Tenant application fraud has spiked over the past 18 months, with criminals becoming smarter as they try to get hold of properties, it has been claimed.

Leading tenant referencing company Barbon reports that the volume of alerts on applications is continually increasing, and has flagged more than 50,000 suspicious applications in the last 12 months.

“As demand for property soars and rental prices rise, tenancy fraud is becoming more profitable and many more chancers want to get in on the act,” says chief executive officer Andy Halstead.

“They’ll use any opportunity, and we’re seeing increasingly sophisticated methods being used to try to obtain access to properties to support criminal activity or sublet illegally.”

Rising rents and the cost of living crisis are just two of the factors helping to increase the pressure on household budgets, says Halstead.

Higher risk

“Unfortunately, this could mean that some tenants present a higher risk. Add rising fraud data into the mix, and the situation becomes a perfect storm.”

Halstead is urging agents to help mitigate the risks and protect their landlords by using high quality, trusted referencing checks from a professional partner.

Referencing tenants is the first line of defence, and our experience, expertise and procedures help keep customers safe.”

Read more about referencing.

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