How to protect yourself from fake student accommodation ads?

As the start of the new academic year approaches, many students are actively looking for accommodation. However, for the past two years, many false advertisements have disturbed the research of students. In one year, reports of fake rental ads jumped 17%. Students are the first targets. Indeed, taking advantage of the housing shortage in many cities, many online scams have emerged. These fake ads are mostly found on peer-to-peer exchange sites.

A difficult rental context for students

Many cities in France are facing a housing shortage. There are no or very few rentals. Demand has greatly exceeded supply and students are increasingly stressed as the start of the new school year approaches.

With few means, young people try to find the most economical ways to find housing. Less aware of the rules in force in terms of housing, students are more easily imposed clauses that are not legal.

In particular, the landlord has the right to ask you for certain documents to check your solvency: pay slips, rent receipts, tax notices, etc. However, he cannot ask you for bank account statements, a criminal record extract legal or medical information. These requests are punishable by law and subject to heavy fines.

Depending on the city, rents can be regulated and must not exceed a certain amount. Find out about this before you search for accommodation.

Protect yourself from false ads

To avoid unpleasant surprises, you have to pay attention to many elements before embarking on the rental.

At first, students must be very careful with the first contacts. We advise never to send payment before the signing of the lease, since only this guarantees the accommodation and commits you. Also, when reviewing the ad, pay close attention to the photos. Indeed, photos of accommodations whose comfort is well beyond the requested rent can put you on the alert. Similarly, a low rent compared to the market is often a sign of a false advertisement. It is therefore important to find out about the prices normally expected for a rental in your search area.

Also, when possible, prefer contact by telephone. Most of the time, fake ads do not provide a phone number, or it will be a fake number.

Finally, never send an urgent money order via La Poste or Western Union, under any pretext.

In addition to fake listings, listing sellers offer listings of homes for sale, making it look like an exclusive. But this practice is completely illegal and you do not need it. A simple internet search will get you the same results.

It is therefore important to find out well in advance, about the search sector and the rents charged, but also about the practices and laws in force. In addition, remember never to pay money before signing the lease. If in doubt, each student can report a scam on Pharos, the official platform for reporting illegal content on the internet.