A staggering 3,000 tenants in the UK were robbed of rent money from ‘phantom’ landlords in the last year, according to reports in the press.
Landlords are setting up fake property rentals online using homes that aren’t really being let and then taking money for deposits or rent.
The scams are nothing new, and it’s not something we want you to panic about, however we thought it was worth bringing attention to, given the astonishing numbers of people being affected.
The key to avoiding any bogus rental properties is to always see the property first. Many of those 3,000 affected by last year’s incidents were overseas renters, who could not visit a property prior to transferring the cash.
It's always a good idea to try and use reputable companies or estate agents, such as Outlet, to be sure landlords have provided some form of proof of ownership. If you are still unsure, however, you can check who owns a property by going to the Land Registry. It costs £3 to ask for the info, but it could save you thousands if it's a dodgy deal.
You should also feel free to ask to see a landlord's ID if you feel uncomfortable about the agreement.
Whatever you do, don't assume all is well simply because you receive a tenancy agreement in your inbox - these can be created from scratch or downloaded from the internet easily.
Always make sure you check out the property first and don’t transfer the funds until you feel comfortable that the home is a legitimate.
If you're unsure about a landlord who is letting a property to you, Outlet would be happy to offer advice or help you out with a range of properties available to rent. Give us a call on 020 7287 4244.