Advice Column - renting scams
I’ve seen a new property advertised which I’d like to rent and am thinking about putting a holding deposit down. However, the rent is really cheap - should I be worried it’s a scam?
You’re right to be cautious if the rent is a lot cheaper than the market rate. Don’t be hurried into paying a deposit before you view the property and look at your tenancy agreement.
Viewing the property is important - not least so that you can see if it’s as advertised. If the landlord refuses, or is evasive, take this as a possible warning sign they are not legitimate. Even if you have seen the property, it’s still important to check your tenancy agreement carefully.
You should expect your tenancy agreement to give the name and address of the landlord, along with their contact details. Ask for this information to be added if it’s not already included.
If no contract is provided, or information on your landlord is missing, this is another red flag that the letting could be a scam.
Finally, it’s a good idea to see if the landlord is a member of a professional landlord association or is accredited by the local council. Membership isn’t compulsory, but it will mean they are legitimate and will operate to a minimum standard.
Trust your instincts and if in any doubt, don’t part with your money. For further help on identifying possible scams contact your local Citizens Advice, or call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.