The National Landlords Association (NLA) say they been contacted by a number of tenants who have become victims of fraud after a new wave of rental property scams started to appear on Gumtree, the free listing website. The NLA has issued a fresh warning to would be tenants concerning the number of rental scams posted online by fake landlords.
Would-be tenants from overseas are being lured to apply for a number of attractive rental property opportunities across the UK advertised among genuine listings on the website, and after a brief email and/or postal exchange, the applicants are then asked to send money directly to the landlord in order to secure the rental property.
After sending money to the supposed landlord, the would-be tenant applicants discover that they are unable to make contact with the person that they sent the money to and they are not able to collect the keys.
The NLA are concerned because often these fraudsters claim to be members of the NLA or other landlord associations that operate in the UK, using recognised landlord association logos, fake stationary and even letters from local landlord association representatives to support their demands
A telling giveaway of this type of rental property fraud is that very often the emails and letters from the fake landlord are written in poor English.
The NLA is reminding all tenant applicants applying for rental properties, that no matter where they are from, they should never send payment to any advertiser for a rental property before they have ensured that the advertisement is genuine and the property is available to rent and the person advertising the property is who they claim to be.
If overseas applicants need to secure a rental property before arriving in the UK, they should seek the help of their employer, university or sponsor in the first instance.
Tenants who wish to check if a prospective landlord advertising property to rent on Gumtree is a member of the NLA, or any other landlord association in the UK, should ask them for their association membership number and area, this can then be checked with the relevant organisations with a simple telephone call.
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