Fake tenant applications are something landlords have had to deal with for years. Unfortunately, with easy access to the internet, rental websites have unwittingly provided rental scam artists with an abundance of potential victims. So, how can landlords protect themselves and their rental properties from con artists? In this blog, we’re sharing tips on what to watch out for and how to spot rental application discrepancies.
How To Assess Risk Of a Rental Scams
Rental scams can cost a real estate investor thousands of dollars in lost rent and property damages. The best way to defend yourself against a rental scan is to vet potential tenants properly. Put simply; you should find out as much as you can about a tenant before you enter a lease agreement with them.
Everything from a tenant’s credit history, current income and job status, past rental history, and previous bankruptcy should be taken into consideration. The higher the risk, the more you should consider whether the tenant is a fit for you.
Why Do People Commit Rental Scams?
There are many reasons why someone may decide to commit fraud, varying from having no intention to pay rent, not having the means to pay rent, or wanting to hide a questionable financial past.
With today’s technology, almost anyone can edit copies of required documents with a simple app on their phone. This means that people can manipulate anything from bank statements to pay stubs to secure a rental agreement. It’s essential to be discerning and investigate all avenues if you believe something doesn’t add up.
How To Detect Fraudulent Pay Stubs
It’s important to remember that the majority of tenants are honest and trustworthy people simply looking for a home. However, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself on some of the tell-tale signs of fraudulent pay stubs.
Here are some simple tips to help you spot a fraudulent pay stub:
- Check watermarks and any other damage or apparent alteration to the document
- Check deductions and ensure they add up correctly
- Confirm the numbers match the pay stubs and any additional information you have been provided.
- Check any logos or official wording for errors
- Be sure the pay stub information matches the employer’s information
If anything doesn’t add up or appears suspicious, it may be necessary to request additional documentation, such as a W-2. Alternatively, you could call the potential renter’s employee to confirm their employment status and the information they have provided on their application.
Other Fraudulent Documentation To Look Out For
It’s important to verify all documents you receive, including anything in regards to current and previous employment. If a potential renter claims they’ve worked for their current employer for 3 years, it’s crucial that you verify this.
In addition, be on the lookout for fraudulent rental applications received on behalf of someone else. For example, utilizing a credit check can help reveal if an applicant has a mortgage in another town and may not be the person actually applying for your rental property. In addition, court records can help verify the information provided in a rental application. Remember, the golden rule is: trust, but verify everything you receive.
Find An Experienced Brevard County Property Manager
No one knows when they may become victims of a rental scam, but an experienced property manager can help you protect your investment from fraudulent rental applications. Our licensed property managers have helped thousands of landlords thoroughly vet prospective tenants. Our knowledgeable team is experts in tenant screening and can help you find the perfect tenant in record time.
Call Rent In Brevard Property Management today and learn more about how we can help you maximize your profit and protect your rental business.