Adams Estates Uncovers Surge in Rental Application Fraud

Date Published 12 April 2024

An analysis of over 20,000 tenancy applications has found that fraudulent applications rose by 140% last year. The study, conducted by Adams Estates, revealed that payslip fraud was the most prevalent method used by tenants to deceive referencing systems.

To compile this data, a comparison was made between more than 300,000 tenancy applications from 2022 and an equal number from 2023. The statistics indicate that in 2022, approximately 1.2 cases of fraud were identified per 100 applications. By 2023, this number increased to 2.9 cases per 100, marking a 140% rise year over year.

Payslip fraud, where tenants inflate their income or modify the source, such as altering a company name, was the most frequently observed type of fraud. Techniques ranged from simple edits to the use of advanced photoshopping tools. Other detected fraud types over the past year included submitting false passport images, altering bank statements, providing fake references, and falsely claiming employment at non-existent companies.

In 2023 alone, payslip fraud constituted 58% of all fraud cases detected by Adams Estates. Even a single instance slipping through could potentially cost an agent the lifetime value of a landlord, estimated at £10,000.

Despite most applications being legitimate, the significant increase in fraud underscores the necessity for stringent safeguards to combat manipulation in the rental market.

Nimesh Parekh, Head of Referencing at Goodlord, comments: 'Fraud can manifest in various forms. Sometimes, tenants inflate their salaries hoping it will enhance their chances of securing a property. Given the current pressures in the housing market, it's understandable why we're witnessing an uptick in this kind of fraud. However, it is ill-advised as it could lead to placement on the National Fraud Database, affecting future job opportunities and other significant life events like obtaining loans. There is also a more sinister aspect of fraud, such as criminals using fake IDs to secure properties or individuals attempting to sign leases with forged documents. As the methods employed in fraud become more advanced and personal data increasingly digital, it is crucial that landlords and agents have access to state-of-the-art technology that can counter these tactics and enable them to lease their properties confidently.'

Adams Estates emphasizes that their referencing teams are undergoing training to identify the inconsistencies that indicate fraudulent applications amidst ever more creative schemes.

Adams Estates maintains the highest of standards when sourcing tenants for your properties, ensuring that each application undergoes thorough vetting to safeguard landlords and promote trust in the rental market. With our robust referencing processes, we aim to ensure that all tenants are vetted to the highest of standards, providing peace of mind and security for property owners.