ATTENTION ALL RESIDENTIAL LANDLORDS AND PROSPECTIVE TENANTS
Rental Property Fraudsters and how to avoid them The residential property market is currently experiencing unprecedented interest from tenants wanting to find a suitable property to rent which is great news for private residential landlords but unfortunately we are hearing that some tenants are becoming the victims of residential rental property scams and therefore I’d like to give you some pointers to consider to try and protect yourself from rental property fraudsters who are offering FAKE OR PHANTOM PROPERTIES TO LET!
Scams are usually targeted at areas that have a particularly high demand for rental homes and adverts are listed for residential rental properties which actually doesn’t exist or are for residential rental properties that do exist but are already tenanted and which the person placing the advert doesn’t actually own. Prospective tenants are asked to transfer a deposit or advance rental payment to ‘hold’ a property whilst a viewing can be arranged which is paid directly to the fraudster’s bank account and this can be hundreds or even thousands of pounds!
In some cases the person carrying out the scam will even invite a prospective tenant to visit a property, they may even show them around claiming to be the landlord and then they ask for a holding deposit.
Tips to help you to protect yourself against rental scams
1. CHECK that the property advertised actually exists
2. CHECK on the Land Registry, you can do this online for a small fee, to see who actually owns the property that you want to rent
3. CHECK if the landlord is a member of a nationally recognised body eg National Landlords Association or the Residential Landlords Association
4. AVOID properties that don’t have accompanying photographs on the advertisement
5. NEVER send money upfront before viewing a property. Transferring funds to secure a room or property before a viewing isn’t usual procedure.
6. NEVER pay a deposit in cash, always use a credit card if you can – this should offer more protection
7. VISIT the property in person and check the landlord’s ID. You should always check the validity of any safety certificates on the property eg. Gas Safe, EICR
8. LANDLORDS please be vigilant don’t let your property become the object of a rental scam
ALWAYS GO WITH YOUR GUT INSTINCT – IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE THEN IT GENERALLY IS!