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Landlords – Protect Yourself From Identity Fraud

A recent report from credit reference agency Experian revealed that tenants are the most susceptible group when it comes to identity fraud. Easily accessible rental properties, such as accommodation with shared hallways, means that their details are easier to steal. Add to that the fact that tenants habitually use online services more frequently without effectively protecting themselves.

How does this affect landlords?

Identity fraud has become the most common type of fraud and is particularly prevalent in major cities with young tenants a prime target. As a landlord you may be vulnerable to tenants with false identities. Tenants with false identities will typically fail to make rental payments and often cause damage to a property,

Carrying out thorough checks is the answer to confirming tenants are who they claim to be. Here’s how:-

  • Ask your prospective tenant to complete a detailed application form providing the details of every address they have lived at for at least the last five years. Confirm all previous residences by checking with any prior landlords.
  • Request references from current or previous employers and include credit checks in your vetting process. They aren’t conclusive proof of identity but are vital as part of overall background checks.
  • Obtain copies of bank statements for at least the past six months. It is highly unlikely that any identity thief would be able to provide bank statements covering such an extensive period. .
  • Confirm they have the right to live and work in the UK. As a landlord, the Immigration Act means the responsibility for these checks lies with you. You’ll find more information in our previous article – The Immigration Act – Your Questions Answered .
  • Ask for a copy of their current passport or driving licence showing their name and address together with proof of any name changes, for example, change of name by deed poll or a copy of a marriage certificate.
  • Prepare a list of questions to find out more about the tenant’s background, including their reasons for moving at this time.
  • If you are happy with the answers, carry out a full inventory of your property which will form part of the tenancy agreement.
  • Carry out a mid-term inspection during the tenancy agreement to ensure that your property is in good hands.
  • Consider using a lettings agent. With increasing legal obligations, more and more landlords are putting the management of their properties in the hands of a reputable lettings agent. At Redstones, we carry out extensive background checks on all prospective tenants, giving our landlords peace of mind.

Why choose Redstones?

Redstones offers a range of property management services to suit your requirements including our premier Platinum Total Care service which ensures our clients’ rental payments are made on time every month, even if the tenant fails to pay.

We are accredited members of The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and of The Property Ombudsman and comply with the Deposit Protection Service (DPS.

Don’t be caught out by identity fraud. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

Related reading:-

When Letting Goes Wrong : Why It Pays To Use Redstones For Your Property Management

Obligations To Your Tenants : 7 Things Every Landlord Needs To Know