Tenants who found a property on Gumtree and were scammed by a fake landlord have warned others to use agents.
Sam Burton and her partner found the property a year ago, signed a tenancy agreement and handed over a £1,195 deposit.
This was despite their disquiet over the landlord’s behaviour and the fact that there were CCTV cameras in each room.
Two days before the couple and their three children were due to move in to the Hertfordshire property, the landlord cancelled the agreement.
The couple were told their money was in a deposit scheme and would be returned. After a year, this has still not happened.
When the couple looked on Gumtree again, they found the same man advertising the same house.
Miss Burton has since found out that another family were conned out of £2,000 by the same man, and that it seems he does not own the property.
Miss Burton has been told by police that it is a civil matter and that she should report it to Action Fraud.
She said: “It seems he can’t be stopped or checked.
“I’ve always rented through estate agents before but I knew people who had done it privately and it worked out well. I will always use estate agents in future.”
It seems to us the case also raises ongoing concerns that theft and fraud so often seem to be regarded as civil matters by police and nothing to do with them.