At peak times when students are searching for accommodation, there are people that will try to take advantage of this opportunity to cheat and trick students out of their money. These are often referred to as Rental Scams, and the people trying to do them as Scammers.

How Rental Scams Work

Rental scams usually involve people advertising properties they do not own or that do not exist online. The online adverts can look very convincing with genuine-looking photos and are often accompanied by a low rental price.

Their goal is to convince students to pay fees prior to viewing the property and once those fees have been paid the student will likely not hear back from the fraudster, have no accommodation, and have lost a substantial amount of money.

Spotting Rental Scams

New rental scams are always appearing but these tips can help you spot and avoid falling victim.

When you come across a property advert, ask yourself the following questions…

Is The Price Too Good?

Scammers will often advertise properties for rent at low prices in very desirable areas.

Have a look at how much similar properties in the same area are going for and use this to judge if the asking rent sounds reasonable. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!

Are You Asked To Pay Money Via A Payment Service?

You may be asked to pay fees via a payment service such as Western Union or Moneygram. Once money has been paid via these services it can't be traced.

We would recommend that you avoid making rental payments via such services. 

Are You Unable To View The Property?

The properties advertised with these scams usually do not exist or are not owned by the person claiming to be the landlord. This means they will offer excuses to justify why they are unable to let you view the INSIDE of the property in person.

If the landlord or agent is making excuses for why you can't view the property, don't proceed any further.

Are You Pressured To Pay Fees Or Send Personal Documents Before A Viewing?

You should not pay any fees or need to provide any personal documents prior to viewing a property.

Scammers may try to pressure you into doing this and may even ask you to send personal ID documents which they can use for serious identify fraud scams.

If you ever feel unsure about your situation, we would recommend contacting our Student Union Advice Centre for support. 

Helpful Tips

Finding accommodation is not always the easiest process so here are a few more tips to help you with your search.

  • Use a reputable lettings agency when searching for properties.
  • View the inside of the property before signing anything or making payments. Ideally this should be in person but if you do choose to have a virtual viewing you can click here [link to online viewings article] for more information on these types of viewings.
  • Search the name and contact details shared on the advert online to see what information comes up. If they are repeat scammers, others may have shared information about them online.
  • You can do a reverse image search on Google to see if the property photos have been used elsewhere online. Click here for information on how to do this.
  • If you want to check who owns the property, you can do a quick Land Registry search that costs £3.

If you are unsure about a property or have any questions, you can find further support on Your Students' Union Advice Service website including how to contact Your Advice Service.  


If you think you have been a victim of fraud, you can report this to West Midlands Police by calling 101 or on their website by clicking here.

You can also contact Your Advice Service by completing our online enquiry form.

Powered by MSL