Every year, a number of students are tricked out of thousands of pounds by scammers posing as landlords. The scammers advertise properties not owned or managed by them on portals such as Gumtree and Facebook.
We have compiled a list of steps for students to follow to protect them against such bogus ‘landlords’ and ‘letting agents’:
– Landlords must hold a valid landlords registration number and this must be displayed on the property advert. If not, ask the advertiser for one. Next, ensure the name and address of the advertiser matches that listed on the Landlord Registration website (www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk) Under no circumstances send money to someone not registered against that property. If you cannot find the registration, call Landlord Registration on 01592 583397.
– If you are dealing with a letting agent, check to see if they have signed the landlords charter with the University here: www.st-andrews.ac.uk/accommodation/private/
– Check whether the landlord or agent is accredited to any organisations. Lawson & Thompson are members of the Council of Letting Agents (CLA) and Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS). In order to maintain our membership, we must adhere to a number of minimum standards and best practice criteria.
– If the property you wish to rent is for 3 or more unrelated people, it must have an HMO licence. This number should be listed on the advert. If you are in any doubt, call Fife Council to check the number is valid and the property has an HMO certificate.
– Always view the property in person or get someone to do this on your behalf.
– Lastly, as the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
We would like to wish you all the best with your St. Andrews accommodation experiences and, if you are looking for accommodation in January, we will look forward to speaking to you then.