Scammer Warning (found via local estate agent)

No sorry , I was enquiring about @Christine12 post above. Arranged viewing with possible scammer, I wondered If it was arranged through Openrent.

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Yes David it was through Openrent

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I’ve contacted Openrent to make them aware that this person is suspect.

I heard in the news recently that there has been a 400% increase in fake tenancies (those obtained by false tenant documents) in England in the past year. In our case, because of court delays and lies in court, it will have taken one year and a loss of over £30,000 to remove this person. My main advice is check how references are checked by your agents and sign nothing until these are double checked.

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Hi @Christine12 -

It seems this individual just had the same first name and a different surname. I don’t think we can take action on such a basis, and I’m not convinced we’re talking about the same person here, especially as the OP was referred the tenant via a local agent (not OpenRent), and the name doesn’t even match.

Given the danger of people making false / invalid links here it might make sense to redact the name on that basis I’m afraid @Stephen64. A photograph or something less ambiguous (like an email address / phone number) is probably better, but whether such details should be shared publicly needs to be considered carefully.

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Ok. Point taken. I would not want the wrong person disadvantaged

can you give us at least a clue about his nationality?

Nigerian. He also has a Portuguese partner and a small girl child. He is aged early thirties.

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now that is helpful Good man

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Hiya, as a long term[increasingly disillusioned small landlord] after my letting agent found me a single dad plus child for my lovely flat with expensively easy maintenance garden, I paid them 12 moths letting upfront plus vat plus all the [ever increasing ‘landlord only pays’ stuff] only for my flat to get rendered into a pig sty - I went in for new EPC [re WEFminsters latest Carbon Net Zero hoax attack on small landlords] and came out in tears - first time in 35 years!!
Anyway I digress, after a run of far less than ideal tenants acquired through [found, vetted] Letting Agents, I manage my own properties… I decided to give OpenRent a go…
Hmmmm,do more scammer sorts target Landlords on OpenRent…?? Thoughts…do they think we are easier to fool than high St Letting co’s? Anyway, I am pending a call back from OpenRent to share 'what to watch out for ’ re false references…[they did a good job re failing my 2 co-tenants plus their Guarantor] but want to enlighten them on a few other tricks they missed.
The scam goes like this —they set up email addresses for their Referees------they use actual person who lives at the address [but they the applicant do not] …the false email address is under the wb applicants control…so suprise suprise when a glowing reference comes back.

The OpenRent vetting service caught this on both the applicants a new couple who claim to be based in Bournmouth [applicant WAS not living at the address he gave as I checked it on 192.com]and Brighton moving in together with her son to escape abusive ExHubby [so a sob story used to explain the rush to move] and try get Landlord to short circuit checks…

They also used it now transpires False HMRC Self Assessment forms [as in go onto to sight complete Self Assessment and print a copy - but not the official version sent!!] OpenRents ref company seemed to accept this twaddle??? Backed up by fake Employer Reference…email only provided.

But tenants failed Financials so then roll out Dad as Guarantor …initially he earns x as pension [he is 78] plus exact same amount in Pension Credit
=RED FLAG
This gets challenged as not verified so then probably one of the tenants claims that dad works at same building firm and earns £45k plus £32k somewhere else…duh
Red Flag= the guy is 78!!! Retired and has two fulltime decent paid jobs…oh plus Pension Credit!!! which only low income qualify for

So, this has been quite an eye opener for me. We Landlords absolutely can not take anything at face value…I gave my single dad with child a rent reduction as I felt sorry for him [ he moved girl friend in early on per neighbours - so two incomes all along and no ok from me ]
**Proof of Address =essential
*Telephone no’s and email addresses must be provided for All referees [employers/landlords etc]
*P60’s and 6 months bank statements to verify income not just arbitrary Self Assessment paperwork [which anyone can print off]

Thank you @Stephen64 for opening this topic—OpenRent please kindly take note!!! for referencing purposes…YES Landlords for us it is 100% buyer-beware and yes we need to check exactly how and what is checked/verified in the referencing process

@jillhughes40… I recognised aspects of your experience. Our “tenant” claimed to have a very professional position in a firm that deals with investment. When we became suspicious about his validity (I think he made an error in trying to demonstrate a Coutes bank account!!:joy:) I spent a long time writing to the HR department and telephoning the company to try and speak to the nominated “referee”, who IS actually someone who works for the company. With little success in getting through eventually I joined LinkedIn and emailed the supposed referee directly asking him to verify his reference and whether my supposed tenant actually worked for the company. Within 2 hours I had an email from the legal advisors to the company stating clearly that my tenant did not work for the them and they had never supplied the reference for him. The police will be talking to this gentleman in due course as part of their investigation. A thought just struck me in that possibly we could ask the police to pursue him for identity theft as well as false documentation. Jill is quite right over the ease with which a very similar email account can be created from a supposed referee which is controlled by the fake applicant. Email referencing and validation is clearly not sufficient for the purposes of a landlord. Stay alert everyone!

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This is why I always insist on a company email address for any work reference. I then not only email but also call the person when I get the email and ask them to verify information in the email that only the sender would know. As a final check, I verify that the person exists either via a well-populated and cross-referenced LinkedIn profile or via the company’s HR dept.

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Thank you Stephen64. The law indeed protect the people who is scamming landlords, I stop using agency, I do everything myself. I am disappointed with most south London estate agents I don’t use them unless I absolutely have to. Openrent have been good to us though. I have had so many bad experience with Tenants from Lambeth Letting. I don’t accept anyone from UC via Lambeth Letting, once you agree with the tenant, you are on your own, I hope this will help someone else too, I thought I was giving back I gave all my property to Lambeth Letting promised to get help if anything gone wrong, no one cared, they all robbed me, I managed to to get 3 tenants out from my 3 flats at big loss, I am struggling with one who refused to leave now. I know this is about reference but there are others who openly support the wrong tenants, don’t let me start about estate agents :slight_smile:

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My goodness Fiyori! I now feel this is the tip of a very big iceberg. No wonder so many small landlords are leaving. We won’t rent again.

Thanks Tatemono…sound advice

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[quote=“Stephen64, post:5, topic:63440”
[/quote]

Cheeky… I’ve rented in Australia and they really know how to ensure the property gets returned in top condition… I actually improved the condition to it. Add me to the I’m sick of being a landlady and selling up and that Crooked agent in Middlesbrough who thinks its ok to charge 30% to pick up the phone to a contractor can go and…

er sorry… what’s “cheeky”? Oh right… you’re replying to my post miles above from 5 days ago. Got it now!

My neighbour in Carlisle Road,NW6 is having an identical problem with a tenant who moved in with family.He paid rent for one month and has stopped paying rent for 11 months. He didnt turn up for a County Court hearing but judgement was made against him and he was instructed to vacate on the 1st April. He has ignored this judgement and is still in the house. He has changed all his contact numbers. The man has several High Court judgements against him for trying to sell each rental property he has rented in the Queens Park and other areas. Agents beware of his charming manner before renting.

Sounds like ineffective referencing on the part of the landlord.