Streets of Manchester – Do we need to pay deposit even before viewing a flat ? – A discussion with a Fake Landlord

We moved to Manchester city two days ago.

Currently staying in a Service Apartments. Looking for house/flat for stay.

Found a flat online and emailed the landlord for further details.

Landlord Reply:

Thanks for the interest you have in my flat. The flat is still available for rent and you can stay in my flat as long as you pay your rent at when due. Here are the necessary things you need to know about the rent and deposit. Rent per calender month is £304 { includes all bills : water, gas, council tax, TV license and wireless Internet}  also Security deposit of £900 And it is protected by the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme(http://www.depositprotection.com/){Refundable after four weeks in the flat}.

However, At this stage that you want to rent my flat, i need to know some few question about you.Can you keep my flat clean and tidy? Do you have references in Manchester and do you have a landline number in which i can reach you?i will appreciate if you can get back to me with all this information. Kindly reply for further information and i will like to know where you are coming from to stay in my flat.

Shrini:

Thanks for the details.

I am happy with the rent and security deposit.

I will keep the house clean and tidy.

<Shared the details about ourself and landline no.>

Landlord:

Thanks for the reply and there is absolutely nothing to worry about. its possible for you to come for the viewing. However, i can make a perfect reservation for you as i am giving you 100% guarantee as the flat is still available. I would need to take a day off in order to come down to Manchester and schedule for the viewing. Yet some prospective tenants do not have the money to pay the rent and they disturb the landlord to arrange a viewing, so i wouldn’t like such to happen again.

More so, i have 2 other interested candidates that just provided their details for the tenancy agreement and also willing to make an advance deposit of 6months rent to secure the flat but i declined because they have a big family with 5 children, 3 cats and 2 dogs so you can imagine how i thought they wouldn’t be able to keep the flat clean and properly maintain which is my number one objective not just the rent.

Nevertheless, i will appreciate if you would be able to get the security deposit transferred now via online banking or via pay pal or locate the bank. Upon verification of payment, we proceed immediately with the viewing. We can proceed with the viewing tomorrow at 6pm or at your convenient time. Your funds will be protected and monitor by the www.depositprotection.com.

Please let me know if you are willing to proceed with the payment so that i can provide to you the bank account details. You will pay the rent after the viewing and note that making a deposit doesn’t mean you must rent my flat after the viewing, if you decide not to proceed with the rent, then i will refund the deposit immediately without any deduction.

Hope to read from you soon.

Shrini:

Thanks for the detailed email.

I am happy to view the property at your suitable time. Please dont
take a day off.
Any suitable time for you is fine for me.

On paying the security deposit, I think it will be nice to give in
hand and get a receipt.

I have a terrific experience on this.
I had paid such an advance for  security deposit to a landlord at
nottingham via online.
We could not get the house. But still i did not received the advance.
Still asking them to receive the amount.

Then only found this.
http://thedpsblog.com/the-deposit-protection-service-blog/beware-of-fraudsters

Hope you know all these and can understand my situation.

I am ready to pay the amount in person, at the time of viewing the property.

Please share your thoughts on this.

LandLord:

Thanks for getting back to me swiftly and i really do appreciate your genuine interest in the flat. I would have loved to give you my phone number to make conversation easier for the both of us  but at this time its very difficult to use the phone because i do have hearing difficulty which makes the email my best form of conversation but be sure i will be responding quickly to your inquiry via the email as i do check my messages frequently.

Also, the flat is a fully furnished one bedroom flat not shared so you staying alone as i myself am a lived out landlord so you have absolutely nothing to worry about. The flat comes fully furnished and everything for your convenience; separate lounge with ,separate kitchen with built in oven and hob, free standing fridge/freezer and washing machine.  bathroom with shower/toilet/basin.

I understand your message and i know you need to be careful when dealing with someone you haven’t met or pay for what you haven’t seen yet. Firstly, i would like you to know that i am not after your hard earn money. I am a live out landlord and i have my own work of which i earn enough money for my family.

The lay down procedure was mandated by my lawyer and i because we have both been disappointed in the past by unserious people that are not ready or don’t have the money to pay for the rent or the security deposit, yet they disturb us in order to schedule a viewing and i am not willing to let that happen again. The tenant that left the flat also did the same thing and there was no problem , am pretty sure you will also like the flat and since your deposit is equally protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme so you have nothing to worry about.

I can equally send you contact details of various past tenants who did the same thing and they too were very fine  with it. Transfer of deposit is done via the bank/online banking so you should be sure its most secure and payment is made directly to my Lawyer so as soon as confirmation of payment is ascertain we schedule the viewing immediately. so assuming you are able to deposit transfer done now then be sure we proceed with the viewing tomorrow evening at 6pm or at a time convenient for you equally you can move in same day

As a private landlord here in the UK, i am guided by law under the Housing Act and i will neither advertise what i don’t have. The flat in the photos is exactly what you are coming to see on your arrival in flat. Nevertheless, i am more than willing to send my certificate of ownership as a proof of address.

Kindly let me know if you wiling to get deposit transfer done so we can proceed and avoid time wasting. I will patiently await your reply.

Shrini:

I understand that you are genuine.

I am very new to Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

I am still not sure on how can I get refund of money from a new person.

900 GBP is really huge for us to send to a new person.

My wife is checking with her managers for such mandatory between lawyer and landlord.

But no one knows about this.

I request you to share some more details about your lawyers and previous tenants, so that we can have some words with them too.

http://thedpsblog.com/the-deposit-protection-service-blog/beware-of-fraudsters

This page says that

For further peace of mind, it’s also worth checking if your landlord or agent is a member of an industry body such as the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the National Landlords Scheme (NLA). the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), or the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). Membership of these schemes indicates that a letting agent/landlord is genuine and committed to improving standards in the private rented sector.

Please share the info that if you are a member of such association.

Please dont mistake me for such queries in our initial conversations itself.

I give more priority to longtime relationships and peace of mind than the money.

This seems very new to me. Even I am landlord at chennai and we dont have such systems there to get the deposit before showing the property.

Few more questions.
1. Do I have to send 900 GBP as Deposit before even viewing the property?
2. Is it possible to make as 50 or 100 GBP and to pay the remaining on accepting the property?
LandLord:
Thanks for getting back to me and yes i really do appreciate your genuine interest in the flat also with your wife even as i am agreeing and fully making a perfect reservation for you with the hope that we can proceed and equally you too can move in avoid time wasting.

Just as i have previously explained that you have absolutely nothing to worry about and deposit is well protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme even its fully guarantee to be returned back to you at the end of your first month stay in the flat even if you staying for long or short term rent.

That one isn’t a member of these association listed in your previous messages doesn’t mean he/she as a landlord/agent isnt genuine as its free Organization/ Association whether you join or not doesn’t really count to me but am sure a certificate proof of ownership should be perfect for you so you can be sure of genuineness of the flat.

Also just as i have explained that i can send you details of several tenants who once stayed in the flat at one time or the other even you can contact them if you want. I will also want you to know that my Lawyer is my personal legal adviser especially on matters concerning the flats as he wouldn’t even allow me share details him but if you want at the viewing you can meet with him and then asks any question you want but am sure you will not regret renting from me.

The deposit is guarantee to be return back to you at the end of your first month stay in the flat and yes just as explained that deposit is transferred directly to Lawyer’s details of account. Once deposit is confirm with the bank we proceed with the viewing immediately also you can move in same day after the viewing as the flat is fully furnished so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

As requested, here is the details of tenants who once stayed in the flat a time or the other if you can contact them it will be appreciated sure we can proceed and finalize needed necessities.

1. catalyz635437XXXXXXXXX@gmail.com
2. Yera_adeXXXXXXXXX@outlook.com
3. mooresritaXXXXXXXXX@gmail.com

I will patiently await your response to enable us proceed.

Shrini
Thanks for the details.

Unfortunately, we are not ready to send money to new persons without viewing the property.

I hope that you can understand our fears.

I am sure that I will give the deposit once we visit the property.

If paying in advance is the only option, we are sorry to say that we can not agree for letting in.

Please consider once again, to show the property and then let us sign the agreement and pay.

LandLord:
Thanks for coming back to me so quickly and in answer to your question, it becomes necessary that you will get deposit before we proceed with the viewing, however be very rest assured that if after the viewing you are not comfortable with the flat i will be returning back to you transfer deposit without any deduction and the monthly rent can be settled at your arrival to the flat if you decide to take it

The tenant that left the flat also did the same thing and there was no problem , am pretty sure you will also like the flat and since your deposit is equally protected by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme so you have nothing to worry about.

I can equally send you contact details of various past tenants who did the same thing and they too were very fine  with it. Transfer of deposit is done via the bank/online so you should be sure its most secure and payment is made directly to my Lawyer so as soon as confirmation of payment is ascertain we schedule the viewing immediately. so assuming you are able to deposit transfer done today then be sure we proceed with the viewing on tomorrow evening equally you can move in same day even though half deposit should suffice to enable us proceed, please note that i am not making it compulsory to the flat.

I wouldn’t want us to waste much time needed because there are lots of people looking to the renting of the flat and i have only decide to rent out to you as you were actually the first person
to have responded to the flat advert. I appreciate your time and interest

Shrini
Thanks for the details email.

I am agreeing with you, But I can not answer the questions from wife on sending money to the new person, even without seeing, or in phone call or without seeing the property.

I am sure that previous tenents will response properly.

Even still, we have tons of fear on sending money to new persons online.

We can give money in person, at the property.

If you are not agreed with the option of getting money in person at the property,

please proceed with the next people looking for the same property.

Please dont mistake me for this hard decision.

LandLord:
Not a problem and thanks for your time.
Shrini
Thanks for your time too.
Moral of the Story:
Dont send money to any unknown persons online, for any cause.
Cheaters are around the world.