How does OpenRent make sure that my landlord is not a scammer?

So, I found a flat via OpenRent that I liked very much. The landlord got in touch with me directly and wanted me to pay a 2-weeks holding deposit right away and the whole deposit & 1-month rent before actually moving in. I understand that 2-weeks holding deposit is not legal in the UK and I confronted him about that.
In addition to that, I never met the landlord, as he states he is abroad. When I viewed the apartment, there was only the cleaning lady.

I paid the holding deposit of 1 week via OpenRent, and I am going through the referencing process at the moment.

Can I still be scammed and the apartment might not actually be his?
How does OpenRent make sure that my landlord is not a scammer?

I got in touch with the property management of the building and hope to get an answer in regards to who the flat belongs to after the Easter holidays.

you can always check the ownership thru the Land Registry for a small fee

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I did that, and I was only provided the name of the company that manages the building. I got in touch with them already, but it’ll take a few days until they will get back to me.

could be the managing agent and landlord are the same

So the issue is that, the alleged “landlord” introduced him as such at first, but then when I asked why he was abroad, he said he only manages the property for the acutal landlord. He gave me the name of the person, but of course I don’t know if the real landlord knows about the flat being rented out. The “manager” would however be named as “landlord” in the contract, so it’s all a bit weird.

if it seems fummy, then you might be better walking away, does the rent seem to be on the low side to tempt people in?

No, the rent seems fair. I was just wondering what OpenRent will do to protect me, as the deposit and first rent will be paid via their process.

I collect my own rents and send off the deposits so I dont know what their checks are the reverse way around

Is it possible that when checking land registry you requested details about the freehold title? Freeholds are often owned by special purpose companies set up specifically for that property and are often called something like 45 Acacia Road Management Company. Most flats are leasehold and each leasehold title should be separately registered.

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Hi ABC, you’re already using Rent Now, which is the best way to stay safe when finding a property. It ensures the tenancy is set up according to best practice, you are served all the required information and documents, and that a third party (us) protect the move-in money until you move into the property. It also ensures that landlords are aware of and indeed forced to comply with all new regulations. For example, Rent Now only allows a one week hold deposit because this is the new legal limit England.

We have many checks in place to protect tenants from scams. For example, asking landlords to submit proof that they do indeed own/have the right to let the properties they advertise.

I hope this gives you confidence in OpenRent, but if you feel like something isn’t right then do get in touch with our support team directly here and we’ll be very happy to help. Of course, if you believe a crime is occuring, then you should contact the police.

Sam

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Ask the landlord for tenant references. I get references from my tenants when they leave. You have just as much right to ask for proof of his performance/behaviour as a landlord as we do from a tenant.

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