Census Issues for Residential Landlords

Jamie Sternberg, Esq.

April 2020

Title 12, United States Code §223 requires third parties to assist census takers seeking information about residents in apartment buildings. The owner or manager must “furnish the names of the occupants of such premises, or … give free ingress thereto and egress therefrom.”  Violators may be subject to a fine of $500.00. The census taker is entitled to general access to the entryways of individual units and not the units themselves. 

Census workers are fingerprinted and have background checks completed before employment. You can ask to see their Census identification badge (which contains a photograph, Department of Commerce watermark, and expiration date) to verify their employment.

To avoid potential liability claims, a landlord should not release any additional tenant information to census workers without a court order, specific tenant authorization, or as otherwise allowed by law.  An article with more information about tenant privacy rights is available at Governmental Agencies and Private Individuals Rights to Tenant Information and Rights of Entry by Third Parties.

Additional Resources:

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