Fake owner: Students fleeced of thousandsFlat rental scam

2011-07-08 00:00

TWO university students were fleeced of R4 500 by a con artist who pretended to be renting out a property in Scottsville.

The students, who declined to be named, said they phoned the woman’s cellphone in response to an advert in The Witness on June 30, for a vacant flat.

She instructed them, by means of SMS, where to find the keys to view flat number 25 in Birkett Court, Scottsville.

The flat is being rented out by ReMax Property. To view the flat, the students said they had to emulate an Easter egg hunt.

Five different keys were placed inside and outside the Birkett Court property for the students to access and view the flat.

The key to the main gate was placed in a pipe next to the driveway, said the students.

Inside, they had to take another key, which was on top of the postboxes, to be able to open the front door of the block of flats.

Inside the building, they had to find other keys, and eventually they gained entry to the flat.

They contacted the woman, and one of the students faxed a copy of his ID and bank statements on her request to secure the flat.

The woman requested a deposit and the first month’s rent of R5 795, and the students deposited R4 500 last Thursday, and assured her they would deposit the balance the next day.

The money was deposited at First National Bank into an Andile Khanyile’s bank account, although they had been in contact with a white woman, they said.

On Wednesday, as the students were moving in, the flat owners, who had been informed by ReMax that the property company had not yet placed a tenant in the flat, were shocked to see the two unpacking.

Upon discovering that they had been conned, the students went to the Alexandra Road police station to report their ordeal and were advised to seek legal advice.

They told The Witness that “we have learnt our lesson and we will not be falling into such a scam again”.

The flat owners, who did not want to be named, sympathised with the students and have allowed them to move into the flat.

“We will let them stay, through ReMax, and they can pay the rent at the end of the month and they can pay the deposits over a couple of months,” said one of the owners.

Rental department manager at ReMax, Sharryn Middleton confirmed that an agreement has been reached between the students and the owners.

Middleton said that once the credit check is done, if the students qualify, they will move in.

She said that all other property agencies in the city were alerted about the scam.

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