Landlord group issues warning over cash for viewing scam in UK

Fraudsters are posing as landlords in the UK and asking tenants for considerable sums of cash to view a property which is advertised to rent at very affordable price, it is claimed.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said it is very concerned about adverts appearing on websites such as Gumtree and others, asking for cash in exchange for viewings.

It says that the online advertisements often show a very attractive and affordable flat. But when prospective tenants call to arrange a viewing they are typically told that the landlord lives far way, sometimes abroad and that they must provide a deposit to secure a viewing, a figure usually in the region of £1,500.

The RLA has issued a warning after receiving a number of calls from concerned landlords about fraudsters. Those behind these scams appear to have cloned logos of websites including the RLA’s DepositGuard scheme so if prospective tenants make cursory checks the schemes look genuine.

However once the cash has been paid they never hear from the scammers again and the RLA said it has spoken to Gumtree demanding visible warnings on the website to stop more renters becoming victims.

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the RLA, said:

‘We would like to make it clear that no genuine landlord will ever ask for money to secure a viewing. Often the victims in this type of fraud are young foreign students, who have limited knowledge of how the rental market works in the UK.

‘The fact that our DepositGuard logo is being used in this manner is something we are taking extremely seriously and we have approached Gumtree asking for clear warnings about scams of this type to be included on its website.’

Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of a scam of this kind should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


Kindly shared by Property Wire