It’s no secret that some applicants will stretch the truth when trying to secure a rental property. Now, a new survey by Comparethemarket lifts the lid on what they lie about most.
According to Comparethemarket, 26% of tenants admitted to lying on a rental application, while 39% would consider doing so on a future application.
The two most common lies were about smoking and pet ownership. Landlords often ban pets and smoking from their properties due to the risk of damage and lingering smells.
Signs of economic stress?
The survey also revealed that a small group of tenants are willing to lie to pass affordability checks, with 6% inflating their income and 5% lying about their employment status. Letting agents will typically set a minimum income of around 2.5 times the annual rent, as renting on a too-low income increases the risk of arrears for the landlord and economic hardship for the tenant.
New statistics from rent guarantee firm Housing Hand says that more applicants are failing reference checks too as rents get higher. Only around a quarter of applicants now pass checks without the need for a guarantor, compared to 35% last year.
What can agents and landlords do?
In England, using false information to secure a tenancy is grounds for a Section 8 eviction, although the relevant ground (17) is discretionary. For now, they can also use a Section 21 eviction.
In Wales, landlords can evict for breach of contract when tenants lie on a tenancy application, but this is a discretionary ground. In Scotland, most evictions are currently banned due to the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act.
But the wait for an eviction hearing can be lengthy, by which time the damage might already be done. Robust referencing checks can reduce the risk of a tenant falsifying their income, but won’t catch an unauthorised pet. Agents and landlords may also want to conduct regular inspections to check for damage.
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