A quarter of pensioners looking to rent fake references – landlords report

Surely Not – nearly a quarter of OAPs Fake References! By Mike White, of Martin & Co lettings agency in Norwich


I was reading a snippet from newly published research by the Letting Protection Service (whoever they are) the other day – apparently nearly a quarter of pensioners fake tenant references when applying for a new property. This was based on a poll of 10,000 landlords.

The same poll came up with the statistic that 43 pc of landlords had problems with faked tenant references from prospective tenants aged over 50.

When I first read this, I thought “serves ‘em right for being so naïve for accepting personal references,” and “not worth the paper they’re written on.” And even if they were genuine, no prospective tenant is going to offer a referee who would give them a duff reference. But unless the landlord is employing the services of a professional agent what alternative do they have? The short answer is not a lot; they can get a bank reference, do an on-line credit check, see pay slips, ask for an employer’s reference, talk to the existing landlord. All of this is good but it’s not enough.

At Martin & Co., we utilise the services of a professional referencing company. They don’t just go to one credit referencing agency but to all three of the major ones to ensure nothing slips through the net, they will check to see if the applicant has conveniently forgotten to note a previous address, they will formally locate them at their current address, they’ll verify salary, employment, identification……the list goes on. All of the information gathered is fed into a computer model using a matrix approach to obtain an overall Acceptability Rating– the model may not have been built by rocket scientists but it definitely involved a few propeller heads! Based on the results, the same company will put their money where their mouth is by underwriting a rent guarantee. They must be pretty sure the guarantees aren’t likely to be called upon.

Have you ever accepted fake references and what was the outcome?

Mike can be contacted at Martin & Co on 01603 766860 or at 13 St Giles Street Norwich.



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