Your Tenant Submits Fraudulent Documents: What Do You Do?
Submitting fraudulent documents as part of a rental application is more common than you may think. These potential scamming tenants may submit fake references, a fake credit report, or even a fake rental history or employment records. And, they are just hoping that you are the landlord that will be naïve enough to believe that they are real.
So why do they do it?
When a potential tenant submits a false document as part of the rental application, it is usually due to some less-than-stellar part of their history. For instance, perhaps the applicant doesn’t make as much as stated on the application. He or she may be employed by the company as stated, but the amounts may be forged.
Another reason potential tenants decide to forge documents is if they have bad credit or rough rental history. Knowing that either of these things may disqualify them from being able to rent your property, they may choose to falsify the information in hopes of a better chance- and not getting caught.
What can you do?
It is very important that you don’t let your guard down when screening tenants. You may get great vibes from someone and they may tell you all the things you want to hear, but justifying your tenant screening going with your gut is going to lead you straight to trouble.
Review everything. If a potential tenant wants to be “helpful” to you and brings you a copy of his or her credit report or background check so you don’t have to pay for one, pull your own anyways. Sure, they could be good people – but they could also be presenting you with an altered document.
If you don’t take the time to thoroughly review the documents presented by the applicant and do your own homework, you could very easily find yourself in a situation that loses you money and causes you a lot of wasted time and headaches. Not to mention having to deal with legal proceedings.
Remember – a potential tenant is not your friend. Your best bet is to treat each and every one as if they are a stranger and untrustworthy until you can prove otherwise.
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Rental Homes Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at www.alhpodland.com. You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube,Bigger Pockets and REI CLub and LinkedIn.