How do I protect myself from accommodation scams?

When searching for accommodation, use websites that come recommended by your university, workplace or trusted friends and acquaintances.

Be wary of websites that do not seem legitimate or properties that sound too good to be true. Be extra careful of properties that:  

  • Are advertised significantly cheaper than other similar properties in the same area.
  • Cannot be viewed before signing a contract or viewing is continually delayed
  • Require an upfront fee to secure the property

For more information on accommodation scams, see the Australian Government ScamWatch website here.

If you find somewhere you like, you should

  • always view the property before entering into an agreement, and
  • ensure any agreement is in writing.

If you cannot view the property, see if you can find a friend or family member to go on your behalf and take some photos if possible. You may wish to do an internet search on the name of the person advertising the property.

Don’t hand over any money or personal information (e.g. passports or identification) before you are sure of the situation and when you do make sure you get a receipt or make a bank transfer.

If you are responding to a shared accommodation advert you should meet the housemate/s personally and confirm that the landlord has given permission for you to be living there. 

Reviewed: 3/12/13



Tenants’ Union ACT publishes this website as a free service to the public. Please note that the information on this site is only relevant to renters in the ACT.

This website provides information about the law designed to help users understand their legal rights and obligations. However legal information is not the same as legal advice (the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances). Although we make all efforts to ensure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult the Tenants Advice Service for advice specific to your circumstances. You are also free to consult an independent solicitor for a second opinion.

Please note that this website is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice or opinions and the transmission of this information is NOT intended to create a solicitor-client relationship between the Tenants’ Union ACT and members of the public.

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