91% of lettings fraud results from the submission of fake or modified bank statements

Homeppl, one of the leading tenant referencing providers has confirmed this week that 91% of the fraud they flag in UK rental applications stems from applicants attempting to conceal their true affordability by modifying original financial documents or creating completely fake ones.

Research conducted by the service provider shows that on average it now costs £44,000 to evict a rogue, fraudulent tenant in the UK. This includes legal fees, eviction costs, and damages. When combined with the value of a fraudulent contract, especially in London, this can be financially detrimental to both the landlord and the agency.

Alexander Siedes, CEO and Founder at Homeppl, commented: “We’re in the middle of an economic crisis where demand for rent is high, the cost of renting is high, the cost of food, gas and heating is high and because of that, we have seen people falsify their rental applications to secure property in a difficult market.”

The average rent in London is still currently above £2000 per calendar month. If a tenant defaults halfway through a 2-year lease, this leaves the landlord out of pocket by £24,000 + any eviction costs he/she might incur.

Mr. Siedes went on to add, “People think if they edit a bank statement to reflect a larger balance then their application will get accepted straight away. Whilst that may be enough to fool some referencing companies, our advanced document analysis technology will flag any edit in seconds”.

Homeppl has recently launched its new product “Fraud Finder”; an API that can be licensed out to letting & real estate agencies, as well as build-to-rent developers, to detect document fraud in their rental applications. The tool authenticates genuine financial documents such as bank statements, pension statements, investment portfolios and utility bills and conducts a series of fraud tests to signal any modifications, sending decisions back in seconds.

Homeppl has found that up to 10% of consumer applications can contain fraud.

“We are proud to release a product that not only protects landlords from financial loss, and letting agencies from reputational ruin, but also to save tenants from defaulting on their rent by highlighting true financial history.” Siedes said.

Homeppl state they will always provide the reason as to why a fraud test returned positive.