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Tenant Fraud Rises Amidst COVID-19

by Kelly Leighton on

Tenant application fraud has increased 9% since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey of property managers.

Snappt found that people are most likely to fib about their income level and how they obtain their salaries on rental applications. The report also found that about one-third of tenant applications have a fraudulent claim on them. Combing through applications can be a time-consuming process for property managers with multiple properties. Of the property managers surveyed, they reported receiving an average of 129 applications per month, and 41% said that fraud on applications is  “somewhat to extremely” common.

With the increase of fraudulent applications since the start of 2020, it’s no surprise that 59% of property managers surveyed do feel personally that the number of fraudulent applications is growing, they estimate 10 to 15% per year. Online applications are more likely to be fraudulent, at about 15%, compared to 8% of in-person applications. What is driving the growth? Property managers reported an increase in self-employed applicants, growth in online applications and better tools for altering documents.

What do property managers do when they discover a now-tenant lied on their application? If they chose to evict, it can be costly. Excluding COVID-19 protections, property managers reported evicting about 12% of tenants, which cost them more than $7,500 per unit. Nearly a quarter of survey respondents reported that about 33% of evictions are due to fraudulent claims on applications.

How can property managers better detect lies on applications? The site recommends combing over submitted documents to look for altering. Additionally, following up on employment claims and doing research may take time, but could save you money and headaches in the future.


Property managers Coronavirus Tenant fraud
Comments (2)


  • Harry McCarty    June 3, 2020 | 9:42 am

    It is not a fib…..It is a lie!

    Reply to Harry McCarty
  • Lynne Moskol    June 3, 2020 | 1:32 pm

    Use an application filled out by the prospective tenant as a screening process for showings. Use an online service, at prospect’s expense, to run credit and full background check and employment/salary verification.

    Reply to Lynne Moskol

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