An international student who bought an old car to live in because she couldn’t find accommodation in Dublin has now been duped into €600 rental fraud.

The woman is currently couch surfing at the home of an acquaintance but had recently signed a contract for a bunk bed in a flat in Dublin from May 31 to February 2023, and posted a deposit of €600.

The rent was to be 600 € per month, as indicated in the contract, seen by the Irish Examiner.

However, the Brazilian woman, who moved to Ireland over a month ago to learn English, says the landlord has now demanded an extra €600 – and will not allow her to move into the flat unless that she does not pay.

She tried to get her bail back but was unsuccessful.

She said she responded to a social media ad that featured photos of the property. She paid a deposit of €600 for the accommodation without seeing it and received a receipt.

She reported the incident to gardaí on Friday and plans to report to the Residential Tenancies Commission.

nowhere to live

She recently bought an old car for €800 because she couldn’t find anywhere else to live – before being offered a sofa at an acquaintance’s until May 31.

The woman says she does not want to be named because she is “ashamed” of the situation she found herself in after moving to Ireland to learn English.

She said: “I feel so sick of my life here. I’m here alone and I don’t have that money to give.

She added that she had a successful life in Brazil, where she had a cosmetics franchise, but decided to come to Ireland to learn English. She planned to stay here for up to two years.

But she said: “I am now very afraid of my current situation.”

sleep in the streets

This week the Irish Examiner highlighted the fact that an increasing number of international students coming to Ireland to learn English end up
sleeping on the streets and couchsurfing because of difficulties in finding accommodation.

A student who searched for properties on rental websites and social media apps said she was inundated with social media scams.

Another said he was lucky not to be scammed after he too was targeted by several offers of what he believed to be rental scams.

Housing agency Threshold warns people to be wary of any rental offers that seem too good to be true, even on legitimate rental housing platforms.

The agency said further research is needed if the rent appears to be a good deal.

He advises :

  • Check if the rental is registered with the Residential Rentals Board (RTB);
  • Never agree to rent a property through a website or social media; you must visit the property and ensure that it is a genuine rental; you must be satisfied with the property and the terms and conditions of the rental;
  • Remember that scammers often copy photos, addresses, and other information from various rental listings and then use that information to create a fake listing.
  • Never hand over cash, as cash cannot be found and can be used immediately;
  • Never transfer funds through Western Union, Moneybookers or other electronic money transfer services to anyone claiming to be the agent or owner of a potential property. It is advisable to use an ESCROW account where possible to ensure funds are not released until you are certain it is a legitimate transaction.