Searching for shared accommodation online can expose you to the risk of falling prey to scam artists. To prevent this happening, it is important to be careful, so here are a few safety tips for people looking to share rooms in London.
Staying Safe While Looking for Shared Accommodation
To stay safe while searching for house shares in London, do:
- Determine the property’s exact address and let someone know where you are going to view a property (and when you are going there)
- Request to see the tenancy agreement/a copy thereof before you commit to a room
- Request to see the agent, flatmate or landlord’s ID (i.e. driving license or passport) and note their name down before handing over any money
- Get a landline number (i.e. a work or office number) you can call them (the landlord, agent or potential flatmate) on
- Check agencies out online and call their landline (main) number to ensure the individual you are dealing with is one of their legitimate employees
- Ask the agent/landlord what tenancy deposit scheme they use
- Use an online (free) sort-code checker (showing you the financial institutions accounts are registered with) before making any bank transfer payments. Never make payments to pre-paid card issuers.
Finally, all agencies must be registered with a property Redress Scheme, so if you are dealing with an agency, ask for the scheme’s name and check the agency’s registered details. If you have any doubt at all whether someone you are dealing with is legitimate/a property’s legal owner, you can check out their LinkedIn profile or by:
- Doing a Google search
- Running a Land Registry check (this will cost you £3)
- You should also never:
- Trust “too good to be true” adverts (i.e. properties that seem unusually cheap for their condition/the area)
- Pay or sign anything before you viewed a property
- Pay anything via Moneygram, Western Union or similar anonymous money transfer systems (even when asked to transfer money to a relative or friend first and, to prove you have the necessary funds, show the receipt – that receipt is all that is needed for someone to claim your cash!)
- Pay anything before seeing the tenancy agreement
- Feel pressurised into taking something that feels wrong – other options will be available
- Accept scans of someone’s ID (especially if you haven’t met them). Insist on seeing an actual ID while in the presence of the individual holding it
Last, but by no means least, never use contact details hidden within images or ad descriptions. Always use a landlord/agencies landline/official messaging system until you are completely confident that you know exactly who you are dealing with.
Safely Share Rooms in London
The safest way to find shared properties in London is, of course, to deal with a well-established, renowned agency like Ace Relocations. Making our residents’ safety and comfort our main priority, we offer a comprehensive choice of exquisite, yet affordable, all-inclusive share properties in prime areas all over London and the South East. Why not get in touch right now?!