The Bogus Landlord Scam, also known as the ‘let and run’ scam, is one that has been seen on an increasing basis here in the UK. Considering this, landlords, property investors and letting agents should remain vigilant and carefully consider who has access to the keys to their properties.
In this scam the perpertrator poses as someone interested in renting a property. Often they will look around the house or flat whilst being accompanied by the landlord or an agent. However, they will find an excuse to return before agreeing to the deal, to have a final look, for instance. As they only need a quick reminder about the property they will ask for the key to let themselves in by themself as they won’t be gone long.
Sure enough, they soon return and hand the key back. Should the landlord or agent go to the property immediately then nothing would seem amiss.
So what is the scam?
Well, whilst the scammer had they key they didn’t actually return to the property. Instead, they went and got another key cut for later use. Upon their return the scammer will say they are no longer interested, return the key and then leave.
Some time later the landlord or agent may visit the property and be surprised to find someone living there! With their own key, the scammer will have posed as an agent and drafted some very professional looking documentation which they have used to con the new occupants. The scammer will have given reasons as to why they are in a hurry and offered a low rental price in order to entice the renter into signing up without realising it is not an official legal document they are signing.
The really evil part to this scam is the fact that there are two victims. Firstly, the landlord now has squatters in their property and, secondly, the tenants have not got a legal tenancy and will almost certainly face eviction.