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How to avoid tenancy fraud

As a landlord, it is crucial to protect yourself and your property from tenancy fraud. There are a range of fraudulent activities that some tenants involve themselves with, all of which can have a huge financial impact on landlords.

Here are some precautions you can take to avoid falling victim to tenancy fraud.

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False information on applications

Tenancy fraud may begin before a tenancy even starts. Failing to provide accurate information on the application can lead to issues further down the line.

Applicants may state that they have a higher income than they actually do in order to appear financially stable. They may also provide inaccurate rental history and references in the attempt to gain your trust as a landlord, when in reality they have behaved poorly as tenants in the past.

Applicants may even go as far as committing identity fraud to secure a tenancy by using forged documents that hide their true background, which is a criminal offence.

How can I avoid this?

If you come across anything that looks suspicious during the tenant screening process, it is imperative that it is not overlooked. When you work with Martin & Co, we’ll thoroughly screen all prospective tenants to make sure everything is kept above board.

Unauthorised individuals in the property

Once they’ve moved into the property, some tenants may house occupants who are not permitted to live there under the terms of the tenancy agreement.

On some occasions, the tenants may be subletting the property without the landlord’s permission. This undermines the landlord’s control over who resides in their property, while also leading to issues regarding liability and financial responsibility.

How can I avoid this?

Conduct regular checks and keep open channels of communication with your tenants. If you notice people who you do not recognise coming to and from property and they look like they are carrying belongings, there is a chance that your tenant could be subletting the property.

Unusual financial behaviour

Tenants who have strange payment patterns, such as making irregular transactions or frequently changing payment methods, may also be committing tenancy fraud. They use these methods to confuse landlords and deceive them into incorrectly calculating the rental payments they receive.

Occasionally, tenants also take out utility bills in somebody else’s name to distance themselves from a property, which makes it difficult for landlords to trace any issues back to them.

How can I avoid this?

If you notice utility bills addressed to a name that you do not recognise, they could be committing fraudulent and even illegal activities.

How an estate agent can help prevent tenancy fraud

Conducting thorough tenant screening

When you work with a letting agent, they’ll verify all information provided by a tenant, including their employment history, financial background and references. This massively reduces the risk of tenancy fraud, which can save you from the risk of property damage, loss of income, and legal issues.

Creating a strong tenancy agreement

A comprehensive, legally sound tenancy agreement is crucial in order to avoid tenancy fraud.

Your estate agent can use their expertise and knowledge of the housing market to create an agreement specific to you and your property. By clearly outlining the terms and conditions of the contract, estate agents will make sure that you are protected against scams and subletting and make sure all the required provisions are in place to prevent any fraudulent activities.

Inspecting your property

Your estate agent will also conduct regular property inspections to check for any signs of fraudulent activity or unauthorised subletting.

While doing this, they will also check the condition of the property to make sure it is being properly maintained, and quickly address any issues they may find in a swift and professional manner to make sure you have a stress-free experience as a landlord.

For more information about our letting services, contact your local Martin & Co branch today

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