DANGER - Scammer posing as landlord renting your apartment to tenants
We recently a booking from a guest who booked to stay in one of my apartments in North London. He then met with prospective tenants, pretending to be the landlord. He managed to get someone to pay him £1000 in cash to rent my apartment. The person who rented the apartment was luckily out of the apartment when my cleaner came to clean and he also left a contract for the tenancy in the apartment. She noticed it and alerted me. We immediately changed the locks and when the tenant came back we informed him that he had been scammed and that he has no right to the property.
We were very lucky to have spotted this immediately.
I am aware of someone else who this has happened to and he was not so lucky. The tenants have realised that they were scammed and they have changed the locks to avoid losing the property. I'm not sure how he is handling this situation but I know it had been complicated by the fact that the female fake tenant is pregnant so it becomes even more problematic to get these people out.
My question is had this happened to anyone else, and what can be done to avoid this situation?
Also we spoke to the National Crime Agency and were told that Booking.com has some responsibility in this matter. What do you think Booking.com should do to ensure such serious crime against partners don't happen and what should they do in a situation where such a crime had taken place and the partner is stuck with fake tenants that they cannot evict.