Referencing platform Homeppl has revealed how a fraudulent tenant in London tried to rent properties from three different letting agents who used its system, highlighting the severe challenges faced by landlords from tech-savvy criminal renters.
The platform says its systems were able to foil the male tenant’s initial attempt in March to rent a property via fake references and documents. It also claims that the sophistication of his efforts would probably have fooled most landlords or letting agents using traditional referencing systems.
The tenant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, initially approached a letting agent but checks on Companies House revealed his claimed employer was a firm with no turnover.
A bank statement provided proved by him turned out to be a manipulated image and therefore a fake, while email addresses provided had only recently been set up and were only lightly used.
Also, website addresses for different companies and entities offered as referees were linked digitally to the tenant.
The fraudster then tried to apply for tenancies through two further letting agencies in April and May.
Unfortunately for him, all three agents used Homeppl to reference tenants and his name was flagged by the system and his applications refused – unlike in other examples we have reported on recently.
“This example highlights the lengths that some tenants will go to in order to fraudulently rent a property which once they are in gives them the opportunity to commit further offences including illegally subletting or short letting on Airbnb or just to default on the rent,” says Homeppl founder and CEO Alexander Siedes (pictured).
“Unfortunately, there is no penalty for a fraudulent application, so they will just keep trying.
“And given most tenant referencing is nowhere near as reliable as ours, it makes you wonder where else has he tried and been successful.
Siedes blames ‘sloppy referencing’ by some large referencing companies on the 8% rent default rates within the private rented sector, which he claims his system reduces to zero.