What are the most common things renters lie about on their application forms?

26% of renters have admitted to lying about something on a home rental application and 39% would consider doing so in the future, according to research from Compare the Market.

Related topics:  Landlords,  tenants,  fraud,  renters
Property | Reporter
22nd June 2023
Landlord Keys 22
"Surprisingly, almost one-third of renters are unaware of the implications that lying on a rental application form could have"

With demand far outstripping supply in the rental market - currently sitting 50% above the 5-year average, competition for the limited number of properties is at an all-time high and as a result, the lines between honesty and deception are becoming increasingly blurred.

According to the findings of Compare the Markets research, the younger generations have been found as the most likely to bend the truth, with 43% of 16-to-34-year-olds admitting to lying on a home rental application. The least likely to lie are the over 55s, with just one in 10 having done so.

The new research shows that the amount of people who have been dishonest on a rental application differs from city to city. For example, 37% of Newcastle’s residents have lied when applying to rent a property, closely followed by 36% of Norwich renters and 35% of renters in Manchester. The most honest renters are found in Plymouth, where only 5% of residents admit to forgoing to truth in order to secure a property.

1: Newcastle - 37.2%

2: Norwich - 35.9%

3: Manchester - 35.1%

4: London - 32.3%

5: Nottingham - 29.1%

The most common areas to be dishonest about when filling in a rental form

Many landlords are reluctant to rent their property out to smokers, so it’s not surprising that almost one in 12 renters have withheld the truth about being a smoker on their rental application form

The second most common falsehood used on a rental application form is lying about having a pet, with 11% of renters admitting to considering lying about a pet on a future rental application.

It’s also not uncommon to lie about income when trying to secure a rental property. 6% of people have lied about their wages, and 10% admit they would consider doing so in the future. Job status is also commonly lied about, with 5% of people admitting to stretching the truth when it comes to putting down the nature of their employment on a rental application.

1: Smoking status - 7.63% admit to being dishonest - 9.93% would consider being dishonest

2: Whether I would be moving in with pets - 6.42% admit to being dishonest - 10.98% would consider being dishonest

3: Wage - 5.77% admit to being dishonest - 10.05% would consider being dishonest

4: Job status 5.49% admit to being dishonest - 7.24% would consider being dishonest

5: Health issues 4.37% admit to being dishonest - 7.71% would consider being dishonest

Anna McEntee, at Compare the Market comments: “Surprisingly, almost one-third of renters (31%) are unaware of the implications that lying on a rental application form could have. While these do differ depending on the situation, the likelihood is that if you’re caught lying, your application will be rejected. If your application is discovered fraudulent after you have moved into the property, there may also be grounds for eviction.

“For landlords, there are a few ways in which you can try to avoid accepting dishonest tenants. Completing a thorough reference check is really important, especially one that looks at employment history, credit checks, and previous landlords as this helps build a better picture of your potential new tenants.

“Even the best tenants can be unpredictable at times, so you should also ensure you have insurance should anything go wrong. Landlord insurance can offer landlords more protection than standard home insurance, covering you for things such as accidental damage by tenants, void periods between tenants and rent arrears.

"There are different types of landlord insurance policies available, so ensure you opt for the right level of cover to suit your needs.”

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