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Old 04.08.2019, 18:40
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is this a scam?

Hi, I'm trying to find a new apartment, I found one but the owner wants me to send the first month rent and 1 month deposit via money order (mandat la poste) before signing the lease. I have no problem with this if he can't get the money without the identification number, or can he? I've never used this service and I'm a bit skeptical.
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Old 04.08.2019, 18:57
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Re: is this a scam?

Smells like scam, a lot.

Deposits should go to a bank account, one in your name, opened by the landlord for the deposit.
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Old 04.08.2019, 19:19
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Re: is this a scam?

I don't mind paying in cash since it's not that much money, but can he cash the money order without me giving him the number?
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Old 04.08.2019, 19:49
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Re: is this a scam?

Have you seen the apartment? And how big/how much?

A money order sounds very, very, very unusual for Switzerland. I would be very cautious.
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Old 04.08.2019, 20:23
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Re: is this a scam?

Yeah, I contacted him to say I'd come to sign with cash in hand, he said to look for another apartment then, bullet dodged I guess.
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Old 04.08.2019, 20:27
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Re: is this a scam?

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I don't mind paying in cash since it's not that much money, but can he cash the money order without me giving him the number?
Let's assume this is not a scam.

You creating a money order but keeping al the info to yourself so only you can cash the money in. He might as well ask for no money at all.
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Old 04.08.2019, 21:53
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Re: is this a scam?

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Hi, I'm trying to find a new apartment, I found one but the owner wants me to send the first month rent and 1 month deposit via money order (mandat la poste) before signing the lease. I have no problem with this if he can't get the money without the identification number, or can he? I've never used this service and I'm a bit skeptical.
I have heard of scams of this nature. Stay away from it
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Old 04.08.2019, 22:05
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Re: is this a scam?

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Hi, I'm trying to find a new apartment, I found one but the owner wants me to send the first month rent and 1 month deposit via money order (mandat la poste) before signing the lease. I have no problem with this if he can't get the money without the identification number, or can he? I've never used this service and I'm a bit skeptical.
Emphasis mine. You never transfer money before the lease is signed, and you shouldn't ever sign a lease without visiting the property and meeting the so-called landlord in person.
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Old 04.08.2019, 22:08
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Re: is this a scam?

Of course it's not a scam. It's air tight. I can't see any way that it could possibly go wrong.

Oh wait. The "owner" isn't, and absconds with the money.

Of course it's a scam.
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Old 04.08.2019, 22:39
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Re: is this a scam?

Having a little time on a Sunday Evening Ive been searching the internet for info about Money Orders.

Funny, I cant find anything to suggest a reference number is needed to cash an order. Its just like a pre-paid cheque, the person named on it should be able to cash it anywhere that provides that service. And if it is blank, well ...

MAD did your supposed landlord tell you this? Part of the scam I guess.
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Old 04.08.2019, 23:09
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Re: is this a scam?

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Yeah, I contacted him to say I'd come to sign with cash in hand, he said to look for another apartment then, bullet dodged I guess.
Good you dodged the bullet..

You should know that things are pretty rigid around here, things work the same way for everybody, like how deposits work.. If you are paying a full deposit, it goes into a special bank account, you never hand somebody cash or screw around with money orders or western union etc.. It simply doesn't happen in the legitimate rental market. No proper landlord/regie will request this.

There are exceptions of course, I went to see a place in St Cergue in February, bizzare setup with mother and son who'd built the place and were trying to rent it out.. Advert was really low price, like 2600 for a 4 bedroom detached house.. Then they tried to convince us that other people were interested, maybe we'd like to bid on the price and negotiate on how the deposit would be paid.. etc etc.. We laughed and walked away.

The place is still advertised..
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Old 04.08.2019, 23:41
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Re: is this a scam?

The standard procedure for renting in Switzerland is:
  1. see the ad
  2. go to view the apartment and the open-house viewing-time specified (usually one or two hours only)
    OR
    apply online to the landlord/agency for a viewing appointment
  3. view the apartment at the time set
  4. submit [confirmation of] your application, with supporting documents
  5. wait (and, if you choose to, write briefly again to confirm your interest)
  6. if you are rejected, you most likely will not even be told, or if at all, most certainly not why
  7. if you are accepted, the contract will be posted to you
  8. sign the contract
  9. you will be told how to pay the deposit so that it lands in a blocked account specially set up for this purpose, in your name ("blocked" in the sense that the money cannot be released without permission from both you and the landlord/agency, after you move out again)
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Old 05.08.2019, 10:51
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Re: is this a scam?

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Hi, I'm trying to find a new apartment, I found one but the owner wants me to send the first month rent and 1 month deposit via money order (mandat la poste) before signing the lease. I have no problem with this if he can't get the money without the identification number, or can he? I've never used this service and I'm a bit skeptical.
Can you post a link to the ad so some of us can have some fun wasting his time? And yes, it's 99.9999% a scam.
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Old 05.08.2019, 12:46
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Re: is this a scam?

Clear case of scam. Money should got to an bank account opened on your name by landlord. Any payment only after signature of lease by both party. Normally rent is paid to a Swiss account only.

Who showed you the apartment BTW?


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Hi, I'm trying to find a new apartment, I found one but the owner wants me to send the first month rent and 1 month deposit via money order (mandat la poste) before signing the lease. I have no problem with this if he can't get the money without the identification number, or can he? I've never used this service and I'm a bit skeptical.
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Old 05.08.2019, 13:43
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Re: is this a scam?

One other point, the deposit is due on signing the contract, but can take a day or two to set up the deposit account and that's fine. However, the rent is only due by the date when taking over the apartment.

Example:
Sign contract in June to take Apartment August 1st
Pay deposit to blocked account
Pay first month's rent to arrive by July 31st (to ensure you get the key etc).
Pay subsequent rents to arrive by end of each month in tiem for the 1st.
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Old 05.08.2019, 16:28
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Re: is this a scam?

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You should know that things are pretty rigid around here, things work the same way for everybody, like how deposits work.. If you are paying a full deposit, it goes into a special bank account, you never hand somebody cash or screw around with money orders or western union etc.. It simply doesn't happen in the legitimate rental market. No proper landlord/regie will request this.

There are exceptions of course.
My two cents: The special rental deposit account (in renters name) is always with a Swiss retail bank.

In case the rental starts within a week after signing the contract some bigger property management companies, in particular Livit, are sometimes, due to internal bureaucracy and incompetence, unable to open an rental deposit account in good time. In this case they might request that deposit to be paid into their or the property owners account. This is still according the law, but management company/property owner must transfer the money ASAP into the proper account. But that should be the exception. A private owner, and virtually all other rental agency are able to open a proper rental deposit account (in renters name) within 1 or 2 days.
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