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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 might be complicated. After all, the burden is on the landlord or property owner to confirm that the tenant has honestly represented themselves. Unfortunately, some tenants may present false or misleading information on their application, from a fake “previous landlord” to fraudulent pay stubs – and beyond.

Notwithstanding how good the tenant may look at first glance, you need to do your due diligence and extensively evaluate each portion of their application. You may begin by learning about some of the easiest tactics applicants would fake information and how to spot them.

Fake Landlord and References

Renters are mindful that you will need to contact their previous landlord for a reference, not to mention at least one or two people who can vouch for them. However, if the tenant has a horrible rental history, they may tend to connect you with fake references.

Situationally, this could be a friend or family member they’ve asked to pose as a Kingsland property manager or reference. But it could be a professional service they’ve hired, as well. Contingent upon the service, they may seem quite convincing until you are double-checking everything.

Fake Employment Info

This is particularly the case for an applicant’s employment or income information. Tenants may seek to fake their income in order to qualify for a better rental home, and some of the tactics utilized can be fairly elaborate. Some tenants may go so far as to fabricate pay stubs using online pay stub generators to “prove” their income.

To avoid getting fooled by fake employment details, you need to cross-reference whatever they provide on their application with the information on their credit report. There are various red flags to inspect, such as round numbers, inconsistencies, and a lack of professional appearance.

Lies About Criminal History

Another source of issue for some applicants is the background check. Some potential tenants may wish that you won’t check their background too carefully and claim that they don’t have a criminal record on their application. As you should, as long as you use a reputable background checking service of any quality, you’ll be able to spot this easily.

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

Suspicious Social Security Number

Another typical way for an applicant to fake a rental application is to use a fake social security number or one that belongs to a child or family member. There are numerous factors why someone might do so. The applicant may have an intent to conceal their credit history, or they may not have their social security number.

In any case, there are a couple of red flags to look out for that will make spotting a fake social security number easier. If the credit history is blank or has almost nothing on it, 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 watch for inconsistencies, and if anything seems off, do some more digging.


One of the ideal approaches to avoid getting duped by a fake rental application is to partner with Real Property Management Highland 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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