Tuesday 17 September 2019

Louth students warned about rental scams

Gardaí have issued a warning to Louth students to be wary of rental scams, particularly at this time of year when students are returning to college.

A garda spokesman said that while rental scams occur throughout the year there is a spike due to a new generation of 3rd level students seeking accommodation.'

He explained that the scams often 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 or; 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.

In another scenario, a potential tenant may find the transaction appears normal until they find that the keys don't work and the landlord has disappeared.

'Therefore people need to establish that the house exists and that is available for rent and the identity of the landlord or agent and that they are authorised to rent the property.

'Ideally only do business with established bon-fide rental agencies,' said the garda spokesman.

'Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented, and ask for identification, such as a driver's licence or Photo identification of the landlord or letting agent. etc. Ideally take a photo of the document on your phone.

Gardai are also advising that it is advisable to pay the deposit to the landlord and not the persons leaving the property, or a courier or anyone else who may not be authorised to accept rent payments.

'Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit and keep copies of receipts of payments and any correspondence, and ensure keys fit, open door lock and sign rental contract, prior to payment of deposit.'

For students, and anyone hoping to rent the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rent index provides students with important benchmark information and is an authoritative guide as to the actual rents being charged by landlords adjacent to all Universities, ITs and other Third Level colleges

The Argus