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Landlord Tips on Avoiding Fraudulent Applicants

Landlord Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent Applicants

Provided by Cathy Taylor of Rate-A-Renter
You have to know what to watch out for when you screen your potential applicants. Here are some tips to make sure they are who they say they are:

  • Check the application for errors and any information that strikes you as false. Always ask the applicant to clarify suspicious data and engage them in a conversation. Most lies or attempts to hide information, will become apparent.

  • Ask for a complete history of residence. If they have moved long distances numerous times in a short period, ask why.

  • Always verify their work history including length of employment, position and salary. Then make sure their work history matches up with the residence history.

  • Check all forms of identification including: social security card, driver’s license, pay stub, W-2 form or a currently utility or phone bill. Compare the name and address from these to what has been provided on the rental application.

  • Make sure the signatures on the applicant’s ID matches the signatures on your rental application. If it looks significantly different, have the applicant sign their name right in front of you.

  • Be aware of suspicious behavior such as the applicant acting nervous or appearing to withhold or modify information. Do they struggle to remember their social security number or address? Do they come across as being pushy about moving in? These should be red flags to you to use your gut instinct.

  • Does the credit report come back with numerous inquiries within a short period of time? It’s not always true, but this can be an indicator of someone who has opened fraudulent accounts.

  • Don’t accept a credit report directly from the applicant – always use Rate-a-Renter as these documents can be altered.

  • Applicants that come back with “No Credit Found” should be suspect. Not everyone has credit; but they are a minority (unless they are new to the US or are under 18).

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