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Fake Landlord Scams on the Rise Warns NLA

Tenants are being warned not to hand over money in ‘advanced fees’ to landlords at the start of a new tenancy. The National Landlords Association reported a rise in tenancy scams, which target desperate tenants seeking somewhere to live. The NLA says some scammers even have the audacity to use NLA branding on their marketing materials, to lull tenants into a false sense of security.

“Rental fraud is one of the uglier aspects of private renting,” says Richard Lambert chief executive from the NLA.

Ghosted by a Landlord

Residents moving from overseas are often targeted by fraudsters, as they tend to look for rental properties online and are less able to view a property in person or ask to meet the landlord.

The fake landlord asks for a fee in advance to secure the property for the tenant and then does a moonlight flit with the money. Often, the victim has no idea what’s happened until moving in day arrives and the landlord has ghosted them.

NLA Guidelines to Tenants

In a bid to stamp out this insidious crime, the NLA has issued some helpful guidelines to would-be tenants.

  1. NEVER send money upfront as a ‘fee’ without seeing a property and meeting the landlord or their agent.

  2. Don’t send money to a landlord via a money wire service like Western Union, as the recipient can withdraw the money from anywhere.

  3. Check a landlord’s credentials if they claim to be a member of a regulatory body.

  4. Ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement before you hand over any money.

  5. If you are coming from overseas, perhaps to work or study, as your college or employer to help you find accommodation. This is safer than looking for housing online.

  6. Make sure any deposit you give to a landlord is placed in a government-approved deposit scheme.

  7. Use your common sense. If a rental property is in a nice area and seems ridiculously cheap, it might just be a scam.

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