Find Property to Rent – 15 Ways for Tenants to Spot a Fake Landlord!June 21, 2020
Recent news reports of unscrupulous people taking over someone’s home and renting it out to either one or more tenants means that if you are a homeowner, a landlord or a tenant, you need to take precautions to avoid being scammed!
If you are a prospective tenant hunting for a property, then it’s vital to follow our top 15 ways to spot a fake landlord BEFORE you hand over any money!
To avoid having to ask these questions altogether, only rent from an ARLA or NALS registered letting agent that is also ideally a member of The Property Ombudsman Scheme. They are responsible for agents that have joined their organisations to abide by strict codes of conduct and this means that they are more likely to ensure a property is let legally, including ensuring the landlord owns the property and has, if required, the lender’s permission to rent it.
Avoid a Fake Landlord BEFORE you view a property:-
1. Check where the advert is from. If it’s from sites visit – https://lambanggiaphoithat.com/ where landlord’s can advertise for free, or for less than 50, find out how the website vets the properties and landlords. If they do NO vetting be very cautious!
2. Ask for the landlord’s full name and address and ideally a land line phone number. Be suspicious if they don’t give these details and only give an email address/mobile.
3. Ask if the landlord is a member of any accreditation schemes eg NLA, RLA and/or a local authority scheme, check they are members.
4. Confirm your appointment with them ideally on the land line number.
5. For a small fee (around 4) check on-line at Land Registry that the landlord does own the property. Download the Title Register details which says who owns the property.
How to SPOT a Fake Landlord when viewing a property:-
6. Ask the landlord if you can see the Energy Performance Certificate. This is a document that tells you how much your utility bills will be (very important!) and is a legal requirement for most rental properties (except properties that aren’t let on a ‘self contained basis’, such as licensed HMOs and renting a room).
7. When looking around the home ask what’s happened to the previous tenants and if you can have a reference from them.
8. Ask to see the existing gas and any electrical safety certificates. If the previous tenants have just moved out, then the certificates should still be in date, or if they are just out of date, confirm with the gas/electricity company that they did the work for your landlord.
9. Ask the landlord how much deposit they take, how it will be paid (eg cash/cheque/BACs) and which Tenancy Deposit Scheme it will be held in. It should be held in one of three schemes: My Deposits (custodial and safest scheme); Tenancy Dispute Service or My Deposits.