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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 challenging. And besides, the burden is on the landlord or property owner to ensure that the tenant has honestly represented themselves. Inopportunely, some tenants may provide false or misleading information on their application, from a fake “previous landlord” to fraudulent pay stubs – further than.

Irrespective of how promising the tenant may look at first glance, it’s imperative to do your due diligence and properly review each component of their application. You can begin by learning about some of the most typical ways applicants would falsify information and how to spot them.

Fake Landlord and References

Renters are conscious that you will need to contact their previous landlord for a reference, as well as at least one or two people who can vouch for them. However, if the tenant has a terrible rental history, they may tend to associate you with fake references.

At times, this could be a friend or family member they’ve asked to pose as a Kimberly property manager or reference. But it could be a professional service they’ve hired, as well. Contingent on the service, these might seem relatively convincing, unless you are double-checking everything.

Fake Employment Info

The same thing applies to an applicant’s employment or income information. Tenants may seek to falsify their income in order to qualify for a better rental home, and some of the tactics employed can be fairly complex. 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, keep in mind to cross-reference whatever they submit on their application with the information on their credit report. There are various red flags to check, such as round numbers, inconsistencies, and a lack of professional appearance.

Lies About Criminal History

Another source of concern for some applicants is the background check. Some potential tenants may expect that you won’t check their background too thoroughly and claim that they don’t have a criminal record on their application. Unquestionably, if you are utilizing a good background checking service of any quality, you’ll be able to spot this quickly.

While a full background check might be costly, an expert Kimberly property management company will be able to perform more thorough checks as part of your service contract – and keep you compliant with Fair Housing laws. That alone may be reason enough for hiring one to manage your properties!

Suspicious Social Security Number

Another popular approach for an applicant to fake a rental application is to provide a fake social security number or one that belongs to a child or family member. There are numerous reasons why someone might do so. The applicant may have a plan to conceal their credit history, or they may not have their social security number.

In any case, you can watch for a few red flags that will make spotting a fake social security number easier. If the credit history is blank or has almost nothing on it, the chances are that the social security number is either fake or belongs to a child and not the applicant. It’s also important to watch for inconsistencies, and if anything seems off, do some more digging.


One of the easiest ways to avoid getting duped by a fake rental application is to hire Real Property Management Magic Valley 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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