New expat arrivals urged to beware of Amsterdam property rental scams

Published:  5 Dec at 6 PM
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Expatriates in the Netherlands are being warned about property scams after the arrest for fraud of an estate agent dealing in rental properties.

Owner of the Fam Makelaardij and Accurakey rental housing agents Farhan Malik was arrested last month for defrauding a number of expat workers out of their deposits and advance rents paid to secure rental homes. Legal action against the fraudster is now being taken by the Amsterdam-based housing advice foundation Stiching Woon in order to help the recovery of house-hunting expats’ deposits stolen by Malick.

A employee caught in the fraud had agreed to rent a flat in Amsterdam’s Haarlem district and paid over her deposit as agreed. Just before her planned move from temporary accommodation to her new home, Malick contacted her to say the landlord had decided not to have his property rented out. He promised to return her deposit, but she never heard from her again. In another scam, the fraudster hit on two foreign students who’d had problems finding a letting agent willing to take them on. They were shown an apartment in Amsterdam Noord and agreed to rent it, paying over €3,100 in advance rent and a deposit. As was his modus operandum, Malik disappeared, leaving the students without accommodation or cash.

The scammer was finally arrested when another potential victim requested a second viewing of a property and, realising all was not as it seemed, called the police. After being charged, Malik was allowed to leave prison pending a court hearing, but is said to have disappeared. Appeals are now being sent out for any other expats who believe they’ve been scammed either by Malik or other estate agencies, with a representative from Woon saying all expats are vulnerable due to the city’s overheated real estate market as well as their lack of knowledge about the system.
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