Gardaí are advising people to be wary of rental scams, particularly at this time of year when students are returning to college.
While rental scams occur throughout the year there is a spike due to a new generation of 3rd level students seeking accommodation. The scams fall into three broad categories;
(1) the scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit,
(2) 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; and
(3) the transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared. Therefore people need to establish that the house exists and that is available for rent and the identity of landlord /agent & is he/she authorised to rent the property.
1. Ideally only do business with established bon-fide rental agencies.
2. Always meet a prospective landlord in the accommodation to be rented.
3. Ask for identification, a driver’s licence or Photo identification of landlord or letting agent. etc. (Take a photo of the document on your phone)
4. Pay the deposit to the Landlord and not the persons leaving the property/ courier other person.
5. Use cheques or bank drafts to pay the deposit and keep copies of receipts of payments and any correspondence.
6. Ensure keys fit, open door lock and sign rental contract, prior to payment of deposit.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rent index provides students with important benchmark information and is an authoritative guide as to the actual rents being charged by landlords adjacent to all Universities, ITs and other Third Level colleges.
Caution is advised, if the rent sounds too good to be true.
Irish Tenancies Board – Checklist for Students Renting for the First Time
Threshold – Be Careful of Rent Scams
Property Services Regulatory Authority’s Website
Students Union advice
Competition and Consumer Protection Commission advice on rental accommodation scams