Gardaí issue advice surrounding college housing scams as incidents rise
The news has been dominated lately with many students struggling to find accommodation for their new academic year at university. With limited accommodation available on campuses, students are being forced to pay extortionate prices and look at other alternative options.
As a result of the housing crisis, this desperation can lead to people being targeted by accommodation fraud. This occurs when students are demanded to pay the first month of rent upfront, for a property that does not even exist.
In figures released by the Gardaí today, accommodation scams appear to be on the rise, with an increase of 30% this year, compared to 2019.
On average, a student that gets caught up in an accommodation scam will end up losing around €1,300. In total so far this year, over €290,000 has been stolen as a result of housing fraud.
Despite most of these incidents occurring in Dublin, Gardaí are still asking students and their families to be aware of housing scams across the country, and to watch out for any odd behaviour from the supposed landlord.
Before considering making a deposit on a property, make a note of these warning signs and the Gardaí’s essential checklist:
Don’t pay a deposit if:
- The landlord won’t show you the property in person.
- The landlord only responds to your questions with vague answers.
- You are only communicating with the landlord via text, WhatsApp, or social media.
- The property is offered to you with no questions asked.
- The landlord is demanding a payment from you before you sign the lease.
- You are asked to pay cash, cryptocurrency or money via a non-bank transfer (such as wire transfer)
Only sign the lease if:
- You have found the property through a letting agency or the landlord is bona fida and trusted.
- You have viewed the house in person.
- You will receive an official receipt from the landlord.
- You have checked that the keys to the house work.
- You have proper contact details for the landlord.