A landlord in New York is claiming that his tenant committed fraud by creating the impression that he was from a wealthy celebrity family in order to score a posh penthouse.
According to a news story, the landlord says he is out $100,000. He filed a lawsuit alleging that the tenant changed his surname to that of a wealthy family, and used an attorney to skirt tenant screening reports.
When the landlord requested a Social Security number in order to run a credit check, the attorney objected, citing privacy concerns, and then verified the tenant’s income as more than sufficient to cover the rent.
The lawyer allegedly indicated that the tenant had a net worth of over $100 million. A separate lawsuit has been filed against the lawyer for fraud.
After further investigation, it appears the tenant may have two other evictions on his record.
The tenant claims he is refusing to pay rent because of the condition of the property, including interruptions in basic services such as cable, telephone and gas.
While this case has all the trappings of tabloid drama, this type of scam — pretending to be over-qualified — is fairly common. Rental applicants at all economic levels are capable of creating a fictional character in order to cover up a bad rental history. Telltale signs of this scam include:
1. Refusal to complete a rental application or to supply key credit, income or reference contact information necessary to run a tenant background check;
2. Using friends as references;
3. Contradictory, vague, or cursory information on the rental application;
4. Either very sad stories of misfortune and redemption, or over-the-top qualifications.
5. The desire to pay cash only, or persistent pressure to move in immediately.
The value of running tenant screening reports in every case is clear: reducing the likelihood of renting to a scammer. While there is no way of knowing how many bad applicants are out there, hindsight is 20/20. Consistency is the only way to win the fraud game.
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.