Landlords who can`t show a property as they’re out the country. Keys only given when the first month’s rent is paid. A young woman requesting payment to her mother to prove that someone is “really interested” in a room.
These are examples of some of the dubious requirements asked of college students looking for a place to live for the new term - read thejournal.ie.
Properties and places to live which seem too good to be true – and generally are.
It starts with a posting for an apartment or a house online. The posting could be on Daft.ie or some other property site. Or, increasingly, someone will put a listing on one of the many Facebook group pages for people looking for a place to live.
The poster will give details of an available apartment (usually, it will be great value and in great condition), leave an email address and ask to be contacted.
Once contact is made, the poster will generally request money upfront. Most of the time, the scam works by asking the prospective renter to pay a deposit and first month’s rent before the property can be viewed.
A variety of reasons are given for this requirement: the landlord doesn’t want you wasting their time; or they are out of the country and need to rent the property quickly, etc.
Transfer the money – and you won’t hear from them again.
“The rise of absolute cowboys”
The first round of CAO offers are out today, with students up and down the country finding out where it is they will be going to study.
With the offers will come a surge in people looking for a place to live for the new term ahead.
This desperate scramble is the ideal time for scammers to take advantage, and according to the gardaí and student unions and accommodation officers across the country, the number of rental scams spikes at this time of year.
Earlier this month, gardaí released guidelines on how students can avoid these type of scams, and warned people to be wary when dealing with prospective landlords.
The scenario above is just one type of way scammers get people to part with their cash.
In other instances, a scammer could show prospective renters around a property, get a deposit from several people and flee with the cash. Another version can be when everything appears to proceed normally with the transaction until the key the tenant was given doesn’t work and the landlord disappears.
“The accommodation landscape is tough to navigate and there is next to no availability [for students],” says Ailbhe O’Halloran, accommodation officer with UCD Student’s Union.
“What’s making it worse is the rise of absolute cowboys coming out of the woodwork with scams.
Since I’ve started three weeks ago I’ve gotten an average of four emails a day of people being scammed. By all accounts it [has] increased this year.
O’Halloran says that students have been wise to the scams and she hasn’t had any reports of people actually parting with money, but that could change as term time gets closer.