Landlords Warned Over Tenant Referencing

Are Tenants Who They Claim To Be?

Are Tenants Who They Claim To Be?

The UK Private Rental Sector (PRS) is one of the UK’s best performing economies despite all the economic doom and gloom reported by the national press.

Landlords and property investors spend a great deal of money on purchasing, renovating and renting out property, be that purchasing with cash, refurbishment of the property, paying repair or maintenance costs, making the property more energy efficient, contributing towards energy bills or just making the monthly mortgage payments.

However, the UK property market has become a prime target for fraudsters, scammers and con-artists using fake identities to fool landlords into providing them with good quality housing, without them having to part with a penny of their own funds.

Fraudsters rely on some form of identity theft to provide them with the opportunity to defraud others and landlords are being warned to remain vigilant when processing applications from new tenants.

Fake ID is often provided by the scamming tenant for tenant referencing and once the tenant check has been passed, the fraudulent tenant pays a deposit by cheque and gets the go ahead to move in. If the tenant is not hinest with the landlord from the outset, it can cause the landlord all sorts of problems including voiding any landlord insurance as the tenant has not provided full disclosure about who they are, criminal records etc.

By the time the landlord is informed by the bank that the cheque has bounced the fraudster tenants are already moved in to the rental property and won’t budge until legal action is taken.

It can take a couple of months for eviction proceedings to get started due to a back log at the local magistrates court and by then the tenants could have taken several months rent for free and, possibly, a few of the landlords possessions too.

A bounced deposit cheque could be the first sign of problems so make sure your tenants have paid and the money has cleared before passing over the keys. Also make sure you check all references thoroughly and don’t be afraid to ask detailed personal questions.

Engaging tenants in normal conversation can be very revealing and those reluctant to give away too many details about their personal life should be regarded as suspicious.

Not all landlords have the financial reserves to be able to cope with a prolonged period without rental income, so make sure you are fully protected with Legal 4 Landlords comprehensive Tenant Referencing service and Rent Guarantee Insurance which can protect the rental income.

Landlords should also notify the police if they believe they have been conned: Criminals are often professional, repeat offenders and they are unlikely to be the frausters first victim.

It’s vital that landlords are able to keep the cash coming in, and if they do end up being scammed, they can at least hope to reclaim some of what they are owed.

The risk of landlords being defrauded by criminals is rising everywhere in the world due to the online availability of many forms of documented identification, Landlords should always remain vigilant and conduct comprehensive tenant referencing for all applicants for the avoidance of doubt and their financial protection.

Legal 4 Landlords are keen to highlight the importance of proper tenant referencing.

Don’t ever give the keys to your rental property to someone you don’t trust and if you are concerned make sure you act sooner rather than later as financial losses will only increase.