It’s a landlord’s worst nightmare. A seemingly perfect tenant moves in to your property and 30 days later the rent doesn’t come in. How is this possible? They ticked all the right boxes and seemed to be a perfect fit. Unfortunately, you may have been scammed. Let’s look at some of the top tricks or scams we come across quite often as one of Ireland’s leading property management companies.
With over 25 years experience, we have screened thousands of applicants for our clients. Every week we see applicants attempt to pull the wool over our eyes, from seemingly harmless fake references from relatives, or more dubious fraudulent items like fake drivers licences and other official documents. Here are our top 5 recurring scams.
1. Fake ID
Falling victim to this particular scam can have very negative consequences. It’s not a certainty by any means, but it’s definitely a problem if you turn up one day and the property is empty and the name you have for your tenant is wrong. How will you trace them?
As well as the threat of theft or damage to the property, a tenant providing fake documentation could perhaps indicate illegal activities. You should always be sure the identification you are provided with is genuine and if in doubt, get it checked out.
2. Fake Pay Slips
One of the most common things we see is inflated pay slips, in that the tenant has had their pay slip edited somehow to show a higher income than they actually are receiving or in some cases, to outright fake employment.
If you are in any doubt whatsoever as to the validity of the applicant’s employment status or their pay slip, you should do the necessary checks to verify both.
3. Fake Employment History
When screening potential tenants, one of the most important steps is to make sure that the employer information is verified. This is done by making sure the company actually exists, and that the tenant really works there. Many times we have come across applications with false employer information and in rare occasions, the more tech savvy applicants have even created simple website pages for companies that never existed. Always be sure of the employment status of your applicants as the last thing you want is a tenant who can’t pay.
4. Fake References & Rental History
This can seem harmless for most well intentioned renters. Mocking up a reference and asking uncle John to take the call if needs be. We’ve all told a similar fib or two on our CV’s over the years I’m sure, but from a landlord’s perspective, this is an all too familiar scam which can have very negative consequences if the tenant is not aso well intentioned.
It’s always worth checking out previous landlord references and you can usually tell if who you are talking to is genuine or not with a few landlord specific questions.
5. Fake Service Animals
This final mention is not so common here in Ireland as is abroad, but definitely worth keeping an eye out for. Whether or not you allow for pets in your agreement with your tenant, the tenant has the right to have a personal service or guide animal on the property.
You as a landlord cannot discriminate against the tenant and ask them to leave or refuse them as a tenant in the first place. This of course is only right as most of us would agree, but beware the scammers. A rise in people claiming their ‘pets’ are their service or guide dog etc has been noted.
KPM Group’s Screening Process
Here at KPM Group, we have an extensive application screening process. We verify every aspect of a potential renters application including current landlord, previous landlord, employer, income, pay slips and any other information we receive as part of the application process.
KPM has helped countless landlords free themselves from the day to day management of their portfolios and trust us to deliver the maximum return on investment while providing quality management services.
If you would like to speak to us here at KPM about your portfolio then get in touch today and a member of staff will be happy to help in any way we can.