Potential scam-being asked to pay the money to the agent's account

Are only the landlords of the properties allowed to sign up for Openrent? The flat I am about to rent seems to be handled by agents, and the ‘landlord’ I contact with is the agent of this flat. I have already paid the holding deposit and we found that the contract was not signed by the landlord, it was signed by the agent on behalf of the landlord instead, is it reasonable?
Also, they mention that there is a 12,000 limit on rent in advance, since I am an international student, I have to pay 6-monthes rent in advance, they say I have to transfer the remaining of rent more than £12,000 to their agent account, so I’m a little skeptical about it, because I thought I was able to contact directly to the landlord of the flat, I am worried that the actual landlord of this flat does not know about it and does not receive any rent from the agent, as a result I will be claimed as not paying any rent by the actual landlord and drive me away. Could Openrent help to verify whether the agent’s statement that I cannot pay the rent for 6 months at a time so that the remaining 4 months of rent has to be transferred directly to his account are true?

Scams are on the increase. If you have any doubts about this “agent” then walk away.

“Are only the landlords of the properties allowed to sign up for Openrent?” No, some agents in the past have pretended to be landlords, as well as some scammers, so be careful.

“the contract was not signed by the landlord, it was signed by the agent on behalf of the landlord instead, is it reasonable?” I don’t have relevant experience here, but as the landlord is ultimately responsible, I would expect a landlord signature.

I do not believe there is any limit on rent in advance as I know one person who paid well over that for a house for a year. I suspect that £12000 is a bank transfer limit to reduce the risk of fraud consequences, but not stop fraud!

Some landlords do not want to be contacted, so they employ agents for that purpose.

Check the agent out:

  • is the address findable on street view on Google Maps
  • is the business, taking care with the spelling of its name, listed in the UK “Companies House” list of businesses, and if so have they been in business for years, or less than say 2 years. If, say a year, they are likely to be scammers.
  • If you find an almost identical name to theirs in the Companies House register, phone the other company to inform them there is a look-alike. They may already know and confirm this as a scam for you.
  • if the agent claims to be a member of an association, such as NLRA, then call them or visit their website to see if they are in fact registered with them, and the contact details are the same as the one that you have.

If they want your money, they can wait for it! Don’t be pressured to pay.

Places are rented quickly now, so if they have backed out in a few days that may mean they have found someone else to rent and ought to return your holding deposit. Many landlords want to rent quickly, so that could happen. If it does not, I would suspect a scam.

Good luck

See a similar situation with further advice at Landlord (?SCAMMER?)

If anyone does have a concern about another OpenRent user, please report them using the report button on every advert, or contact us directly here. We’ll investigate any reports of this nature, as well as provide support / next steps.

@Chuchu - Please contact us via the link above so we can support you directly. This is a public forum, questions of this nature (that involve private / personal information) can’t be handled via this forum.

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