Significant increase in fraudulent tenancy applications, new data shows

Andy Halstead
Andy Halstead

There has been a 10% increase in fraudulent tenancy applications, according to Barbon.

The referencing group, which includes HomeLet, Let Alliance and Rent4sure, has revealed the extent to which tenancy application fraud is on the rise, with a notable spike over the past 18 months.

The company warns that fraudsters are becoming smarter at a time when the UK is facing the biggest income squeeze in almost 50 years.

The firm’s chief executive officer, Andy Halstead, said: “The volume of alerts on applications is continually increasing, and in the last 12 months alone, we’ve flagged over 50,000 suspicious applications.

“As demand for property soars and rental prices rise, tenancy fraud is becoming more profitable and many more chancers want to get in on the act. They’ll use any opportunity, and we’re seeing increasingly sophisticated methods being used to try to obtain access to properties to support criminal activity or sublet illegally.”

HomeLet’s latest Rental Index data for April 2022 shows that the average UK rent for a new tenancy has risen to £1,091 per calendar month, up by 9.5% from last year.

Rising rents and the cost-of-living crisis are just two of the factors helping to increase the pressure on household budgets, said Halstead.

“Unfortunately, this could mean that some tenants present a higher risk. Add rising fraud data into the mix, and the situation becomes a perfect storm,” he added.

Halstead is urging agents to help mitigate the risks and protect their landlords by using high quality, trusted referencing checks from a professional partner.

He continued: “Referencing tenants is the first line of defence, and our experience, expertise and procedures help keep customers safe.

“We’re continually optimising our checks, which mix technology with the most experienced team in the market. We call it ‘Intelligent Referencing’ for a reason.”

With fraud on the rise, HomeLet, Let Alliance and Agent Rainmaker are hosting an exclusive webinar for Letting Agents on Thursday. The session will cover beating the fraudsters and keeping your business and clients safe.


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  1. aSalesAgent

    “How dare you! FAKE NEWS!” -Polly Neate, Shelter

  2. Woodentop

    Referencing for an experienced agent is not difficult …. it is a paper trail with a face to face meeting of the tenants. So many DIY Landlords often take everything on face value …. and they wonder why they get stung.


    In this current market, you don’t need to take a chance. If in doubt, there are plenty more queuing with the right documentation.

    1. OverratedAgent



      Have seen even some very well established agents knowingly put “company lets” into a property, who just AirBnB the property until it is trashed, and then fold the company and hand the keys back


      But, for years all agents have built their sales pitch on “I can get you a tenant next week at more money then anyone else” – no matter who the tenant is and what they want with your property


      The reality is, a good quality tenant doesn’t need to pay top market value, because every sensible landlord wants to rent to them – it’s usually the bad tenants, who get rejected everywhere else, who will pay (for example) £1000 per month when the one across the road in better condition is up for £950


      You would never get instructed if you told that inconvenient truth however!

      1. Woodentop

        I can write a book on agents who were happy to put the wrong tenant in, either negligently or often claimed ……. deliberately. Some of the ‘find a tenant only service’ were only interested in taking the landlords cash asap. Even heard one agent say the shorter the tenant stays, the quicker they can earn more commission with a replacement.


        So here is a question that has been relevant for a decades …………………………..


        Where do all the rogue tenants, the horrendous sponging property trashing tenants go to?


        Now you might think local authority, but many of them had already been thrown out by the council before they moved into PRS properties. They are not sleeping on the street and over the years i have been called in to sort out a few bad apples who once we got them out to the relief of the landlord, with massive rent arrears/damage costs …. no-one EVER contacted us for a prior history of the tenant they took on. Some moved to agents who claim to have all the bells and whistle when it comes to referencing.


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