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Avoiding Rental Scams

Unfortunately, some landlords/letting agents advertise properties that don’t exist or ask for large amounts of money before disappearing. We are here to support you with problems you might encounter.

If at any point you need to quickly leave one of our advice pages, you can hit escape to return to the landing page.

Rental Scams

Rental scams involving students are becoming more common in Glasgow. Police Scotland have issued some great guidance on how to keep yourself safe when looking for a flat.

This leaflet from Glasgow University has some great tips to follow to help you be savvy when you are looking for accommodation. The Take Five campaign has a lot of useful tips for avoiding online fraud and scams also.

Five Top Tips for Avoiding Rental Scams

  1. Landlord Registration

    Always check that your landlord is registered for the property if this is a requirement.

    In Scotland the majority of landlords need to be registered. You can check if your landlord/potential property is registered here. It is a criminal offence for a landlord not to be registered and can carry a fine of up to £50,000. Some landlords are exempt from the registration requirement, including those who live all or most of the time with their tenants in the same property.

  2. Deposit Schemes

    Always ask what deposit scheme your landlord is going to use.

    Most deposits in Scotland need to be registered in a deposit protection scheme. In Scotland there are three: My Deposits Scotland, Safe Deposits Scotland, and Letting Protection Service Scotland. They are independent organisations that hold your deposit money, so if there are any problems with charges or returning the money, they will look at the case objectively. Your landlord needs to register your deposit within 30 days of you giving them the money.

  3. Money

    Do not pay money to a landlord in cash or via companies such as Western Union.

    These payments are untraceable and difficult to prove if there are problems. We would suggest a bank transfer between UK bank accounts as the safest option for payment of rent and deposits. If you are being put under pressure to hand over large sums of cash in advance then this may be a warning sign of a scam.

  4. Viewings

    We would not suggest paying any money for a private rental property before you have viewed it in person yourself. We know this can be difficult for students travelling from overseas, so it might be worthwhile to rent some short term accommodation (like a hostel/hotel) so that you can do viewings yourself. The Advice Hub can provide you with information on temporary accomodation if you need it.

  5. Ask for Help

    If you are unsure about a property, or the information or documents you are being provided we can help. We can check your tenancy agreement and look at listings if you are unsure or concerned about scams.

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