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Students warned of rental accommodation scams

Third-level students and their parents are being warned to be on alert for rental accommodation s...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.51 25 Jul 2019


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Students warned of rental acco...

Students warned of rental accommodation scams

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.51 25 Jul 2019


Share this article


Third-level students and their parents are being warned to be on alert for rental accommodation scams.

It involves paying a deposit for a property that does not exist, or has already been rented - often to multiple people.

The campaign is being run by FraudSMART, in association with An Garda Síochána and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

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The warning comes in advance of the publication this year's Leaving Certificate results and the start of the new college year.

This typcially sees young people across the country searching for rental accommodation.

Brian Hayes is the CEO of the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland.

He says: "There are many ways in which rental property scams are carried out - however one of the most common ones we see is where the fraudster rents a holiday or short-let themselves, they advertise the house for rent and show it to multiple potential tenants with the aim of collecting multiple deposits and then disappear with the money.

"Another common scam is where the fraudster re-advertises listings of actual available rentals with their own e-mail or phone number, they will often refuse to show you the property but may send photos or keys in exchange for payment of rent and a deposit.

"In both cases the victims only realise they've been scammed after the fraudster has left with their money."

While Lorna Fitzpatrick, USI president, adds: "It is of the utmost importance that students take caution when viewing properties to rent for the upcoming academic year.

"The unfortunate truth is that people are taking advantage of students vulnerability when it comes to the housing crisis and accommodation shortage for students in third level education, and profiting off their struggle to find housing.

"Always view the property in person before putting down any form of deposit, meet with your potential landlord and find out if they are registered with the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board".

FraudSMART has the following advice to help students:

Be Informed: Familiarise yourself with the average rent price in your search area. If the rent is unusually low and seems to be good to be true, it usually is.

Use online maps to confirm that the property being advertised actually exists and is at the stated address.

Check short term rental sites to ensure the property is not being used by a fraudster for fake 'viewings' who will take your deposit money.

Be Secure: Keep copies of all correspondence between yourself and the advertiser, including bank details and the advertisement itself.

Use legitimate well-known rental agencies where possible.

Don't hand over any money until you have seen the property and are happy with its condition.

Be Alert: Don't make any payments until you have been given the keys and signed the rental contract.

Always check that the keys fit in the lock.

Don't transfer money until you have carried out all the relevant checks and you are absolutely sure the listing is genuine.

Anyone affected by such scams is being reminded not to be embarrassed, report it to their local Garda station and contact their bank.


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Accommodation Scams Banking & Payments Federation Brian Hayes FraudSMART Garda Síochana Lorna Fitzpatrick Rental-accommodation Scams Scams Students USI

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