By Chan Khangura, managing director of Whitegates Estate Agents in Huddersfield

As a Huddersfield landlord, it is important to be aware of the rise in tenancy fraud in the UK and take steps to reduce the risk of fraudulent applications.

One of the largest providers of tenant references has seen a 100%+ increase in attempted fraudulent applications in the last 12 months alone.

There are a number of things you can do as a Huddersfield landlord if you are doing your own referencing or outsourcing it to a referencing firm.

One effective way to reduce the risk of fraud is to use referencing firms that utilise ‘open banking’ to complete their tenant referencing income checks. This provides a faster and more secure way to verify applicants’ income and recurring rental payments and allows for a clearer and more realistic picture of their financial profile to be assessed.

Another is to qualify to tenants with questions like what their job is and what they earn. Does that match? Are the tenants rushing you with the reference checks or dragging their feet? These are all signs something could be amiss.

Next is to check the ID of applicants. With so many fake passports and driving licences, new technology with facial recognition is used by many providers to match photos to ID documents.

If something doesn’t feel right – contact the referencing firm. It’s better to be safe than sorry.