. Worst case scenario, he can text his lawyer and say, "hi, my gf wants to know why we needed her SSN, what should I tell her".
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:31 AM on October 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


« Older Couples Halloween Costumes - Short Hair and Blond...   |   How to rebuild your confidence after a stream of... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.