Accommodation fraud – please be aware
With demand for accommodation so high, we urge students to be very careful that any offer of a place is genuine. We’ve been made aware of a number of cases of fraud recently with the students involved losing hundreds of pounds on accommodation offers that proved to be fake.
Things to look out for:
Facebook chats and other social media are not where most good landlords advertise, but they are a favourite method for fraudsters to approach you. Be extremely cautious about offers of accommodation you find there: you should always do some checking to make sure these are real.
If the person you are dealing with asks to move the conversation to WhatsApp or anonymous media channels, this is frequently a sign that they are not be who they claim to be. Reputable landlords will not do this.
A genuine landlord will be happy to provide proof of their identity, and to let you view the property at a time convenient to you. Fraudsters will be evasive about their identity, and will try to stall over arranging viewings.
The person you are dealing with should only be the registered landlord or a registered agent and in both cases they should provide their registration details. Don’t accept any excuses or stories about why their name isn’t on the property or why they can’t provide a registration number. Again, this is almost certainly someone lying to you.
Never hand over any money before you’ve viewed the property and been given a tenancy agreement! No genuine landlord should ever ask you to do this.
If you have any suspicions, walk away. It’s tough to do but it’s better than losing money you can’t afford.
How we can help:
We can’t find you places to live, but we can help make sure the ones you’re looking at are real. If you email [email protected], we’ll be happy to help you check that a prospective landlord really is the registered landlord for a property, or that an agent is genuine. We can also check any lease for you and advise you if there is anything else you should be concerned about.
It’s always up to you whether to go ahead with an offer, but we want to make sure you have the information you need to make up your mind!