Be careful of Property Scams

If you are looking for your next home, Homes4uk offers hundreds of listings for properties to share, rent and buy. However, growing demand for housing has seen an increase in the level of rental fraud, with would-be tenants paying an upfront fee for a non-existent property. While the overwhelming majority of listings on our platform are trustworthy, it is important to be aware of potential scams when searching for a new property.

Fake Listings

If a property feels a little too perfect, the listing could be fake. Scammers often copy genuine listings to dupe their victims and add attractive extras to lure you in. Watch out for pricing that’s lower than the market average, any ‘too good to be true’ offers such as free moving services or a lack of images/information about the property.

Unable to View Property or Meet the Landlord or Letting Agent

An immediate red flag should be raised if the landlord or letting agent only offers images of the property or says the space is unavailable to physically view. Also be cautious if the landlord or letting agent does not want to meet in person or virtually.

Paying an Upfront Fee

Genuine landlords and letting agents will not ask for a deposit prior to viewing a property. Fraudsters may claim the money is protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, but it is not.

No Screening Process for Tenants

Be suspicious if you are not required to provide evidence as to who you are and whether you have the financial means to pay for the property listed. 

Pressure to pay quickly

Take the time you need to make the decision that is right for you. If you feel undue pressure to make a decision or hand over money, you might be best to walk away.

Protect yourself from rental fraud by

  • Visiting the property before paying any deposit
  • Only paying a deposit once you are certain the landlord or letting agent is genuine.
  • Asking for copies of tenancy agreements and any safety certificates such as Gas Electricity or HMO Licence.
  • Checking to see whether the owner has membership with schemes such as National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

illegal and listings Sex for rent

Upon arriving at the property, if the landlord implies or explicitly indicates that the accommodation would be discounted or free in return for sexual relations, leave immediately. ‘Sex for rent’ is illegal and listings/landlords should be reported to the police who will also be able to offer support if you have been a victim of the practice.