How To Prevent Fraudulent Invoices

Preventing fraudulent invoices between apartment communities and locators involves implementing robust processes and controls. We’ve designed these strategies to enhance invoice security and reduce the risk of fraud from apartment locators.

Strict Locator Verification

We’ve already verified the legitimacy of each locator through the state real estate licensing board (background checks and fingerprints). We’ve ensured they are registered businesses with valid credentials.

Transparent Commission Offerings

The NAAL database establishes clear and detailed commission rates, terms, conditions, and invoicing procedures that can be updated easily online.

Invoice Matching with Guest Cards

Implement a three-way matching system between tenant, locator, and manager. If a tenant is working with multiple locators, our internal checks and balances will resolve any dispute before it reaches the manager. This eliminates multiple invoices for the same tenant. It creates a system of checks and balances, reducing the risk of collusion.

Lease Verification Process

Establish a strict authorization process for invoice approval. Before our members submit an invoice, a Lease Verification Form is submitted through the NAAL database and approved by the authorized contact at the apartment community, ensuring a clear and traceable approval trail. Locators agree not to invoice for more than the Lease Verification amount and agree to invoice after the tenant has moved in. Locators and managers can monitor the process and alert our Property Relations committee of unusual activity.

Centralized Invoicing Protocol

Require all locators to follow the exact same invoicing procedure so it’s easier to detect unusual activities and fraud attempts. This ensures that the locator is delivering the agreed-upon services and justifies the invoiced amount. This takes the guess work out of invoice processing and encourages a culture of transparency and accountability.

Liberal Refund Policy

NAAL members offer a 90-day rent guarantee. If the commission has been paid, and a client skips, members will refund the prorated commission, no questions asked.

Training Program

Train staff members to recognize common signs of fraudulent invoices and provide templates that can be used to dispute invoices from locators who have not adhered to the NAAL invoicing process. NAAL will proactively contact every locator on your behalf but will also provide a link that can be shared explaining your new NAAL invoicing protocol. Includes a confidential reporting system for locators and leasing staff to report suspected fraudulent activities without fear of retaliation.

By combining these strategies, property managers can significantly reduce the risk of fraudulent invoices and establish a more secure financial environment within their apartment communities. Regular monitoring, clear processes, and ongoing vigilance are essential components of an effective fraud prevention program.

Benefits of Working with NAAL

The National Association of Apartment Locators is a professional trade association whose members are committed to operating their businesses with ethics, honesty, and integrity. Our members are a diverse community of small, medium, and large apartment locating firms, dedicated to the highest level of service to the apartment communities they serve.

NAAL is the only trade association for apartment locators. We formed in 2011 to collectively demonstrate our commitment to excellence. We wrote the first Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, to emphasize professional expectations to our customers, in our advertising, and to apartment communities. Locators have daily interactions with the staff at apartment communities, so it’s important to our members those conversations are professional and mutually beneficial. We believe improving communication increases professionalism and reduces disputes.

Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice

NAAL was the first organization to write a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for apartment locators. Most states require apartment locators to hold a real estate license, but the State licensing board is designed to protect the public of fraud, not property managers. NAAL members agree to our Code of Ethics even if they don’t hold a real estate license it protects property managers from fraudulent invoices. Broker members refuse to sponsor any apartment locator convicted of unlicensed or fraudulent activity by the State licensing board.

Verified Apartment Locators

Every locator member has been thoroughly vetted by the State real estate commission/licensing board with a Federal background check and fingerprints. Our membership committee verifies the apartment locator AND their broker hold an active real estate license. If not, you do not owe a locating commission. Our membership directory tracks each locator’s license expiration date. If their license expires, you do not owe a locating commission.

*Vendor management/credentialing companies only verify W9’s from locators; they DO NOT verify real estate licenses. They are not equipped to protect you from fraudulent locators and fraudulent invoices.

90 Day Rent Guarantee

If a renter does not pay their rent in the first 90 days, and you have already paid the locating invoice to a locator member, we will refund the full commission, no questions asked. You will never receive a locating invoice unless our members refer qualified renters. Our members are prohibited from referring renters based purely on the commission rate. Our Code of Ethics requires NAAL members to put the need of the client first.

Online Presence and Visibility

Apartment locating websites typically have a strong online presence and are optimized for search engines. When potential tenants search for apartments online, these websites appear in search results, increasing the visibility of locator friendly properties.

Targeted Audience Reach

Apartment locating websites often attract a specific audience actively searching for a new apartment in the next 90 days. These users are typically serious about finding a place to live, making them valuable leads for apartment communities.

Detailed Property Listings

Locating websites provide detailed information about each listed apartment community, including amenities, pricing, and location details. This comprehensive information attracts users who are more likely to convert into leads as they can make informed decisions based on the details provided.

User-Friendly Search Functionality

These websites usually offer advanced search functionalities that allow users to filter and find apartments based on their specific criteria, such as location, budget, amenities, and more. This ease of use encourages users to explore the listings and inquire about the apartments that match their preferences.

High-Quality Leads

Users on apartment locating websites are often pre-qualified leads actively seeking rental properties. They are likely to be more serious and motivated, making them higher-quality leads for apartment communities.

Real-Time Updates

Apartment locating websites typically provide real-time updates on apartment availability and pricing. This ensures that users receive accurate information, reducing the likelihood of leads being disappointed by outdated or inaccurate listings.

Expert Assistance

Many apartment locating websites offer expert assistance through agents or automated systems. This assistance helps users navigate the apartment search process, increasing the likelihood that they will engage with and inquire about listed properties.

Incentivized Referral Systems

Some apartment locating websites have referral systems that incentivize users to refer others to the platform. This can create a network effect, where satisfied users recommend the website to their friends, family, or colleagues, generating additional leads.

Marketing and Promotion

Apartment locating websites often invest in marketing and promotion to attract a larger audience. This can include online advertising, social media campaigns, and partnerships. The increased visibility resulting from these efforts brings more users to the website, generating leads for locator friendly properties.

Optimized User Experience

 A positive and user-friendly experience on the apartment locating website encourages users to explore listings and engage with the platform. This optimized user experience contributes to lead generation by keeping users on the site and encouraging them to take action, such as submitting inquiries or scheduling property tours.

By leveraging these mechanisms, apartment communities can effectively generate leads through apartment locating websites by offering a commission, connecting with potential tenants actively searching for rental properties in their target areas.

How It Works

TRANSPARENT

Post detailed commission rates in our central database to establish clear expectations.

NAAL LEASE VERIFICATION

Authorization form before an invoice can be submitted to the manager.

CENTRALIZED

All locators follow the same procedures so it’s easier to detect unusual activity and fraud attempts.

NAAL GUEST CARD

A three-way matching system. Triggers our checks & balances to resolve disputes before it reaches the manager.

BONUS: Cross-Promotion on Multiple Sites

NAAL Database
NAAL Database

Prevent fraud & promote your property

Locator IDX
Locator IDX

Apartment locating software and listing distribution

Network
Network

Locator IDX promotes your property to locating websites.

Joining NAAL and advertising your commission to the National Association of Apartment Locators (NAAL) includes a listing to Locator IDX for cross-promotion on numerous apartment locating websites at no additional charge. Agents and brokers who want to promote locator friendly properties on their websites set up an IDX feed.

By openly sharing commission rates, your property becomes more attractive to apartment locators, fostering a sense of transparency and fairness in compensation. This can give your community a competitive advantage in the market, as locators are more likely to prioritize properties that are upfront about their commission structures.

Collaborating with NAAL not only provides exposure but also facilitates engagement within the apartment locating community. The Locator IDX streamlines the advertising process, ensuring that your property listings are consistently and accurately promoted on multiple websites. This approach enhances the visibility of your property and results in an efficient tenant placement process, contributing to optimized occupancy rates and a positive industry reputation.