Landlords warned that fake passport use is on the rise

Landlords and letting agents in the UK are being warned that potential tenants are increasingly using fake passports to gain tenancy of properties, according to Keysafe Tenant Vetting.

The firm says that the number of incidents it is seeing with prospective tenants offering false documentation has soared.

Keysafe’s managing director, Gareth Fowler, said that the use of fake passports only occurred once or twice every month last year but now they are seeing fake passports used on a daily basis.

Part of the reason for the increase is that agents and landlords need to conduct Right to Rent checks on their tenants under the Immigration Act 2014.

Let a property to someone using fake documents

Failure to comply with the law could see letting agents and landlords being fined or facing a prison sentence if it is found they have let a property to someone using fake documents.

However, Mr Fowler says the biggest cause for concern is that there has been a massive rise in the number of fake UK passports being used.

He points out that it’s not just at the lower end of the rental market that people are using fake British passports but also at the higher end too where tenants are able to pay up to £9,000 a month for a property in Mayfair, for instance.

Now Mr Fowler is warning that for those with an untrained eye, forged passports will appear to be legitimate and the tenant may even have employment references provided from a fake limited company.

He explains: “Care must be taken when vetting applicants.”

Call for more controls of online property portals

Meanwhile, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is calling for more legislation to force online property portals to display their letting agent fees, among other demands to weed out rogue landlords and letting agents.

Mr Johnston was responding to the government’s consultation which aims to tackle rogue landlords and letting agents.

The mayor is calling for portals to display their fees and to improve consumer understanding.

He is also calling for it to be mandatory for letting agents to sign up to Client Money Protection.

Poor practice among letting agents

In a letter to the housing minister, Brandon Lewis, the mayor points out that the level of poor practice among letting agents is just as detrimental to the rental sector as the activities of criminal landlords.

He added: “There is strong support for more measures to clampdown on those who fail to meet industry and legal standards.”

He adds too that the proposals would not only improve the rights of tenants dramatically but would also be ‘relatively straightforward’ to bring in.


About S Thompson

Simon Thompson is Editor of Landlord News and CEO of

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