Q: I’ve seen a new property advertised which I’d like to rent and am thinking about putting a holding deposit down. However, the rent is really cheap - should I be worried it’s a scam?

A: You’re right to be cautious if the rent is a lot cheaper than the market rate. Don’t pay a deposit before you view the property and look at your tenancy agreement.

If the landlord refuses to let you view, beware. Even if you have seen the property, check your tenancy agreement for the name and address of the landlord, along with their contact details. If you cannot get a contract and landlord details, do not pay a deposit.

Also check if the landlord is a member of a professional association or accredited by the local council. Membership isn’t compulsory, but it will mean they are legitimate and will operate to a minimum standard.

Trust your instincts and if in any doubt, don’t part with your money.

For further help on identifying possible scams contact your local Citizens Advice, or call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing, employment or any other problems. We have various outlets across South Lakeland and can also give advice over the phone – telephone 03444 111 444 for an appointment and help, 015394 46464 for debt and on-going enquiries. Please note the opening hours at Windermere have been reduced, but contact details remain the same.