Safety tips for flat hunters

We often get calls from users asking about security when using FindaFlat. As with any form of online dealing, it's always important to be careful when renting or letting a property. Here are some of the most regularly asked questions and our advice on how to stay safe.

Do you pre check advertisers?

FindaFlat is a classified listings website rather than a letting agency. We provide an advertising space which allows users to quickly place and view adverts and it would not be practical or user-friendly to reference check every advertiser on the site. We do, however, take the safety of our users very seriously and take various measures to prevent any scammers from advertising on the site or contacting other users. Please read on for details of what we do to protect you and how you can further protect yourself.

What we do to protect you

We have systems in place (both manual and automated) which pick up on the majority of attempted scams, preventing scammers from sending messages or placing adverts. This level of protection requires considerable time and money to maintain, FindaFlat devotes a considerable amount of staff hours and financial investment to protect users in this way.

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 and warn other users of their activities.

Only registered users are able to contact you through FindaFlat, making them subject to our various checks.

What you can do to keep yourself (and your money) safe

Be vigilant and use your common sense, if something seems too good to be true it usually is! You should exercise particular 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 property 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 flats 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 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 the landlord 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. Tell them that you will call around that time and, if you have not called, ask that they give you 5 minutes and then call you. As we say, 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 property we advise you speak to the advertiser on the phone and NEVER pay by Western Union. If possible pay by a reputable Escrow service.
  • Finally....

    Don't be scared. By exercising a little caution you will vastly reduce the risk of anything untoward happening to you. The vast majority of FindaFlat transactions are safe and secure because we invest time, money and staff hours into making sure they are. Good luck finding a property!

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