Landlord News

Identity Theft Becoming a Problem for Landlords

Em Morley - November 13, 2013

The UK’s highest rate of identity fraud is found in East Ham in London, with around seven times more attempts than the average across the UK, reveals fresh data.

Other places hit by high amounts of identity fraud are: Romford, Bexleyheath, Woolwich, Cheapside, Stratford, Ilford, Walthamstow, Lewisham, and Enfield.

Outside of the capita, the UK’s worst area for identity fraud cases is Altrincham in Cheshire, where there are 13 attempts for every 10,000 adults. This is over three times the national norm.

Independent estate and letting agency Balgores Property Group have claimed that identity fraud can lead to landlords being cheated of their rental income, and sometimes, losing the property altogether.

Identity Theft Becoming a Problem for Landlords

Identity Theft Becoming a Problem for Landlords

In a certain case, a tenant was convicted of selling his landlord’s property and taking a £90,000 profit.

Brian Kiddell got busted when his landlord saw a for sale sign outside the house, when driving by. Kiddell, 75, had sold the house on the internet and left with the money

Kiddell began the scam by renting the home in Newton Abbot, Devon, under the name Paul Stevenson; a man who had died in 2004. The property was then put up for sale under another name, David Ayton.

Kiddell was then imprisoned for six years, after he pleases guilty to nine offences of fraud, theft, and the dishonest use of a dead person’s passport. Kiddell had previously been jailed twice, and was involved in six scams.

Howard Lester, Director of Balgores Property Group, says: “This is an extreme and rare case. However, there are a lot of professional fraudsters out there that want to rent a property purely to secure an address from which they can carry out finance fraud.

“Often, they may pay a few months’ rent in advance, with no intention of paying all the rent due during their tenancy.

“Many use the property as a PO Box for the delivery of goods they have bought on stolen credit cards. They are very savvy and know they can live in a property for up to six months before a landlord possession order is enforced.”

He continues: “In that time, they can run up thousands of pounds in credit card debt and of course rental arrears.

“These fraudulent tenants can provide authentic looking passports and utility bills. They are also very difficult to evict, as they seem to know their way around the legal system.

“The only way landlords can protect themselves is by carrying out thorough tenant references including ID validation checks and taking out rent guarantee insurance, which will pay the rent in the event that the tenant defaults. All professional letting agents will be able to do this on a landlord’s behalf.”1

1 http://www.landlordexpert.co.uk/2013/12/12/identity-theft-is-becoming-a-real-problem-for-uk-landords/