"Why, when I'm just renting, is the agent of the homeowner asking me for very private documentation?"
I don't know what you guys ask for in other states, but in CA it is common for a lease listing agent/homeowner/landlord to request and expect the following documents for a lease.
1. Bank statements, 2 months all pages
2. paystubs most recent 30 days
3. Most recent one year tax returns, all pages.
4. Copy of drivers license
5. Verification of employment
6. Verification of rental
7. Then our typical legal form, lease application and all disclosures
From a tenant perspective you wonder, "why?".
From a landlord perspective, "bring it on".
A landlord is selecting a tenant who has the ability to pay and is in good standing and positioned well to pay. The above docs shows a landlord who is best positioned to do so.
If you're condsidering "renting", call me and we'll do a RENT vs. OWN comparison and see if we can preapprove you to Buy!!