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Protect Your Rental: How to Spot a Fake Application

Rental Application Form and Income StatementsVerifying a potential tenant’s information on their rental application can be a cumbersome. All things considered, the burden is on the landlord or property owner to ensure that the tenant has honestly represented themselves. Sorry to say, a few tenants will use false or misleading information on their application, from a fake “previous landlord” to fraudulent pay stubs – and beyond.

Despite how proper the tenant may look at first glance, it’s critical to do your due diligence and cautiously look at every part of their application. You can start by learning about some of the usual ways applicants may counterfeit information and how to spot them.

Fake Landlord and References

Renters understand that you’ll need to contact their previous landlord for a reference, aside from at least one or two people who can vouch for them. However, if the tenant has a negative rental history, they may aim to give you fake references.

Occasionally, this could be a friend or family member they’ve asked to pose as a Chesapeake property manager or reference. But it could also be a professional service they’ve hired. According to the service, these might appear very convincing unless you are double-checking everything.

Fake Employment Info

The same thing is correct about an applicant’s employment or income information. Tenants may try to inflate their income to help them qualify for a better rental home, and some of the tactics used can be quite sophisticated. Some tenants may go so far as to fabricate pay stubs using online pay stub generators to “prove” their income.

To prevent being tricked by fake employment data, make certain to cross-reference everything they mention on their application with the information on their credit report. There are various red flags you might watch for, including round numbers, inconsistencies, and a lack of professional appearance.

Lies About Criminal History

One more important concern for some applicants is the background check. A few potential tenants may expect that you won’t check their background too vigilantly and claim that they don’t have a criminal record on their application. Indeed, this is typically a really simple one to spot if you are employing a background checking service of any quality.

While a quality background check can be expensive, a skilled Chesapeake property management company will be able to conduct more thorough checks as part of your service contract – and keep you compliant with Fair Housing laws. That by itself might make it worth hiring one to manage your properties!

Suspicious Social Security Number

Another common approach an applicant may try to fake a rental application is by presenting a fake social security number or one that belongs to a child or family member. There are numerous explanations why somebody may do so. The person may have an intention to conceal their credit history or may not even have their social security number.

Either way, you can look for a couple of red flags that will simplify spotting a fake social security number. Suppose the credit history is blank or has nothing anything on it. In that case, the probabilities are that the social security number is either fake or belongs to a child and not the applicant. It’s also vital to inspect for inconsistencies, and if anything seems off, do some more digging.


Probably the least demanding method to avoid getting duped by a fake rental application is to appoint Real Property Management Hampton Roads to screen your tenants for you. Our local offices have access to some of the best screening programs in the country, offering you high-quality services on a personal level. Contact us online today to learn more about our full range of property management services.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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