Half of all fraudulent tenancy applications involve fake or doctored pay slips, according to rent-tech platform Goodlord, which has warned landlords to be on their guard.
Its anaylsis of more than 300,000 tenancy applications last year found that while only one in 1,000 were fraudulent, 54% of them involved payslip fraud.
Agents should be using open banking, AI-based ID tools, and credit referencing software to outsmart the fraudsters, says Blake Richmond, MD of referencing at Goodlord, while landlords should also look out for red flags in tenant behaviour.
These include refusing to cooperate with open banking requests, using the wrong tax codes on pay slips, missing out key sections, or forgetting to add net/gross pay.
“Having the right systems in place and an eagle eye on the details is vital to spot fraudulent applications quickly and accurately,” he adds.
Tom Goodman, MD of fellow tech platform Vouch, has seen increasingly creative ways being used to try and hoodwink the referencing process and agrees that a tech-led approach is the only way to ensure landlords can spot these dodgy applications.
“Agents and landlords can no longer rely on instinct or document review - sophisticated frauds require even more sophisticated tools to combat them,” says Goodman.
Landlords on the LandlordZONE forums have had similar experiences and some have complained that agents haven’t performed thorough referencing, resulting in the tenant absconding, or that references were inaccurate or have been or falsified.
The use of guarantors is also on the rise, according to a Goodlord, which reports that in November 2022, just under 15% of renters required a guarantor, up from less than 12% at the same time in 2021.
Read more on the LandlordZONE forums about fraudulent payslips.