Woman found dream home on Facebook but it was a lie

Ashleigh Connor was scammed by a fake landlord
Ashleigh Connor was scammed by a fake landlord -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A woman claims she's been scammed out of hundreds of pounds by a 'fake landlord' who pretended to rent her a home in West Kirby.

Ashleigh Connor, 28, from Greasby, was excited to move into the house she found on Facebook. However, Ashleigh quickly realised her dream new house had all been an evil scam by a 'fake landlord' who stole £850 from her.

The 28-year-old now back living with her parents and brother in a two-bed bungalow. She says the scam had put added strain on her mental health.

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Ashleigh said she spent hours scouring Facebook for a new home before finding the landlord's page. The property being advertised was within Ashleigh's budget and, she says, was her dream home. She told the ECHO: "I was back and forth talking with him, he gave me all the details, he said what size the property was, discussed budget and asked who I would be living with.

"I'd be living on my own and had a budget of £500 per month. He said that was fine and the rent would be £500 which was in my budget and that I would need to pay a £300 deposit plus admin fee. I sent him all the details and he said I qualified for everything and accepted me for the property. He even sent me a lease agreement, it all seemed genuine."

Ashleigh sent him the deposit and admin fee for the property, which totalled £350, which she says is not out of the ordinary for renting a home. She said: "He told me everything was OK and gave me a move in date of April 16 and that he would meet me at the property to give me the keys.

"Then on Friday [April 12] he messaged me saying he would need one month's rent up front before I got the keys. I had to borrow it off my mum because I didn't have it in my bank early. I sent him £500 by bank transfer." Again, Ashleigh says this didn't raise any suspicions as it was quite a normal process when renting a property from a landlord.

He asked her to pay two months rent up front
He asked her to pay two months rent up front -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Ashleigh claims it was after she sent the rent money things took a turn.

She continued: "Then it started going weird after I sent the £500 rent. The next message I had from him he said he wanted another £500 from me, asking for another month up front, that would have been two months rent I would have paid him.

"I said no and he said 'I will speak to my attorney,' which made me start thinking because that's an American thing to say. I started talking to my sister about it, who lives in Banbury, and she found the exact property on Zoopla, and it was already let agreed. We spoke to the agent and they said they had never heard of this landlord.

"He told me 'I'm not a scammer' but it didn't seem right. He told me not to worry and he will speak to Zoopla. I believed him because I was so desperate to move because I have been living with my parents and my dads in a hospital bed so they [Ashleigh's mum and dad] can't share a bedroom, my brother is also living here. We're all cramped in a two bed bungalow. There is not enough room for everyone."

After the 'landlord' had asked for another month's rent Ashleigh claims she told him she could no longer afford to rent the property and asked for her money back. She told ECHO: "He then said 'I need another £100 for a cancellation fee.' There was nothing about a cancellation fee in the contract.

"I just want my £850 back and be done with it. He refused to send me the money. I've had to contact the bank. Luckily the bank are going to retrieve the money and I am stuck without a property."

Ashleigh already suffers with mental health and claims the worry of having nowhere to live is adding more strain. She added: "I have anxiety and depression as well so I am quite stressed. This has just ruined my sense of trust in a person.

"I just thought it was someone being nice and trying to help someone out, but not everyone has a good side and he has changed my perspective. I don't want this to happen to someone else. I have my family around me so I'm quite lucky but the next person might not be so lucky to have this support around them."

Liverpool Echo have approached the landlord for comment.

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