5 Ways a Tenant Can Scam Their Way Into a Lease
Thursday Nov 11th, 2021
We’ve all heard cautionary tales about nightmare tenants who have either skipped out on paying the rent, who have caused significant damage to rented properties, or who have made it difficult for landlords to sell. The key to avoiding many of these headaches is to ensure that you choose the right tenant from the start.
Did you know that there are services that you can sign up for that will provide fabricated employment letters, credit reports and income/landlord reference checks? Recently, we have encountered some attempts to fraudulently gain a lease offer acceptance with false supporting documents. The following are some ways tenants can be deceitful in their rental applications:
- Credit Report
- An individual’s financial repayment history is a generally accepted good indicator of whether or not they will pay their rent on time
- Credit Reports can be doctored to show higher scores, remove items gone into collections, or reduce outstanding balances
- Employment Letters can be created to look very official, with call centres or a pre-arranged contact answering phone inquiries to verify the false details of the employment letter
- Landlord References
- Contact details to individuals (ie. Friends or family members) who are NOT previous landlords can be provided, always giving good references
- We’ve experienced current landlords giving untruthful details about the applicant, in hopes that the tenant will sign a new lease elsewhere so they can “get rid of” a troublesome tenant
- Details are vague or often missing about previous places of employment or residence (ie. “Lost” landlord contact details)
- In situations of shared accommodations, often we are told that the lease was under someone else’s name or all contact with a previous landlord was through a past roommate
- Reasons for moving, income or employment situations, who is going to be living in the property – sometimes the story just never adds up
There’s no foolproof way to ensure that every applicant is legitimate and sincere, however we do our best to determine who the tenant is and whether the details make sense. We investigate the particulars provided on the supporting documents, make multiple phone calls to employers and past landlords, and also we reach out to other realtor colleagues that may have encountered the tenant in a previous property.
Since employment and credit details are only a current-day snapshot and not a guarantee that the tenant will not be laid-off a week into the new lease or experience repayment problems during the lease, providing landlords with enough information from the start to make informed decisions is our top priority. It is also important to note that sometimes, a previous financial or employment hiccup is not an indicator of a problem tenancy – often these applicants turn out to be fantastic tenants. Great tenants are key to renting a successful investment property so properly screening tenants is step one to the start of a great landlord-tenant relationship.