Sometimes properties look good from outside but we get surprises and trapped by estate agents.
But one couple from Bridgend, Wales, got a real shock after they handed over £800 ($1,021) to rent a property owned by a 99-year-old man.
Amy Da Cruz and Matthew Morgan were looking for a rented house to live together nearer to where they work, so Amy’s mum posted an advert on Gumtree. Earlier this month, someone contacted Amy’s mum and said they had a property that would suit her daughter and Matthew.
The couple got trapped by an anonymous landlord via WhatsApp, where they were sent pictures of the property, which featured large bedrooms, a driveway, a big kitchen, and a garden.
But before visiting the property for real, the landlord asked to pay a security deposit to prove they could afford it, which was the advice of his lawyer.
Amy, a 22-year-old driver, said: “We wanted the house. So we paid £300 ($383) in two payments on the understanding that we would get the money back if we didn’t like the house.”
On the day of visiting the property, the landlord asked for £500 ($638) more to cover the first month’s rent.
Amy added: “All of the emails and texts mentioned his solicitor and we had seen a copy of the tenancy agreement, so we had no reason to believe that something wasn’t right.”
After sending over the additional funds, the couple reached the property. But they weren’t met by the landlord, they were met by 99-year-old a bewildered Frank Ballinger. The owner of the property was shocked himself after knowing why his house had been placed on the rental market.
Amy said: “I was so annoyed. I emailed the landlord straight away asking what was going on. They emailed back saying that they had injured their foot and that they would meet us the next day. We knew something was up. I asked for the money back, but have not heard from them since.”
The bank has told the couple they couldn’t return their money as they transferred the money willingly.
Amy said: “We will never do something like this again. From now on we will only go through property management companies and never give money over before. We had our heart set on this place, we thought this would be our family home.”
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