How to Prevent Rental Application Fraud from Costing You A Lot of Money

According to Maslow’s hierarchy, finding shelter is one of those needs that people will do anything to meet. Everyone needs a place to lay their head and that vacant property looks pretty appetizing. Despite ‘everyone needing a place,’ not everyone meets the basic criteria needed to protect your property. The less ideal of an applicant, the more likely it is that they know they’re not your first choice. They can try to find somewhere else willing to take them in, or if they’re desperate, try to make themselves seem a bit more appealing than they really are. This could be called lying, or it could be called fraud.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy, finding shelter is one of those needs that people will do anything to meet. Everyone needs a place to lay their head and that vacant property looks pretty appetizing. Despite ‘everyone needing a place,’ not everyone meets the basic criteria needed to protect your property. The less ideal of an applicant, the more likely it is that they know they’re not your first choice. They can try to find somewhere else willing to take them in, or if they’re desperate, try to make themselves seem a bit more appealing than they really are. This could be called lying, or it could be called fraud.

Rental Application Fraud

There are two main kinds of rental application fraud. One is a scam aimed at renters in which a person pretends to be a property manager and is looking for residents. They collect the application fees then run, leaving the applicant in want of a new home. The other is the larger worry to property managers. When an applicant lies about who they are on their application, that is fraudulent behavior.

With hindsight being 20/20, seeing fraud before it becomes an issue can be difficult. property managers seem to discover the fraud after the fact. With evictions becoming more difficult, that means quite a lot of missing rent because of a lie you wish you saw before they moved in.

Rental Application Fraud

There are two main kinds of rental application fraud. One is a scam aimed at renters in which a person pretends to be a property manager and is looking for residents. They collect the application fees then run, leaving the applicant in want of a new home. The other is the larger worry to property managers. When an applicant lies about who they are on their application, that is fraudulent behavior.

With hindsight being 20/20, seeing fraud before it becomes an issue can be difficult. property managers seem to discover the fraud after the fact. With evictions becoming more difficult, that means quite a lot of missing rent because of a lie you wish you saw before they moved in.

Preventing Crime

The best way to catch fraud is to have a system of double-checking, of checks and balances, if you will. Through the process of identity verification, you can make sure that you are speaking to the person you believe that you are speaking to. Cross referencing the information you see can show you what lines up and what doesn’t. Does their government-issued ID match with their other records? That can include credit information, criminal history, and employment records.

Preventing Crime

The best way to catch fraud is to have a system of double-checking, of checks and balances, if you will. Through the process of identity verification, you can make sure that you are speaking to the person you believe that you are speaking to. Cross referencing the information you see can show you what lines up and what doesn’t. Does their government-issued ID match with their other records? That can include credit information, criminal history, and employment records.

Having a strong resident screening solution is one of the top tools a property manager can have. With a solution like CIC, you can make sure that the information you’re seeing in your applicants’ background checks is trustworthy. From there, you can verify everything your applicant provided, and whatever is required within your rental criteria, is accurate and meets with your expectationsThat would include checking for omitted information, noticeable gaps in their rental or employment history, or references that just don’t seem to be as certain as you would like them to be.

It’s unlikely that someone who commits rental application fraud to try and get an apartment will see any repercussions beyond being denied for the property. By identifying fraud beforehand, however, you can dramatically lessen the risk of problematic renters who end up putting your asset in the red through damages or lost rent. If you learn about fraud after the approval, you can begin to work on ways to get your property back. Consult with an attorney who knows your state or county’s laws to see if your renter’s falsified information invalidates the lease and if it means eviction can be on the table.

Having a strong resident screening solution is one of the top tools a property manager can have. With a solution like CIC, you can make sure that the information you’re seeing in your applicants’ background checks is trustworthy. From there, you can verify everything your applicant provided, and whatever is required within your rental criteria, is accurate and meets with your expectationsThat would include checking for omitted information, noticeable gaps in their rental or employment history, or references that just don’t seem to be as certain as you would like them to be.

It’s unlikely that someone who commits rental application fraud to try and get an apartment will see any repercussions beyond being denied for the property. By identifying fraud beforehand, however, you can dramatically lessen the risk of problematic renters who end up putting your asset in the red through damages or lost rent. If you learn about fraud after the approval, you can begin to work on ways to get your property back. Consult with an attorney who knows your state or county’s laws to see if your renter’s falsified information invalidates the lease and if it means eviction can be on the table.

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Nicole Seidner

Cole Seidner is a copywriter here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in creative nonfiction. Her free time is spent taking pictures of her dogs or reading deep dive analysis on movies that she hasn’t seen.

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