Be careful of rent scams
Looking for a house or apartment to rent or looking to rent-a-room?
Finding rented accommodation that is affordable can be challenging at the best of times. Demand for rented accommodation is at its highest ever and with limited supply of available accommodation prospective tenants can become victims of rental scams.
We advise anyone looking to rent to exercise caution and not to rush into a decision, particularly if you have doubts.
Rental scams occur throughout the year and 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; and
3 The transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared. Therefore people need to establish that the house exists and that it is available for rent and that the identity of landlord /agent & is he/she authorised to rent the property.
Great Price + Great Pictures = Too Good to be True!!
Be aware of offers that appear to be too good to be true, even on legitimate rental accommodation platforms – If the rent seems like a bargain, do more research.
- Check on rental rates for similar properties in the same location.
- Use Google maps to verify the existence and address of a property.
- Check the Register of Landlords at https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/check/index.html/
It's your money, so if you get a bad feeling, walk away.
Never agree to rent a property through a website or social media. You need to visit the property and ensure it is a genuine let. You need to be happy with the property and the terms and conditions of the letting. Remember, scammers often copy photos, addresses and other information from various rental listings and then use this information to put up a fake listing.
Never hand over cash, as cash is untraceable and be used immediately.
Never transfer funds via Western Union, Moneybookers or other Electronic Fund Transfer services to someone claiming to be an agent or landlord for a prospective property. It is advisable to use an ESCROW account where possible to ensure funds are not released until you are certain that it is a legitimate transaction.
Trust your instincts.
If you are suspicious about any aspect of the arrangement call Threshold on 1800 454 454 for advice.
What to do
Anybody can fall victim to a scam, and your reporting of it could help to reduce the scam's effectiveness or even stop the scammer altogether, helping to prevent other people from becoming victims.
Threshold is unable to help you recover money lost to a scam or assist in tracking down a scammer. However if you have been a victim of a rental scam, reporting it can help us spread the word and warn other potential renters.
Contact our helpline on Freephone 1800 454 454, email firstname.lastname@example.org or report it through our www.facebook.com/Thresholdire/
If you have been scammed out of money you should inform the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation on (01) 6663777; https://www.garda.ie/en/Crime/Fraud/ or contact your local Garda station immediately.
For more information from the Gardai on rent scams click here