As the start of the college year approaches, the search for student accommodation will be a high priority for many students. For those students engaging with a letting agent in their search for accommodation, it is important that they ensure that the agent is licensed by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA). The PSRA advises students to be aware of the risk of bogus letting agents attempting to extract financial payments from prospective tenants. In some instances, these bogus agents may claim to have a valid PSRA licence number.
All Property Services Providers (Letting Agents, Auctioneers, Estate Agents and Management Agents) operating in the Republic of Ireland must hold a PSRA licence to provide a property service. Licensed Property Services Providers are regulated by the PSRA, ensuring that the consumer is protected.
When engaging with a Property Service Provider in their search for accommodation, students should ask to see the Property Service Provider’s licence and note the details, in particular the licence number. The individual licence is a credit card sized licence, which contains the licensee name, photographic identification and a unique 6 or 12 digit PSRA licence number, always beginning with a double zero. This licence number can be checked on the PSRA Register of Licensed Property Services Providers to ensure that the licence is not only valid and in date, but that the provider’s details match those on the Register.
The PSRA has previously received reports of fake letting agents targeting students at this time of year. Such bogus agents often set up online and may purport to hold a PSRA licence. The CEO of the PSRA, Ms Maeve Hogan notes that “Students starting and returning to college need to be vigilant of bogus letting agents when searching for accommodation. A key action that students should take to help safeguard themselves against rental scams is to check that the letting agent they are using is licensed. Using a licensed agent provides consumer protection and if something does go wrong, a client may be entitled to compensation from the PSRA compensation fund.”
If you are in any doubt as to whether a letting agent is licensed, you can contact the PSRA on 046 9033800 or [email protected]
Unlicensed Letting Agents, Auctioneers, Estate Agents and Management Agents are breaking the law and do not provide any consumer protection. Anyone aware of unlicensed operators is urged to contact the PSRA at [email protected]