Gardaí are advising people to be wary of rental scams, particularly at this time of year when students are returning to college.
While rental scams occur throughout the year there is a spike due to a new generation of third level students seeking accommodation.
The scams fall into three broad categories:
- 1. The scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit;
- 2. The scammer is living at the property and shows a number of people around, gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money;
- 3. The transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.
People need to establish that the house exists and that is available for rent and establish the identity of landlord or agent and that they are authorised to rent the property.
Key things to keep in mind when looking for somewhere to rent:
- 1. Ideally only do business with established bon-fide rental agencies.
- 2. Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.
- 3. Ask for identification, a driver’s licence or photo identification of landlord or letting agent, etc. Take a photo of the document on your phone.
- 4. Pay the deposit to the landlord and not the persons leaving the property/courier other person.
- 5. Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit and keep copies of receipts of payments and any correspondence.
- 6. Ensure keys fit, open door lock and sign rental contract, prior to payment of deposit.