Proptech firm Homeppl has saved one buy-to-rent (BTR) client more than £160,000 after it foiled a fraudulent tenancy application on a luxury London apartment.
The tenant due diligence and guarantee firm reports that its client was targeted by a prospective tenant in the US who applied for a 24-month lease on a three-bedroom apartment in East London with a total contract value of almost £164,000.
But Homeppl’s proprietary technology identified discrepancies in the application by analysing numerous data points and documents, raising red flags. Further investigations discovered that the same person had previously been convicted of fraud outside of the UK.
The firm says illegal subletting and other financial crimes within the BTR sector is rife, with a 364% rise in fraudulent tenant applications reported in the past six months. Premium properties are an easy target as they don’t require a deposit and – due to the existing referencing process many BTR owners have in place – applicants only need to pass one identity check before being approved.
Samantha Byars, account manager at Homeppl, says clients know it is absolutely critical that they have robust and rigorous measures in place to identify this activity and prevent fraudsters from accessing their apartments, not only to protect the business from huge losses, but also to protect their valued and honest tenants.
CEO Alexander Siedes (pictured) adds: “The sector is increasingly being targeted, meaning high-end BTR apartments in the capital are hugely attractive to fraudsters looking for an apartment they can illegally sublet or conduct illegal activity from. Companies looking after these developments need to ensure they have procedures in place to identify these issues and stop them.”