Landlords: Can You Spot the Scammer?

by | Feb 26, 2018 | Tenant Screening

Take a look at these rental applicants and see if you can spot the scammer:

Tenant A is a successful entrepreneur. A sharp dresser in an expensive suit, Tenant A decided to lease out his luxury home in the U.S. and rent a place in Vancouver — way below his budget — to chill for a while.

Tenant B is a handsome young man with a small child. He prefers a single-family home.

Tenant C has suffered some heartbreak recently, what with her child struggling with cancer and her dog having died. She’s looking for a fresh start.

Tenant D works at a nearby hospital and has stellar references.

Tenant E is eager to move in right now and has a great reference from the previous landlord.

These applicants come from different walks of life yet they have one thing in common: they are all liars.

Tenant A didn’t own a house in the U.S. And he didn’t have a job. The only reason he had any money at all is that he wasn’t paying his bills. He paid one month’s rent, and then lived rent-free for months while the landlord tried to evict him.

Tenant B never intended to move into the home. Instead, he handed the keys over to an accomplice who turned the house into an illegal grow op. Tenant B was using a fake identity so he couldn’t be located to account for all the damage caused to the unit.

Tenant C has played this sob story a dozen times. Once she moved in, she immediately stopped paying rent. Her initial cheque bounced. She delayed her eviction hearing for another month because she claimed to be sick that day.

Tenant D didn’t have a job at the hospital although she may have worked somewhere else. Her references were accomplices. She lived rent-free for years by pulling this scam over and over.

Tenant E is eager to move in, but that’s because she’s being evicted. She assumed the name of another tenant — her former neighbour — so her landlord reference would be stellar.

When it comes to bad tenants, the schemes may differ, but there is only one goal: con the landlord out of running a tenant background check. These five professional tenants likely would have been exposed by requiring a photo ID, running a credit check, verifying employment and speaking with previous landlord references.

Due diligence pays off when it comes to avoiding income loss. For instance, run a tenant credit check and you might see that the applicant suffers from bad money management. The credit report may not align with the photo ID, or it may not track with the information provided in the rental application. Employers can expose false employment info. The previous landlords may not be able to verify that the applicant is a former tenant or that the person has a good rental history.

When screening tenants, don’t get sidetracked looking for the “tell” that exposes a pro. These schemes are perfected over time and can be difficult to spot. Bottom line: there is no way of knowing if that charming, good-looking, or down-on-their-luck applicant is qualified without verifying the information provided in the rental application and running a tenant background check. Otherwise, the ideal tenant and the tenant from hell are virtually indistinguishable.

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 is 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.

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