Last week we talked about how websites dedicated to searching for housing are often confusing and not user-friendly. Another issue with them is that frequently they offer little to no pictures of properties.
Take me for example. I was applying for housing 3 months before I even knew if I would get accepted – which means I had no idea how the city looks, what are the neighbourhoods, or how the public transport works. The only thing I knew for sure is that I had guaranteed housing from my university, and I had to apply through this website they gave me. The fact that they were the ones who provided the website was the only reason I believed it was not a scam.
First of all, the website was super difficult to navigate, and the only information provided about the apartments was the approximate location, distance to the university, floor plan, and rent – no pictures at all. When I tried to google the location, it showed general pictures of the neighborhood and the buildings. When I tried to search for dorms specific to my university, the only pictures I could find were of a really fancy, newly built building. Of course, me being the gullible 18-year-old that I was, I immediately believed this was where I was going to be living. Needless to say, I was in for a not-so-lovely surprise when I came to Denmark. My apartment was in a really bad neighborhood, in an old building and an extremely dirty apartment.
At that moment, I thought it was just me who was so stupid and could not find proper pictures, but it turns out this has happened to many people. International students (especially those who do not have guaranteed housing) will go to many different websites and find no pictures of properties. If they contact the landlords, in most cases they take ages to respond or don’t respond at all. And this is a perfect getaway for students to turn to Facebook to find housing – a match made in heaven for scamming.