Apartment Leases: Watch Out For Rental Scams

Accountancy Resources

Apartment Leases: Watch Out For Rental Scams

Rental Scams
Real Estate Author: Admin


If not for anything, the ground rent scandal has taught us to always be on the lookout before and while on a leasehold contract.

And now, we’re not even talking about the infamous ground rent scandal. The new scandal is the property ad scams in the United Kingdom!

Nowadays, renting a room or apartment in the UK can be difficult, especially because, as everywhere, there are always people trying to take advantage of others.

One of the most common scams (and in which unfortunately many people continue to fall for) is one in which supposed lessors ask for money in advance to reserve the floor.

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t because of fear of losing the bargain but sheer gullibility on the part of the victims which causes them to be scammed.

How does it work?

The fraudster publishes an advertisement on pages such as Gumtree, Rightmove, and other rental pages, informing that he has a flat to rent. The problem comes when you answer the ad asking for more information or notifying that you are interested. The floor is usually a wonder! It is new, fully equipped, and with a more-than-good rental price. The scammer will also ask you what you do; if you smoke or if you have pets, etc. He will follow the normal game of renting a flat.

However, when you ask when you can go to see it (in the case that you already live in the city), it happens that no one lives there and it is non-existent.

In the two cases that have been reported, one of the scammers lived in Italy and the other in Spain. The two had inherited two floors and had decided to put them on rent (what a coincidence!). The first explained that he rented it at such a good price so that families in need could afford it. Incredulous!

The second said that she was Spanish and when her near-victim suggested that they speak Spanish, then she kept writing to him in English.

When the proposed lessee indicated to both of them that he wanted to see the apartment, they replied that they had had a bad experience when trying to rent it out. They explained that they had spent money on airline tickets but the person interested in the apartment had never appeared. Therefore, now, to be 100% sure, the lessee was asked to make a transfer through Western Union in the name of a friend or relative and send them a scanned receipt. Sounds cunning enough?

NEVER send money for a flat you have not seen!

Although they will tell you that they can not get the money since it goes in the name of your friend or relative, what they do not inform you is that in many Western Union offices they only ask for the code of the money order (which is in the scanned receipt) and they do not require identification. Hence, they can collect the money without any problem and you will never hear from them again!