Beware of bogus online rental ads

Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, says agents have come across a number of online adverts for properties to let that either don't exist or do exist but do not belong to the person advertising them.

These advertisers seem to be targeting younger people who may be inexperienced in finding apartments or houses to rent.

"In one particular case we heard of, the person who responded to the ad had paid over a deposit before receiving the keys or having signed a lease," she said.

"No reputable rental agency or landlord will ever demand a deposit for a home or any form of payment before the tenant has had the chance to view the property. In addition, the tenant's credit record must be checked and a lease signed, before any monies change hands.

"Most companies will operate this way and even most private landlords will make sure that the agreement is signed and that the tenant is suitable before asking for any payments to be made.
"In most cases, if a situation appears to be too good to be true, it is just that," says Steward.

"Many of these fake ads have taken photos from other websites, listed the properties under what seems a very good rental price and they only operate with an email address and hardly ever a contact telephone number. Be very careful when looking through ads online and compare what is on offer in the area, if the rental seems low, it should be a warning sign."

(Weekend Argus Saturday Edition)

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