There are unfortunately rare online scams and people trying to commit fraud when renting out rooms or flats. As in any walk of life there are also some bad apples who are involved in renting.
As with any form of online dealing, it's always important to be careful when renting or letting a property. Here is our advice on how to stay safe when using housepals.co.uk.
We have systems in place which pick up on the majority of attempted scams, preventing scammers from sending messages or placing adverts.
Although the odd scam does slip through the net this is very rare and as we educate our users, they will usually bring it to our attention immediately so that we can remove the offender.
Only registered users are able to contact you through Housepals.co.uk, making them subject to checks.
Be vigilant and use your common sense, if something seems too good to be true it usually is. You should exercise caution if:
An advert seems very cheap for the area and the standard shown on the photos.
The advertiser claims they cannot show you the room and pressurises you into signing and paying before you have seen anything.
You are asked to pay anything via Western Union or any other money transfer system.
You receive inconsistent emails where the English degenerates from the quality in the advert and initial email.
Always try to view rooms before committing to anything, ask to see a copy of the tenancy agreement and ask which tenancy deposit scheme the landlord will be using before handing any deposit over (although, if you're moving in as a lodger the tenancy deposit scheme is unlikely to apply to you).
Although it is important to remember that the vast majority of people are honest it is also important to be aware of your personal safety and follow a few rules to avoid potentially unsafe situations when going to view properties on your own.
Try to get a work or other landline number from them that you can call them on to confirm the viewing.
Find out the exact address you will be going to and try to avoid meeting anywhere else.
Notify a friend, colleague or relative where you will be going, who you are meeting and what time you expect the viewing to end.
The vast majority of people are honest and you should not be paranoid, just take sensible safety precautions.
If you are abroad and cannot view the rooms we advise you speak to the advertiser on the phone and NEVER pay by Western Union.
We hope the above helps you enjoy the Housepals experience and good luck with finding your ideal room or flatmate.