How do you spot a fake or a liar? I’ve had hundreds of people submit rental applications over the years and some of the crap they try to pass off as “truth” is incredible!
So, how to prevent this? Here are a few tips:
- Have them show you a photo ID and check the address against the address they put on your application. Also, make sure the name matches, of course.
- Have them bring a paycheck stub or proof of income. And then, take a good, hard look at it. Are there shadowy areas on the paper? Typos? Different fonts? These items can indicate photo-copying and tampering. Requiring this piece of supporting evidence of income will exclude many scammers.
- Make sure there’s a spot on the app that asks for names/ages of people to live in the property. And try to have all of them meet you there before you commit to a rental agreement. If they’re not willing to do this, I’d be suspicious.
- Check out the company that employs them; do a Google search. Addresses and numbers should match what’s written on the app, and on the paycheck stub.
- Although I don’t do credit checks for my lower income properties, I use National Tenant Network (NTN) for my credit/background checks on all of my middle/higher-end properties I own or manage for others. I cover the cost by charging my applicants $35 as a fee for applying.
- Charging an application fee weeds out people who aren’t serious about renting from you.
- In addition to the above list, I always try to drive by the place they currently live. Is it a dump? Is there trash in the yard and on the porch? Does it look filthy? Is the home in decent repair? I find it funny that, quite often, people say they want to move because they have a slumlord who doesn’t fix things, etc. Really? You chose to move into that dump in the first place, right? Doesn’t make sense …
If you add the above items to your checklist, you’ll be more likely to weed out the frauds and scammers.
Good luck, and happy hunting! :-)