Rental Property Pitfalls by Heather Hilder on February 28, 2017 “Rental Property Pitfalls” Fake Landlords & Rental Property Pitfalls Are you looking for a rental property? You may have made your first stop, like other renters-to-be, on the main property portals. However, we’re going to describe some rental property pitfalls. Once you delve into the weird and wonderful world of hunting for a rental property, you realise there are costs involved. What are these costs? Administration fees, referencing fees, deposits, moving costs etc. Needless to say, we all want to save as much money as we can when times are tough. This is especially so when starting out on this ‘costly’, emotional and stressful process. Save Money A money saving idea is to simply avoid Estate & Letting Agents when looking to rent. Why not contact a landlord direct? Avoid this so-called ‘money pit’ of Letting Agents, by using an online classified ads website instead! Some Landlords advertise their properties for rent on online classified ads websites without using the services of a Lettings Agent – and there are many genuine Landlords. However … Caveat Emptor The danger is that such websites can attract bogus landlords, who have mercilessly scammed genuine tenants. People can post properties that look real enough but worryingly are there to trick you into handing over your hard-earned cash without even having a single viewing. Fake Rental Properties Properties on such websites may be fake or already rented out. We heard a deeply worrying horror story recently. The story was that a prospective tenant wanted to view a property which as being advertised direct by a ‘landlord’. The ‘landlord’ proclaimed in a message via the website that he had been ‘messed around’ by a previous viewer. As a result he was not prepared to do any further viewings without holding the potential tenant’s deposit before letting them view. At this point the viewer involved smelled a rat, and rightly so. This is a common scam deployed by non-existent landlords. Our word of warning – you’re unlikely to get your money back. Viewings NEVER, NEVER hand over money to view a property. Ensure you receive a tenancy agreement from your Landlord, and ALWAYS make sure your deposit is held within a recognised deposit scheme eg DPS, Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Moving home is not cheap and easy. You can save yourself from a world of pain and distress in the long run by using a Letting Agent. Choose an established and regulated, licensed estate agent (ARLA Propertymark or NAEA Propertymark, with The Property Ombudsman membership). It may cost you more than you’d hoped. But over time you’ll know that your deposit is protected and that you have the protection of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. It’s honestly better to be safe than sorry! Call our Lettings Team 01273 735237 for advice or email us at email@example.com .