Premium BTR client spared £160k from US Fraudster
Illegal subletters run rife in the UK
Illegal subletting and other financial crimes within the BTR sector is rife, with a 364% rise in fraudulent tenant applications in the sector reported in the past six months alone.
Premium BTR properties, are a hugely attractive option for renters because they are fully furnished to a high finish, they include onsite extras (like security, gyms and pools), all utilities are bundled into the monthly price and there is often no deposit required.
While a highly attractive option for honest renters, this also makes them an easy target for tenant fraudsters as they don’t have to pay a deposit and – due to the existing referencing process many BTR owners have in place - they only need to pass one identity check before being approved. Many fraudsters are also aware of not needing to check the building’s quality as they are fully furnished and ready for tenants, meaning criminals from anywhere in the world can target high-value London-based BTRs.
Fraud from Abroad
The Homeppl fraud finders uncovered an interesting case of fraud for one our BTR clients. They were targeted by a middle-aged man based in Brooklyn, New York. The man applied for a three-bedroom luxury apartment in Canary Wharf for a 24-month lease, with a total contract value of almost £164,000.
However, our unique-to-market and ever-meticulous fraud detection technology meant that his attempt was prevented before he could start defrauding.
Unlike other tenant screening companies employed by BTR owners, Our technology immediately identified anomalies within the individual’s application by analysing a vast data set and documents, ultimately raising additional red flags. Our specialists delved deeper. We uncovered reports showing that the tenancy fraudster had also attempted to illegally apply for cars on both sides of the Atlantic.
International crime detected. Tenant Fraud averted.
What did Homeppl say?
Alexander Siedes, CEO and Founder of Homeppl said:
The higher the value of the property, the higher the risk of fraud, as illegal subletters can get immediate access, pocket huge profits and disappear before the letting agent has realised anything is wrong. And as there is often no consequence for making a fraudulent application, these people will just keep trying until they succeed.
“Tenant fraud tends to be higher in London, while the BTR sector is increasingly being targeted, meaning high-end BTR apartments in the capital are hugely attractive to fraudsters looking for an apartment they can illegally sublet. Companies looking after these developments need to take a leaf out of our clients’ book and ensure they have procedures in place to identify these issues and stop them.
Samantha Byars, who works closely with our clients to uncover fraud claimed that, “This particular client are acutely aware that luxury properties like theirs are an attractive target for criminals looking to fraudulently apply for tenancy, then not pay them while illegally subletting the apartment for huge sums of money.
“Therefore, they know iIt is absolutely critical that they have robust and rigorous measures in place to identify this activity and prevent fraudsters from accessing their apartments, not only to protect theour business from huge losses, but ultimately to protect their valued and honest tenants while maintaining the reputation they’ve built by offering luxury apartments. And that is why they came to us in the first place - they know that Homeppl is the best-in-class referencing system and they leverage our technology to ensure the integrity of their properties and reputation remains second to none.”
Take a deep dive into how an Italian fraudster tried to obtain housing by deception in London with a multitude of fake documents.