Gardaí warn public of rental scams
Gardaí are advising people to be wary of rental scams after they received a number of complaints of accommodation fraud wherein the injured party lost a substantial amount of money.
In the latest case, the injured party viewed a Waterford City house online and transferred a deposit and one month's rent to a bank account. The landlord indicated that the money would be refunded if the injured party was not satisfied on viewing the property. The injured party can no longer get in touch with the landlord.
Gardaí warn that the scams generally fall into three 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 the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.
Gardaí are advising renters to establish that the house exists and that it is available for rent, and the identity of the landlord/agent and that they have the authority to rent the property.
- Ideally only do business with established bonafide rental agencies.
- Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.
- Ask for identification – take a photo of ID on your phone.
- Pay the deposit to the landlord only
- Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit, keep copies of receipts of payment and any correspondence.
- Ensure keys fit, open the door lock and sign the rental contract prior to payment of a deposit.