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People warned to be on the lookout for potential 'viewing fee' rental scam

Those looking for houses or apartments to rent are being warned to be on the look out for potenti...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.29 19 Mar 2021


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People warned to be on the loo...

People warned to be on the lookout for potential 'viewing fee' rental scam

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.29 19 Mar 2021


Share this article


Those looking for houses or apartments to rent are being warned to be on the look out for potential 'viewing fee' scams.

With rental properties still in high demand, there is also a risk of fraud, scams and other fraudulent activity.

The likes of the gardaí, housing charity Threshold, the CCPC and property site Daft.ie all warn potential renters about the risks.

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Lunchtime Live listener Ciaran spoke to the show about an issue he encountered for the first time this week.

People warned to be on the lookout for potential 'viewing fee' rental scam

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He said: “I’ve been looking for a property to rent for the last few months. On Tuesday, I came across a small, cosy but very nice looking property. I sent an email enquiring about it.

“Shortly afterwards, I got a WhatsApp message from the landlord. He asked me a bunch of questions… he was happy enough with the answers.

"He said 'unfortunately I’m out of the country at the moment, but you can do a viewing through Daft.'"

The landlord claimed he’d send a link to the phone which they could click on to arrange a viewing, and an agent would meet them at the property.

However, Ciaran explained: “The only thing is, there is a small tax as he called it - fee, would be more accurate - that would be paid to the Daft employee or agent, of €87.50.”

Ciaran turned the offer down, and immediately reported the ad to Daft.ie.

The ad was subsequently taken down, either by the rental site or the landlord.

Ciaran explained: “I am fairly desperate to get accommodation.

"I went along with it for a brief moment… but especially when he said he was going to send me a Daft link, I immediately shut it down."

'There are a lot of warnings'

Consumer expert and The Home Show presenter Sinead Ryan this kind of situation isn't new.

She said: "Legitimate landlords don’t do this kind of thing. There are a lot of warnings about potential scams on rental properties.”

Sinead said potential renters are sometimes asked to transfer money - usually through messages sent via WhatsApp or text messages - but there’s no house to view when they actually turn up for the supposed viewing.

In other cases, scammers may even look for a deposit or first month's rent, but ultimately have no property to offer.

Daft.ie itself offers advice on accommodation scams.

It says red flags to watch out for include 'long-distance' landlords who appear to be in a foreign country, or when users claim to work with or for Daft.ie.

The site says Daft does not handle money exchanges between users.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

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