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Case study: faked property damage


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Case study: faked property damage

For the first time in the history of Rendin, we came across a landlord who, with the help of the tenant, tried to commit insurance fraud. In short: the owner was planning significant renovations on the rental property, for which they hoped to take advantage of Rendin.

Before we start, let us take a few steps back and, as a reminder, explain in more detail how Rendin works. Suppose the landlord and tenant have a rental agreement concluded in our system. In that case, the tenant can rent the property without a deposit, and the owner receives a payment guarantee and property protection. Both parties also receive free legal support throughout the rental agreement.

  • In the event of problems, such as a tenant falling into arrears or causing property damage, we have a specific process to follow to determine the exact circumstances. In the process, we use evidence to determine whether and to what extent damage occurred.

  • If it turns out that the tenant is liable, we will contact them with a claim that they must compensate the owner.

  • If the tenant refuses to cooperate, Rendin takes over the case and compensates the owner for the damage.

  • Rendin then goes to court against the tenant to receive the money owed.

The safest way to rent
for both tenant and owner.

The questionable evidence base in a claim

As stated in the introduction, the landlord wanted to carry out renovation works in their rented apartment worth an estimated 35,000 euros. But, of course, people renovate their apartments all the time – there should not be anything special about this, right? This landlord, however, wanted Rendin to pay for the renovation.

‘The owner had an agreement with a tenant on our platform. After the termination of the agreement, the landlord contacted Rendin to report the damage. Our experts evaluated the evidence and began to dig deeper, as what was presented to us raised questions,’ says Lia Siht, the Head of Legal and Compliance of Rendin.

She adds that, for example, the offers of construction companies for renovation work aroused suspicion. ‘Pretty soon, after making inquiries to the companies, it turned out they were fake.’

False information in rental agreement and handover act

The following interesting fact emerged: the landlord and the tenant had previously signed a paper rental agreement. They later signed an additional agreement on our platform to get the protection offered by Rendin. They had signed two parallel agreements, which was discovered due to the instrument of delivery and receipt – the necessary dates did not match.

‘This paper rental agreement was retroactively supplemented with different information in order to ‘justify’ their statements, when the truth was already coming to light. However, all this was of little help to them as we had both rental documents,’ says Siht.

In addition, the landlord had prepared documents that were signed by the tenant, in which the latter admitted that all the defects in the rental home were their fault. They also confirmed that the object had been delivered to them only recently and corresponds to the pictures attached in the instrument of delivery and receipt. The photos were not really accurate as they were used in a rental ad years ago. The property, however, had been occupied by several different tenants in the meantime.

‘When communicating with the tenant, it turned out that they had indeed caused some damage in the rental home. Since the tenant hoped to avoid paying compensation for this cost, they went along with the plan of the owner, pursuant to which they had to take the blame for all the defects in the rental home. They assumed that Rendin would pay for the whole thing anyway, meaning it was a ‘white lie’’, says the Head of Legal and Compliance.

At the same time, the tenant was not at all aware of how much damage they were taking the blame for. It was only through Rendin that they found out what kind of sums the owner had come up with for the claim. In addition, the tenant did not realise that they might end up being to one to have to pay for the damages.

Lia Siht explains that dealing with damage cases requires communication with both parties because this enables us to get the whole picture. It all starts with the person making the claim, but statements are always asked from the other party as well.

‘All the collected statements as well as the real evidence base led to the clear conclusion that we were given false information and documents were falsified to justify the case,’ confirms Siht in conclusion.

  • What's handover act? Find out here.

A reality check for the landlord and tenant

Once the experts dealing with the case had a clear understanding of the situation, both the owner and the tenant were made to understand: by leaving the claim in force, Rendin must report it, because it would be a fraud that is punishable under criminal law. It was only after the explanation of the lawyers that the parties realised that what they were planning to do constitutes a crime.

‘Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of people who think that if some type of insurance contract is concluded, they should earn an unjustified profit from it. The purpose of insurance services is to help in the event of unforeseen events that cause financial loss and help insurance buyers cope with it better,’ comments the Head of Legal and Compliance of Rendin.

‘In other words, a small reminder to everyone – follow the rules! In case of damage, always provide correct evidence, follow the necessary instructions, and do not get involved in fraud,’ Siht stresses.