The vast majority of students moving into higher education and moving away from home to live in student or private rental accommodation, will experience no problems with securing somewhere to live. However, students who are looking for accommodation can be targeted by fraudsters.
The scams work by offering to let property in prime areas at below market rents and asking for deposits, or in some cases full payment upfront in order to secure the property prior to visiting it, or to prove they have the money in order to rent for the duration. Prospective tenants are convinced to part with either credit card details, cheques or cash before seeing the property, which then turn out not to exist. Payments are then not returned and the student cannot get in contact with the supposed “landlord”.
Check the property is on the Swansea Council Registered HMO List:
The Landlord should also be registered with Rent Smart Wales, run a property check here:
- Ask for evidence that the property exists: Ask for copies of tenancy agreements and any safety certificates such as Gas, Electricity or HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation) Licence.
- Protect your deposit: When a deposit is taken, the money must be paid into a deposit scheme approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Further information about the scheme and tenant’s rights can be found on the Department for Communities/Local Government website.
- Do not send money upfront: Make sure you are certain the person and property exists and that the person has control of the property. Deposits are standard in renting; paying money upfront to secure a room is not.
- Be sceptical if you are asked to transfer money via money transfer agents such as Western Union or Money Gram: Their advice is clear – only use these money transfers to send money to people that you know and trust. Also, do not respond to a “Proof of Funds” scam whereby you are asked to send money to a friend and then send the details of the transaction to the “landlord”. The funds can be withdrawn using forged identification and allows scammers to access the funds.