Concerning new figures from fraud prevention experts Cifas indicates that there were over 6,000 instances of ‘Previous Occupier Fraud’ across Britain between January and June 2015.
What is ‘Previous Occupier Fraud?’
‘Previous Occupier Fraud,’ is when a fraudster takes residence in an address and take on the identity of the previous tenant to apply for credit or loans. In the opening six months this year, fraudsters reportedly attempted to gain products worth an estimated £8.6m.
The latest Office of National Statistics data revealed that application fraud has grown by 14% in the year to June.
Landlords could well be forgiven for thinking that it is not their problem should their previous tenant become victim of ID fraud. However, there are a number of issues that could hit landlords in the pocket should fraud occur in their property.
Consequences of identity fraud occurring in a rented property for landlords are:
- Losing money
Should a fraudster enter a property, it has highly unlikely that they will pay upfront in paying rent, service bills and the like
- A County Court Judgment
If the landlords’ identity is stolen and debt is subsequently racked up in their name, then a CCJ could be issued, which will affect credit ratings
- A long eviction process
When a CCJ has been issued, landlords face a long eviction process to get their property back, which will be both time-consuming and costly
- Potential property damage
Any damage found in the property will be charged to the landlord, who will possibly have to claim off their landlord insurance
With this in mind, landlords must do everything they can to prevent fraudsters taking residence in one of their properties. Just Landlords has provided these three main tips for keeping rental property safe:
1) Follow the tenant referencing scheme
Using a comprehensive application form, carrying out checks on all new tenants, looking out for previous CCJ’s and asking for contact numbers and references from employers can all help combat fraud
2) Install individual postboxes at all HMO’s
Landlords should ensure that mail for each residency is separated
3) Negate the risk of financial documents going astray
All outgoing tenants should take out a Redirection 12 when leaving a rental property. This takes away the risk of sensitive personal financial information staying in the property.