The CEO of the Property Services Regulatory Authority, Maeve Hogan, is advising students and their families to only rent accommodation from registered letting agents and agencies.
Anyone seeking accommodation from a letting agent should ask to see their property service provider’s licence and note their licence number before paying any deposit or rent.
“If things go wrong there is a compensation fund that is sector funded,” Ms Hogan told RTÉ radio’s Today with Miriam O’Callaghan.
All property service 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, she said.
Licensed property service providers are regulated by the PSRA, ensuring that the consumer is protected.
The individual licence is a credit card size licence, which contains the licensee name, photographic identification and a unique 6 or 12 digit PSRA licence number, always beginning with a double zero.
Ms Hogan warned that reports to the PSRA regarding bogus letting agents increase at this time of year as new bogus agents appear, targeting the large number of students seeking accommodation.
These bogus agents often advertise accommodation online attempting to extract financial payments from prospective tenants. In some instances, these bogus agents will claim to have a valid PSRA licence number.
Potential renters should ask to see the property service provider’s licence and note the licence number.
This number can then be checked on the PSRA Register of Licensed Property Services Providers to ensure that the licence is not only valid and up to date, but that the provider’s details match those on the Register. The Register can be found on the PSRA’s website, www.psr.ie.