Bogus communal maintenance fees are swindling new renters out of money.
Rachel Watson, Graphic Design student from Edinburgh, was duped into giving a man money for what she thought was a fee to maintain the stairwell of her building. On contacting her letting agent to ask how often these payments would be made, Watson was told this was not a legitimate service and not to part with any more money.
As a new tenant within the building, Watson had no reason to doubt the fee and felt pressured by the mans presence at her door.
Watson said: “I’m shocked. He seemed like a polite, elderly gentleman. It’s not the money that’s bothering me, it’s the principle of the matter. It sounded like a legitimate reason.”
Similar scams have been reported to a letting agent in Tollcross since the beginning of term. June McCain of Capital Lettings has expressed her concern for students in the area. She said: “Scammers tend to target student filled areas as they know the tenants change frequently. A similar thing was reported in our flats in Marchmont just last month. Everything from window cleaning to cutting the communal green should be discussed with your landlord or letting agent before signing a tenancy agreement to help avoid these situations.”
Helen Crocker, Manager of Napier Student Accommodation gives the following advice to ensure Napier students are aware of the dangers. She said: “The general rule for anyone is – do not let any stranger into your flat, ask for proof of identity, do not give them any money or sign anything until you have checked everything out. If they are genuine they will not mind you doing this and will come back at a time convenient to you both to discuss further. ”