A Philadelphia tenant has been accused of assuming false identities, including her own daughter’s, in order to scam landlords for free rent. It is estimated that the woman owes $50,000 to as many as seven landlords after failing to pay rent and damaging the properties.
According to a news report, the apparent scam involved assuming the identities of family members, including a child. Reporters say they have been able to confirm that documents provided to the landlord were fake, including pay stubs that belonged to someone else.
Then, the tactic was to delay the eviction process by making up excuses, including claims that her daughter had died — multiple times, that the tenant was in the hospital, or that she had been injured.
In the current case, the tenant successfully delayed the eviction process two times by making up excuses. After the second delay, the landlord decided to dig further into the tenant’s background, and discovered other landlord victims.
Reporters then interviewed these other landlords and found they had lost tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and property damage. It appears that each time the rent was late, the woman successfully deferred evictions by making excuses and empty promises. Previous landlords describe the woman as a pro – someone who knows what she is doing. These landlords expressed anguish that the eviction judges allowed the delays, according to the report.
The police are pursuing criminal charges. These charges may include passing bad checks, forging documents and conspiracy to commit fraud or theft. But that criminal case has been delayed, according to the report.
It is unclear whether any of these landlords will collect the money owed or be awarded restitution for their losses. One thing is certain: this case demonstrates that an ounce of prevention is worth its weight is gold.
Landlords are not helpless when it comes to stopping professional tenants who make sport of the rules. In fact, landlords have powerful weapons at their disposal — if they choose to use them.
It is now possible to report tenants to a registry that serves as an incentive for tenants to pay rent on time each month, and also alerts subsequent landlords of possible income loss.
TVS Tenant Verification Service has launched LandlordCreditBureau.com, a database of both good and bad tenants. Landlords report tenant pay habits, and search the database when screening new applicants. This database is automatically searched when a TVS member landlord requests a credit report. Soon, TVS hopes to share the database with Equifax, a leading credit reporting agency. That means tenant information, including rent payment history, will be added directly to the tenant’s credit report. (TVS already is reporting rent payments to Equifax Canada.)
The result will make it nearly impossible for scamming tenants to claim another victim. And, all it takes is a little cooperation on the part of landlords.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.