How to Avoid Scams When Looking for Properties

Georgie Kenny
By Georgie Kenny
Feb 21, 2021
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rental scam tenants
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I think we can all agree that hunting for that perfect rental place is an exciting period. Excitement builds as you search for properties, trying to find somewhere you can call “home”. But the experience isn’t always a positive one, especially when property scams are involved. 

No one wants to get scammed – like, no one! That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you avoid being scammed when looking for your next home. 

Read on to make sure you stay safe in the property market. 

Keep a record of all transactions and conversations

If you’re looking to avoid being scammed, it’s absolutely vital that you keep a record of transactions and conversations that take place between you and the landlord. This is the only way that you will be able to prove any disputes or problems later on down the line. 

A very easy way to do this is to ensure you never pay in cash. Bank transfers or credit/ debit card payments will have an electronic record, meaning they can be consulted if need be. 

If a landlord is insisting that you pay in cash, you may need to rethink whether you want to rent that property. 

Similarly, getting your tenancy agreement in writing is vital. This means that you can thoroughly check through everything before you sign. 

Use a lettings platform or agent to find a property

By using a good lettings platform or agent you are much less likely to encounter any troubles when it comes to the landlord. 

Lettings platforms and agents make sure that the homeowners they represent, i.e. the landlords, are reputable and trustworthy. 

Renter's credit cards scammed

Look out for upfront fees or no fees at all

If a landlord asks you to pay an upfront fee, especially in cash, to reserve the property, be wary. While it is normal to have to pay a holding fee, make sure they give you enough time to consider the property. Again, make sure to pay via bank transfer or credit/ debit card. 

On the opposite side of the coin, if a landlord says there is no deposit or deposit replacement scheme you should think twice. Usually, if this is the case, they will ask for a guarantor, whom they will charge a lot of money at the end of the tenancy for ‘repairs’. 

A legitimate landlord should ask for a deposit or a deposit replacement. 

Find out more about Mashroom’s deposit replacement scheme.

Tips and tricks to avoid a scam

  • Avoid listings with no pictures
  • Avoid listings that you cannot visit in person
  • Check the landlord’s ID 
  • Never send money to secure a property if you have not seen it in person

Knowing how to avoid a scam will certainly make your rental experience much more enjoyable. If you feel unsure about anything, it is usually best to trust your gut and find another property. 

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