Be vigilant this academic year.

Gardaí are warning students to be wary of rental accommodation scams.

They say there’s a spike in rental scams this time of year as thousands of students look for accommodation for the new college term.

In general, the scams fall into three categories:

  1. The ‘landlord’ claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property but still requests a deposit
  2. The ‘landlord’ is living at the property and shows a number of people around. He/she then gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money
  3. The transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.

The Gardaí are warning people that if the rental offer seems too good to be true then it probably is. Here are their tips for avoiding accommodation scams:

  • Only do business with established bon-fide rental agencies.
  • Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation that you’re hoping to rent.
  • Ask for identification, a driver’s licence or Photo ID of the landlord or letting agent. Then make sure to take a photo of the document on your phone.
  • Pay the deposit to the landlord ONLY and not the people leaving the property.
  • Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit and hold onto copies of receipts and any correspondence.
  • Make sure that the keys fit, that the door locks and opens and sign the rental contract before you pay any deposit.