As student tenants look to secure accommodation ahead of the return to college, the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) says it has been made aware of a number of bogus letting agents who are trying to con prospective tenants.
Following last week’s story in the Limerick Post about a rental scam hitting the city, the regulatory body has said that a number of cases have come to light where bogus agents appear in the main to operate online and are purporting to use a PSRA licence number.
Gardaí last week revealed that a woman was duped out of €1,000 deposit through a fraudulent scam offering an apartment to rent that didn’t exist.
A spokesperson for the PSRA said that all letting agents, auctioneers, estate agents and management agents operating in the Republic of Ireland must hold a PSRA licence to provide a property service.
“The individual licence is a credit card size licence which has the licensee name, photographic identification and a unique 12 digit PSRA licence number.
“When using a property service provider, it is advisable to ask the property service provider to show you their licence which they are obliged to have available for inspection.
Details of all licensed agents are published on a public register where prospective clients can check the validity of a licence.
The register can be found on www.psr.ie and displays both the licensee name and licence number. It is important to check that both the name and number of the agent correspond with the details displayed on the register.
PSRA chief executive Maeve Hogan said that “the month of August is a time when students are starting or returning to college or university and a higher number of lettings take place. Students seeking to rent accommodation are strongly advised to exercise vigilance to ensure they do not fall foul of bogus letting agents and are not using an unlicensed operator.”
“Unlicensed letting agents, auctioneers, estate agents and management agents are breaking the law and do not provide any consumer protection.
She said that anyone aware of unlicensed operators should contact the PSRA at [email protected]
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