Don't get scammed!
Unfortunately, there are people who try to make quick money of homeless students. During the fall semester, you might come across fake ads in newspapers and on the web. If you advertise that you are looking for accommodation, you risk being contacted by unscrupulous suppliers. These people try to rent out apartments that do not exist or that they themselves do not have access to. But what do you do if you are in desperate need of an apartment and feel a little unsure whether the landlord who has just offered a contract is reputable?
Look at the apartment
This is important in order not to be cheated out of the deposit. If you can't look at the apartment yourself, can you ask a friend or relative to look at it for you? You or your friend will also be able to judge the person showing the apartment. Even if you might not have the possibility to come and look at it beforehand (or send a friend) do ask to come see it anyways to see how the landlord reacts. If he or she comes up with a lot of excuses as to why it isn't possible, you should definetly pass on the offer.
Trust your gut instinct
Does the person showing you the apartment feel too strange or creepy? Then dare to turn down the apartment. There will be other offers.
Require to get everything in writing
The lease agreement should, of course, always be in writing. For help to get everything as it should be in the contract, you can download templates from our website. You are entitled to receive written invoices and payment receipts even if the landlord is a private person. Always watch out for landlords who refuse!
Contact the municipality, Hyresgästföreningen or KOMBO if you are unsure
Sometimes they have "black lists" of notorious landlords who have received many complaints, or who have even been convicted at the rent tribunal.
If you still hesitate, perform a credit check. You should not sign a contract with a landlord who feels suspicious, has received criticism from former tenants and who has large debts. Just remember that credit check is not secret – anyone subject to a credit check will receive a notification when the credit check is done.
It can be difficult to find the right apartment in the housing jungle, and unfortunately there are some bad guys out there. The ads and offers might look very legitimate, even with pictures from inside the apartment, but do not be fooled! It can be tricky to see through a scam but there are some signs that you can look for.
The landlord tries to stress you into an agreement
Scammers usually use a technique where they try to stress you into taking an accommodation. They might tell you that there are many people interested in the room/apartment but that you can get it if you answer quickly. They leave you with little to no room to consider the offer. As a newly admitted student worried about your housing situation it is very easy to fall for the sense of urgency they create. Please don't fall for this, remember that a serious landlord shouldn't be in such a hurry to rent out that they won't give you any time to consider the offer before accepting. Around the fall semester when there are a lot of new students looking for housing no serious landlord will have any trouble finding suitable tenants. Therefore, there is no reason for them being in such a hurry.
They don't ask for references or income
A serious landlord cares about who they rent out to, your capacity to pay the rent being the most basic one. They will therefore likely ask for some kind of proof that you have a steady income, like a job, student loans or a parent who can act as bondsman. A scammer, on the other hand, will be very keen on getting you to pay one deposit or first rent but don't care to make sure you will be able to pay the rent after this is done. A serious landlord might also want references on how you are as a tenant, though it is not a simportant as the rent issue.
It's in the deposit, often to be paid before you get to see the apartment, that the advertiser earns their money. If the deposit is high in relation to the rent, or if they want several monthly rents as deposit, be suspicious. The same applies if the advertiser wants you to pay before you can see the apartment. A deal with a deposit is not necessarily a scam, but be sure to check the apartment before you pay!
The recipient of the deposit is not situated in Sweden
For most of the scams we encountered the deposit is to be paid to an account in some other country than Sweden, usually the UK. The scammer might for example claim that he or she has inherited an apartment in Sweden but lives in UK or that the deposit is to be paid to a parent, cousin or grandparent who lives abroad. Please be aware that for almost all legitimate offers the landlord is situated in Sweden and have a swedish bank account.
Deposit or rent to be paid through Western Union or Moneygram transfer
It's very common for scammers to request the deposit or first rent to be paid through Western Union or Moneygram transfer.
The landlord asks you to send a copy of your passport or ID
This does not necessarily mean you're being scammed but think through the situation carefully before you send copies of your identification documents. If it's a fraud, the scammer can then use your name and the copy of your passport/ID when contacting the next victim. At worst, you may also be subject to identity theft.
Different ads for different apartments, written by the same person, or by different people with the same contact details
Google the name, email address or phone number in the ad and words like "apartment" or "lägenhet" to see if the person is trying to let out apartments in other cities as well.
The ads might be written in both Swedish and English, but are often directed at an audience that may find it difficult to call their bluff. For example, exchange students with no experience of Swedish rental procedures or young students in cities with severe housing shortage, such as Stockholm and Gothenburg. But Linköping and Norrköping are by no means spared, so be careful.
If you suspect that an offer is a scam, or if you’re unsure if a potential landlord is legitimate, you're always welcome to contact us at KOMBO!
"The apartment is close to the university..."
While an ad saying this is not a guarantee that a scam is in the works, it is definately a reason to be vary. The reason is that there is not just one campus in Linköping which a scammer not familiar with Linköping might not know.
Scams and aliases
Websites and aliases involved in scamming students. Please, do not accept any offers from these websites or aliases. The accommodations they offer do not exist. Click on these links to see examples of scam contracts 1 and 2 and scam conversations. It is not unusual for scammers to use the name of actual people which they might have found in for example the phone book or passports from previous victims.
http://kombobostadkarservice.com/bostad.karservice.se/housing-applicants/beware/fake-ads/trustwebsites.html This is a fake website that claims to be KOMBO. Please do not trust the information you find here, our website will be found at bostad.karservice.se.
Katelyn Majorie Areington
Elina M. Hansson
Julia I Pinto
Thelen Jasmin Maria
Charlotte m. Ehrnborg