Landlord Scam Warning: Cheating online fraudsters are scamming would be tenants out of £100’s and could be effecting the number of tenant leads that landlords receive via free listing property websites…
In the summer of 2010 the National Landlord Association (NLA) issued a landlords scam warning which warned landlords and tenants of scam practises that were taking place which were cheating potential tenants out of £100’s.
The most common of these practises is the “Fee In Advance” scam. This involves rogue landlords placing fake under priced rental adverts on free and low cost property listing websites like Gumtree and Craigslist. When would be tenants enquire about the rental property they are asked to send a reservation payment (or similar) via Western Union before the viewing takes place. When the potential tenant goes to view the property they find that the property was never owned by the rogue landlord or that the property doesn’t even exist.
So how does this affect the honest landlord using free listing property websites…
Over the past couple of weeks Discount Letting has surveyed enquiring tenants as to how they search for rental properties. 90% of tenants surveyed said that they used the Internet as their first port of call when looking for rental property and that they used property websites such as Rightmove and FindaProperty and Primelocation. When asked an amazing 78% of potential tenants said they would not use free listing websites when looking for rental property because of the horror stories that they have heard.
So what should potential tenants be on the look out for…
- Money transfer requests in advance of viewing the property. These requests may include;
o Reservation fees.
o Holding deposit.
o Credit or Reference check fees.
- All contact with the landlord/agent is carried out by email only.
- No telephone number is offered or the number offered isn’t answered or doesn’t connect when dialled.
And how can tenants protect themselves from online cheats…
- Speak to the landlord/agent on the telephone before viewing the property and request at least one meeting with the landlord/agent in person at the property.
- Always ask the landlord/agent for a list of administration fees before viewing the property.
- Never transfer money in advance of viewing the property or meeting the landlord/agent.
- At the time when money needs to be transferred (after meeting the landlord/agent in person and at least one viewing) always ask for receipts.
- Request proof of ownership and documents such as an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a Gas Safety certificate.
- Search for rental properties via property websites where no rogue landlords will be able to advertise their scam rental properties. Websites such as Rightmove and FindaProperty and Primelocation are a great place to start.
- Be alert. If you suspect something isn’t quite right don’t transfer any money and immediately seek further advice and walk away.
Gumtree and Craigslist have produced their own list of personal safety tips.
- Click Here for further information on Gumtree safety tips.
- Click Here for further information on Craigslist safety tips.
If you’d like to speak to a friendly experienced agent about renting your property and seeing your rental property on websites such as Rightmove and FindaProperty and Primelocation call 020 8697 0984 or Click Here to request a call back.
For further information Click Here.