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By Philippa Dobree-Carey, From High School to Uni

Have you started to search for the perfect student pad to suit your budget? Before you embark on the stressful hunt for rented accommodation, make sure you have the essential ammunition - knowledge of student rental scams.

If you're not planning on living in halls of residence, or if you're heading into your second or third year of university, finding a place to live can be a challenge.
Students are a prime target for rental scammers who exploit students’ newfound independence and panic about finding a place to live.

Imagine finding a place that looks fabulous, the rent is within your budget, and the location is close to town or university. Sounds Ideal, right? Scammers love to dangle the carrot of incredible deals in front of unsuspecting students.

Beware of these tempting but unrealistic offers that are too good to be true

In the age of online transactions, scammers prefer to stay in the shadows. If your potential landlord avoids face-to-face meetings and insists on doing everything online, pull the plug. Any reputable landlord will take the time to meet a prospective tenant. After all, they want to know that you will respect their property.

If you ask for a meeting and are met with excuses, drop it and keep looking

Have you ever experienced the fear of missing out? One of the most common tactics used in rental scams is for scammers to create a false sense of urgency and heighten a student's anxiety.
"Multiple offers are pouring in!" they claim. "You need to send your deposit to secure the tenancy". "If you can pay me a month's rent today, I can reserve the flat for you".

Don't let the pressure force you to hand over money

Your money will disappear into a black hole and you'll never hear from the scammer again or see your accommodation.

Legitimate landlords use standard payment methods and will usually give you bank details, including an IBAN and BIC number.

If your potential landlord asks for an unconventional payment, such as Western Union, cash or Paypal - or asks you to pay into different accounts, refuse. If your money cannot be traced through a reputable bank, you will have no recourse.

A proper rental requires documentation

A tenancy agreement and a copy of your rights and responsibilities. If your landlord is reluctant to provide a tenancy agreement or the paperwork seems sketchy, proceed with caution.

rental scam

Personal experience:
If you’re still sceptical about student rental scams, trust me, it happened to us!

My daughter found a seemingly perfect place in Paris, affordable, beautiful rooms – but a scam in disguise. The “owners’, claiming to be an elderly couple living in Provence requested a month’s rent to secure the property. Ironically, they said they’d been scammed by students who had wasted their time travelling up to Paris and then failed to turn up.

They insisted that she ask a male family member to transfer funds via Western Union, and that they would then confirm the visit.

Recognizing the red flags, we halted all communication.

This could happen to anyone, so stay vigilant, and beware of rental scams as you search for your ideal student accommodation.


Author bio

Philippa Dobree CareyPhilippa Dobree-Carey is an adept project manager for an international organization in Geneva. Author of the award-winning student guide "From High School to Uni", Philippa successfully steers students step-by-step through the process of packing, preparing for and thriving in the university environment.

With a passion for helping others, Philippa's insightful blogs provide a wealth of practical advice, guiding students (and anxious parents!) with firsthand experience, tips, and insights. As a devoted mother of two university aged children, she understands the concerns of those navigating this transition. This firsthand perspective has driven her to create a library of well-defined, pragmatic resources aimed at facilitating the transition to university life. Discover a treasure trove of invaluable resources by visiting her website www.fromhighschooltouni.com

Philippa photo credit: Timeless Portrait Photography - Amber Roberts Images