News & Updates

Alert for Students: Watch Out for Rental Scams Targeting College Accommodation Seekers

by Adam Crowther | Aug 16, 2023

Attention all students on the hunt for off-campus housing! As the academic year approaches, a concerning rise in rental scams has been reported, specifically targeting those seeking accommodations near college campuses. Scammers are capitalising on the urgency of finding a place to stay, making it crucial for students to be extra cautious during their housing search. Be sure to familiarise yourself with our Accommodation Guide for 2023/24


Here are some essential tips to avoid falling victim to rental scams:


1. Stick to Reputable Sources:

Utilise trusted student housing websites, university bulletin boards, and official property management companies when searching for rentals. Avoid responding to ads on unfamiliar platforms or via unsolicited emails.


2. Insist on In-Person Viewings:

Never agree to rent a property without physically visiting it first. Scammers often avoid in-person meetings, so be wary if a landlord or agent insists on conducting business solely through email or text.


3. Be Sceptical of Low Prices:

If a rental listing offers unbelievably low prices compared to the local market, exercise caution. Scammers use this tactic to attract attention, but it's usually a sign of a potential scam.


4. Don't Wire Money or Pay Cash Upfront:

Legitimate landlords will not ask for cash payments or wire transfers as security deposits or fees. Stick to safer payment methods such as checks or verified online platforms.


5. Research the Landlord and Property:

Look up the landlord's contact information and research the property online. If there's a lack of information or inconsistencies, it's a warning sign.


6. Trust Your Instincts:

If a situation feels suspicious or uncomfortable, trust your gut. Scammers often create pressure to make hasty decisions, so take your time to thoroughly evaluate the situation.


7. Verify Affiliation with the College:

If a landlord claims their property is affiliated with the university, double-check this information with the university's housing department. Scammers may falsely associate themselves with the institution to gain trust.


8. Request a Written Lease:

Insist on a written lease or rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of your stay. Review it carefully before making any commitments.


9. Guard Your Personal Information:

Avoid sharing personal or financial information via email or text. Legitimate landlords will conduct such exchanges in person or through secure channels.


Students, while the excitement of a new academic year is upon us, it's essential to prioritise your safety and financial well-being. Stay vigilant, educate yourself about common scams, and report any suspicious activity to your university's housing office and local authorities. By being informed and cautious, you can avoid rental scams and ensure a smooth transition into your new college home.