Use your common sense

Unfortunately, there are housing scammers that create fake ads on housing portals, with the purpose of scamming people looking for an accommodation by making them pay a deposit.

These scammers often operate from other countries, and it is very difficult to retrieve the money back, once a person has been scammed.

It is therefore very important to use your common sense, including checking that all information is correct, before signing a contract or transferring any payment.

Below is a guide to things one should do, an things one should never do when renting an accommodation.

Don’t ever do these things!
1: Never transfer a payment for a rental to a foreign bank account.
2: Never transfer a payment for a rental to a person that you have never met
3: Read all terms in the contract thoroughly before you sign, and consider getting legal assistance if there is anything you don’t understand
4: Never transfer a payment for a rental before having a lease contract which has been signed by both parties.
5: Never transfer a payment for a rental without checking that the landlord has the right to let the rental to you.
6: Never transfer a payment for a rental that you have not visited.

The optimal approach!
1: You find one or more apartments that fit your need.
2: You contact the landlord and the apartment is shown to you.
3: If you reach an agreement with the landlord, the landlord should send you a lease contract.
4: Read the lease contract thoroughly and if needed, consult legal assistance to help you. Among other things, you should pay attention to whether the apartment is taken over reconditioned or not – since this can have a great impact on the expenses imposed on you, when you are moving out again at some point.
5: Check if the landlord in fact has the right to let the apartment to you. This information can often be found on public websites.
6: If the landlord is renting the apartment himself, he may not have the right to sublease it to you. Ask to see the permission to sublease the apartment.
7: If the landlord owns the apartment, he still may not have the right to sublease it to others. Check the statuses of the housing association of the apartment, to see if there is any preventions in the right to lease.
8: When both you and the landlord have signed the lease contract, you will usually have a couple of days to transfer to the deposit. In this case, you should never make the transfer to a foreign bank account.
9: Be sure to make a clear agreement with the landlord about the handover of the apartment. When can you move in? When will you receive the keys? Etc.

In case of misfortune
If you have been unfortunate enough to be scammed by a housing scammer and paid him deposit or rent for apartment, then there is only one thing to do. Report the case to the police as quickly as you can, and give them as much information as possible about the incident. Include all documentation you have, like for instance email addresses, phone numbers and/or names used by the housing scammer in your dialogue.