HOUSE-hunters in Cork are being urged to be alert to potential scams, particularly as the new academic term commences.
Southern regional manager of Threshold, Edel Conlon, warned that, while rental scams occur throughout the year, they are asking people looking for rented accommodation “to exercise particular caution at this time of year, when there is a spike due to a new generation of third-level students looking for somewhere to live”.
“We strongly advise people to be cautious of a landlord who claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit,” she said.
“Would-be renters should also be mindful that, in some instances, a scammer could be living at the property and showing a number of people around, getting a deposit from several people and then disappears with the money.”
Threshold is also urging house-hunters to make sure that both the rental and the person advertising it are legitimate.
“In other instances, the transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the ‘landlord’ has disappeared.
“People need to establish that the house exists, that it is available for rent, the identity of the landlord/agent, and that the person advertising the property is authorised to rent it out,” Ms Conlon said.
The warning follows reports of an apparent scam targeting renters in Cork.
It is claimed that a number of Cork house-hunters were sent a scam email, advertising an apartment that does not exist.
A warning about the scam appeared on a Cork house-hunting page on Facebook, where numerous members claimed to have received the same email.
Gardaí say however that they have not received any reports of the scam from the Cork area.