How to Find a Flatmate Safely

Are you considering listing a room online? that's a great idea! It's a convenient way to find potential renters. However, as with anything online, it's important to stay safe and be aware of potential scams. So we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to stay safe online: 

Advertising Your Room Online

  • When listing your property, try to mention the general location (e.g. your street name and city) and avoid giving out the exact address (i.e. your house number). This is to protect your privacy and that of your current flatmates. Once you've had a chance to get to know a potential flatmate and feel comfortable with them, you can then share your exact location.
  • If you’re taking pictures of your home, avoid capturing any personal belongings or items that might indicate your wealth. It’s also a good idea to remove any mail or photos that might reveal your personal details. 

Messaging Potential Flatmates

  • Stick to Roomgo when messaging other users. It's the safest and most reliable way to communicate with others until you’re sure you can trust them.
  • If you come across someone who seems to be in a rush to move in without actually seeing the place, or if they insist on paying in cash without a proper agreement, it's always better to be cautious. 
  • If you're not sure about something, watch out for answers that aren't clear or don't match up. You can always look up information quickly on Google or LinkedIn if you need to. Or, if you prefer, you can contact us and we'll tell you what to do next.
  • If you see pictures on an advert that look like pictures from other online ads or look like stock images, it's important to be careful. To confirm that the pictures are real, you can try using reverse image search tools like Google Images. These tools can help you check if the pictures have been used on other websites.
  • While most people who are looking from abroad are genuine, some scammers also pretend to be travelling or moving from another country to create a false sense of urgency. They might also use this tactic to delay payments.
  • Keep a record of your messages. You never know when you might need to refer back to them or use them as proof of a conversation. Remember, If a conversation makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason, trust your gut and proceed with caution.

Safety at Viewings

  • If possible, meet in a public place first before inviting them to your home. This way, you can get to know each other in a neutral setting before taking the next step. And if you're not quite ready to meet in person yet, a video call is another great way to chat and get to know each other. 
  • When it’s time to show the property, try to schedule viewings during daylight hours. Pick a time when your flatmates are home or invite a friend over to keep you company and ensure your safety. 
  • If you're planning to show a room on your property, make sure to secure any valuables or personal items that could be easily stolen. Also, try not to leave any sensitive documents lying around as they could be used for ID fraud. 

Before Renting out Your Property

  • After you've agreed to move forward, put everything in writing, even if it's just a quick email summarising what was discussed. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and provide a record of what was discussed. 
  • Remember to ask your potential flatmate for permission before conducting reference and background checks. Contact their previous landlords, employers, or other references to ensure they are trustworthy and dependable.
  • Create and sign a written rental agreement that outlines all the important details, such as the rent amount, security deposit, and other terms and conditions. 
  • When renting a room, it's important to only accept deposits and rent through safe methods, like electronic transfer, after the tenancy agreement is signed. Avoid accepting cash or cheques. Scammers often send a cheque for more than the cost of the room, and then ask for the difference to be returned. By the time the cheque bounces, the scammer has the returned funds, and you're left responsible for the full amount.

What We Do to Protect You

We take great care to ensure that all the ads on our website are genuine and safe for our users. Our team works 7 days a week to review each listing using a mix of manual and automated flagging systems. We've been doing this for over 20 years, so you can rest assured that we've become experts at catching potential scammers. 

However, there are times when something might slip through the cracks. When this happens, we’re usually notified by our users and take immediate action to remove any offending content.

If you ever come across something that seems unusual or suspicious, please use the “Flag this ad” link under every Roomgo ad to report it. If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to contact us. Our team is friendly and always ready to help. 

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