Claim: 5% of properties occupied by fraudsters

Criminals occupy 5% of UK rental properties, property management company Ocasa has warned.

The company urged for vigilance against tenants who use fake financial documents, conceal their identities or illegally sublet.

Ocasa identified several ‘red flags’ for illicit activity, such as requesting money wire transfers and defaulting on rent.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “For landlords, letting agents, and management companies, it can be difficult to say with absolute confidence that they are not unwittingly enabling criminals to occupy their rental properties.

“Wire transfers are a common way for criminals to try to defraud landlords and property managers. A red flag is when a cheque is issued and given to the landlord for more money than has been requested. The fraudster will then ask for the excess money to be returned to them before the whole cheque bounces, by which time the tenant has made their money and probably disappeared.”

Ocasa urged landlords to make sure you stay in the law if you identify that you’re renting to a criminal.

The spokesman added: “While it might be galling to have to follow the strict eviction protocols when your tenant themselves is a criminal, it’s important you do. This means serving them with a Section 8 notice as you would any other rogue tenant. You can then follow this up with a possession order.

“Make a note of the date and time of every phone call or correspondence along with what was said and who said it. Keep track of all efforts you’ve made to reach out for help, and make note of exactly what you think the tenant is doing wrong.”

Ocasa claimed that 280,000 homes are currently occupied by rogues, amounting to £83 billion of property.

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