Obtaining Housing by Deception: A Case Study

Fraud found for one of the UK's leading real estate and letting agencies

UK letting agents are exposed to increasingly sophisticated housing fraudsters and failure to identify it can have a hefty financial impact on themselves and their landlords whilst causing irreparable reputational damage.

A staggering 1 in 66 UK tenants attempt to commit housing fraud when trying to rent. These numbers are made up by a combination of professional and amateur fraudsters

The current rental default rate across the UK is 8% with an average cost of £33,000 to landlords in the process of court fees, and evictions.

It was recently discovered that 5% of properties across the UK are rented to fraudsters.

Our unique fraud technology goes way beyond checking national fraud databases to ensure we identify fraudsters and protect you from legal exposure and loss of reputation.

Fraud Found: Timeline 

  • Property: Located on Mortimer Street, London

  • Monthly Rental Value: £2,925

  • Contract Length: 3 years

  • Total value of fraud if not caught: £105,300

The tenant in question was invited by one of our letting agents on the 7th June 2022 for a standard tenant reference check, as is routine.

The tenant uploaded multiple documents including:

  • an Italian ID Card

  • a Utility Bill

  • Bank Statements

The applicant also refused to connect to open banking.

Once the documents were submitted our systems conducted a series of tests on the data as per below:

What was the outcome?

Our systems picked up multiple issues with the documents. Some of the supporting documents had been created in Microsoft Word and the ID document had images layered over the original issue.

The income reference supplied had a recently created domain address with some suspicious Companies House data which did not correlate with the rest of the application.

4 fraud techniques in one application

Our client was over the moon to discover that a rental property worth £2,925 a month would be spared from an applicant with deceptive intentions.

Obtaining housing by deception is rising in the UK as the economy tightens as a result of rising tensions in Ukraine. Homeppl are the first line of defence for letting agents and landlords against this trend.

All letting agents, BTR developers, mortgage lenders and landlords concerned with real estate risk assessment in 2023 need to embrace consumer risk and fraud prevention technology. Skeptical? Try and upload a document for yourself!

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