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Stay Safe: Accommodation Tips

Information on how to stay safe and avoid accommodation scams

Accommodation scams are targeted specifically at individuals who want to rent a house or a room and have no prior experience in renting a property in the UK. Scammers might ask you to transfer money to rent a property, which could turn out either not to exist or not to belong to them.

 Types of scams

  • Adverts for non-existent properties: Scammers get deposits for properties they don’t own or don’t exist.
  • Scammers posing as landlords/letting agents, take money for properties they do not control.
  • Fake communications regarding missed payments for accommodation such as scammers posing as the University.
  • Overcharging rent and other hidden fees.
  • Illegal subletting, renting a single property to more people than it’s suitable for.
  • Renting out properties in poor or unliveable condition.
  • Rogue landlords not meeting legal obligations and infringing on the rights of the tenants.

 How to identify scams

  • Properties can appear cheaper than expected.
  • Property advertisements include suspiciously high-quality photos.
  • There's a sense of urgency and pressure from the scammers to act quickly.
  • Scammers might show false evidence to prove legitimacy.
  • Scammers might contact individuals privately and directly pretending to be the landlord or the letting agent.
  • Scammers will ask for payments through hard-to-trace money transfer services.
  • Scammers would not operate through well-known agencies or be registered on local accreditation schemes.

 How to prevent being scammed

  • Only rent a property through reputable sources like well-known letting agents and landlords registered through local accreditation schemes or the University.
  • Visit properties in person, view them properly and check the interior of a house or room before handing over any money.

Note: Students are kindly reminded that they shouldn't carry large sums of cash.