Finding rented accommodation can be challenging at the best of times. In the current market, it is quite difficult to find a safe, secure, and affordable home, and easy to fall victim to a rental scam.
We advise anyone looking to rent, never ever agree or hand over money to take a property without first physically viewing the property and ensuring you are happy with the property and the tenancy terms and conditions. Always exercise caution and not rush into a decision, particularly if you have doubts.
Types of Rental Scams
Rental scams occur throughout the year and fall into three broad categories:
- The scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit
- 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
- The transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.
Tips to Avoid a Rental Scam
1. Trust your gut
Trust your instincts. If it feels off or too good to be true – it probably is.
2. Arrange a viewing
Some scams will try to get you to pay a deposit sight unseen. Never agree to this, as many scams on rental sites copy real addresses and photos of rental properties. You need to see the property in person before any payment is made.
3. Verify the landlord & property
When viewing, ask the landlord for an ID and take a photo of it. If you decide to take the property, before paying any deposit, double-check that the keys to the property work.
Once you decide to rent, make sure you get the amount per month in a written lease agreement or rent book. When paying the deposit and first month’s rent (the legal max a landlord can charge up front), where possible transfer via bank transfer not in cash.
What To Do
Rental scams are becoming increasingly easy to fall victim to. Your reporting could mean stopping a scammer altogether and helping to prevent other people from becoming victims.
If you come across an ad you are suspicious of, contact us. We can help you verify if the ad is legitimate or not.
While we cannot help you recover money lost or track down a scammer, we can help get the word out about scams to other potential renters.
If you think you have been a victim of such a fraud please report to your local garda station.