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The number of fraudulent tenants is on the increase according to Let Insurance Services. Identity fraud attempts doubled in the first half of 2011 and the numbers have continued to rise this year. This increase is partly due to the credit crunch. Of course this has made it harder for people to get credit in their own name, which then makes people resort to identity theft as a way to obtain that sought-after good credit rating.
These fraudulent tenants often give false information about previous addresses and even employers to throw the referencing process. They also seem to know their way around the legal system, making it harder to evict them.
Here at our letting agency in Newport we have a solid referencing procedure in place to ensure this never happens to our landlords and we urge you to take our advice and follow these tips.
Tips to help reduce tenant fraud
- Ensure you have insurance for legal costs if you have to evict your tenants
- Have a referencing check list to ensure you screen each applicant
- Always obtain photo identification and proof of current residence
- Obtain bank statements and wage slips and also credit check the applicant
- Ensure your application form is completed in full; if not they may be hiding something
- Use your common sense – If you have a bad feeling about someone you’re usually right!
- Take the time to compare addresses on the application with those shown on the ID documents; if it doesn’t match the application form – why not?
It’s not unusual for these fraudsters to move from property to property, with no intention of even paying the rent. We urge you to double check everything and if you have any reasonable suspicion that things are not what they seem, you should definitely refuse the tenancy. It doesn’t matter how desperate you are to get someone in your property! Letting to a dishonest tenant will cost you even more financial heartache in the long term.