Protecting Yourself from Rental Scams

Looking for somewhere to rent can be a stressful experience, with the rental market leaving tenants feeling the need to move quickly to secure a property. Scammers use this sense of urgency to try and pressure people into sending money and/or personal information to secure a property that does not exist or has already been let.

What we do

When landlords list with us we verify details and have systems and features designed to protect our users from malicious activity.

Our tenancy creation service, Rent Now, provides users with a 100% safe way to set up a tenancy. With Rent Now we can guarantee the safety of tenant money and ensure that proper procedures are followed at all times. For example, money isn’t transferred to a landlord until after you’ve moved in. Our referencing service provides a safe way to share relevant information with your prospective landlord. Our messaging system means you can contact landlords without sharing personal details until you’re ready to proceed.

What you can do

Renting a property using Rent Now is a 100% safe way to secure a property. It is also 100% free for tenants. Primarily we advise using the systems that we have in place to keep your money and data safe, but listed below is some general good practice to keep in mind for protecting yourself from rental scams if dealing outside of our platform. This is not something we ever recommend for obvious reasons.

Renting Outside Of OpenRent (off-platform)

If someone asks for money:

We always recommend that you view a property before paying the holding deposit (or any other funds) towards the tenancy. We would advise extreme caution around any landlord requesting funds before you have viewed the property. You should also be aware that a holding deposit should only be equivalent to 1 week’s rent.

When money is being paid to a private individual we always recommend taking proof of identity and a clear written agreement of how money will be treated.

We have more information on setting up a private tenancy here

You can find more information about what fees a landlord can charge since the Tenant Fees Act

If someone asks for personal information:

You are fine to provide most information about yourself before a viewing, but landlords should not be asking you to provide personal data such as ID and bank statements before you have viewed the property outside of a referencing process.

Any information that you do choose to share with a landlord is protected under GDPR and the Data Protection Act.

More information on your rights can be found on the ICO website

Report it

If you receive communications from a landlord on OpenRent, and you think it looks suspicious, report the listing to us. Every OpenRent advert has a ‘Report Listing’ button on it and we will promptly look into any advert you have concerns about.

If a landlord claiming to use OpenRent has contacted you outside of our platform, and you think their message is suspicious, you can contact us here

This article is not intended to form legal or investment advice. Investments in property are not guaranteed and can decrease in value as well as increase.

how to avoid rental scams as a landlord
Finding Tenants
6 February 2024

How to Avoid Online Rental Scams as a Landlord