Any international student knows how important it is to secure a place to stay. Unfortunately, fraudsters are aware of it too and do not shy away from capitalizing on it.
A report, published in The Guardian in 2018, detailed the problems that international students faced. Affordable student housing does not match the spike in the number of international students. These students, thus, have to face exploitative, insecure, and sometimes, unlawful living arrangements.
Here are the top 4 things that you should know about housing scams in Australia:
The most common modus operandi is to post a harmless looking advertisement on social media or a housing forum. The advertisement will look pretty legitimate with photographs and address on it. The “Agent” or the “Landlord” will then ask you to deposit money to book the property. However, they will ask you to deposit the money in a non-Australian Bank. They may even ask you to mail a cheque at an address outside of Australia.
However, once you do so, the keys to the property would never arrive as the advertisement was fake. Many international students fall prey to such scams and lose their money every year.
If the rent is extremely cheap or if the Agent or Landlord does not let you inspect the property; those are warning signs.
A common scam is when international students move into a property and within days they are told that there is a defect with the property. These students are then moved to a much inferior property but with the same rent. Students are told to comply with the same or lose their bond.
Universities in Australia, like Melbourne University, allows you to contact them if you are suspicious about housing transactions. You should bring all your documents for the interaction. This should include screenshots of any communication or negotiations that happened online.
If you do fall prey to a scam, immediately inform the Police or your University. You should also alert your friends and social circle. You may not be able to get your money back but you can save another student from falling prey.
Y-Axis offers a wide range of visa and immigration services as well as products to overseas immigrants including Australia Evaluation, Visit Visa for Australia, Study Visa for Australia, Work Visa for Australia and Business Visa for Australia.
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