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PLEASE HELP!! Estate agency scam?

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    Please please please can someone help with my situation!

    The other day on zoopla me and my flat mate saw a nice flat, booked a viewing, then made an offer and put down a holding deposit.

    When we were emailed the tenancy and guarantor forms we were rather suspicious because the forms only required very basic details such as name, dob, occupation and address. They didn't ask for information such as references from either employers or previous places we had lived.

    Although they told us some suspicious things in the first place we had just been naive from finally finding a flat after months of looking.

    The suspicious things were:
    - Instead of an offer form of any kind, we were just to text the one man we met and interacted with to make the offer,
    - He also clarified that we would have to go through credit checks (whereas every other agency had told me it was our guarantors who had to go through the credit checks),
    - Lastly, he said he required the last 3 months of our bank statements.

    It seemed as though he was from a small company which is why we initially though they had a different process to other established agencies.

    The company on zoopla was called 'Upad'. Contacting them gave me the number of the man who we interacted with. I've looked into this company and from everything I've read about them, they merely seem like a legitimate go-between lettings agency.

    The man in question though claims to be from 'London City Properties'. We sent our deposits to this company name and he has an email address connected to this name as well. However, his emails lack the professional logos and information that is usually at the end of all professional emails; all he signs off with is his name and phone number.

    After digging a bit further, putting his phone number, email address, and bank details into google, I barely got any results. The email address led me to a completely different 'london city properties' which was a construction company. The I put the name into the government companies checker https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ and on this the first result is a company that was dissolved in 2011. He is also listed as one of the officers for this company.

    Now we are completely uncertain as to what we do about this situation.

    The fact that he did have access to the property and we genuinely met the man and saw the property makes me feel like I could just be feeling paranoid.

    However some of my friends tell me the bank statement requirement is intrusive. Others say that he is trading under a dissolved company which is illegal.

    What do I do? Is there a number I can contact? Has anyone heard of this company before? Am I being paranoid or is this company illegitimate and illegal?

    PLEASE PLEASE HELP! Any advice will do! Please I'm just so genuinely scared right now and we know we should have seen the signs earlier but I don't know what to do.

    For the moment I would contact Shelter or CAB.

    Are you students?

    How much money have you handed over in weeks rent ?

    Dont they have any offices?

    As far as I can see you want to know whether you should deal with them? Thats your call. You really need to eb talking to the LL.
    Alternatively ask for your money back, although he will resist you cna say you ahve talked to trading standards.
    You should also talk to Zoopla if you have a bad experience.
    Maybe in any meetings you cna take a friend who is able to stand up to any nonsesne.

    They may be ok or they may not be..

    One other suggestion is you cna try trading standards or maybe someone like ARLA who are one of the professional bodies. they will probably say no, but you cna ask them questions about whether the checks they wnat are reasonable.

    ARLA 01926 417 791

    http://www.arla.co.uk/contact-us/ Shelter's free housing advice helpline on:
    0808 800 4444Housing advice helpline Key advice
    • Your call may take 10 to 20 minutes so set aside some time
    • Try to organise a quiet place where you can talk
    • Our helplines do get busy but keep trying if you can’t get through
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