The National Landlords Association (NLA) has re-issued its warning about rental fraudsters.
The NLA received a large number of complaints in August 2010, regarding fraudsters who operate online using websites such as Gumtree, and has now received a new wave of complaints.
The NLA investigated and uncovered several fraudsters who would trick tenants into paying an advance fee to rent a property by using tactics such as NLA branding or fake letters from NLA local representatives to support their demands in order to lure their victims in to a false sense of security.
Scammers often target are those who are coming from abroad and are securing property online, particularly those who are looking for university accommodation. The potential victims respond to advertisements on websites for rental accommodation in the UK and after receiving letters and emails to prove legitimacy, the unsuspecting tenant is asked to send money to the ‘landlord’. Typically once the money has been sent the ‘landlord’ becomes un-contactable and the potential tenant has been left defrauded.
The NLA says that tenants, no matter where they are from, should not send payment to advertisers before they are certain that the advertiser is genuine. A clue is that very often the fake letters from the ‘landlord’ or official organisatons are written in poor English.
The NLA has teamed up with National Crime Agency, and the NUS to provide guidance on rental fraud.