By Daniel Berlind on Mar 4, 2020

As a property manager, how do you decide if an applicant has the financial resources to reliably pay their rent every month?  For most, the answer includes asking for routine financial documentation such as pay stubs, bank statements and tax records.

 

At Snappt, we look at a high volume of financial documents our clients have received from residential rental applicants.  There are two things we’ve noticed:

  1. Roughly a third of these documents have been altered by the applicant
  2. That percentage is rising over time

 

This is a big deal for property managers!  Maybe the applicant is trying to show income they don’t have, which can lead to missed rent and ultimately expensive evictions.  Or, maybe they are trying to HIDE income in order to fraudulently qualify for low-income housing.  Or, worse yet, maybe they are trying to disguise the source of their income to hide criminal activity.

 

A recent survey from UBS[1] confirms what we’re seeing, showing one-in-five consumers admit to lying on credit applications.

 

Why is tenant fraud increasing?

  1. First, rent is increasing faster than income.  Residents are under a lot of pressure to qualify.
  2. Second, the gig-economy is exploding.  This is the trend where people work by the “gig,” not for a paycheck (think Uber driver versus Starbuck’s barista).  This means there are more self-employed applicants (who are notoriously difficult to vet).
  3. And, finally, there has been an explosion of tools that make it easy for applicants to alter financial documents, often in ways that are invisible to the human eye.

 

What can property managers do about the increase in tenant fraud?

  • You cannot give up on financial documentation.  No other practice gives you as clear a picture of your applicant’s ability to meet their financial obligations.
  • Yes, you can check ID, credit and eviction history, but none of those speak to whether your applicant has – today – the financial resources to make rent each month.
  • You can manually call and verify the information on the financial forms—banks, employers, etc.  But this is an expensive, time-consuming task, and opens you up to FCRA compliance risks.

 

Snappt provides a simpler, less expensive, FCRA-compliant option. LEARN MORE

For a small fee, we review the financial documents your applicants provide.  Our data-driven fraud detection software spots altered documentation that the human eye misses.  You get a quick, accurate, inexpensive answer as to whether the documents your applicant supplied are real or altered.

 

Tenant fraud is on the rise.  Make sure you're staying a step ahead.

 

[1] UBS asked 2,000 Americans if their loan applications were 'completely accurate and factual,' and the results are worrying – Business Insider

See Survey Results