There is a rise in the number of people looking for houses to rent or buy in Kampala everyday. To be at heads with this sudden increase, there needs to be an equal increase in the number of house brokers.
This has caused a rise in fake and scam brokers whom everyone should look out for. These tricks look so real and have left so many house seekers cying.
At Celebrity Sqoop, we did an experiment on a one Nsubuga Ronne as on Facebook who has posed as a broker stealing people of their money.
Nsubuga Ronne as he goes by his Facebook name posts on a daily basis nice cheap houses for rent on his social media pages. The houses are so cheap and nice looking. For example, a double self contained room at Ntinda goes for as low as UGX 150,000 which is a very rare case.
How it all went.
We called Ronne for a one house advertised at 150k per month. According to the specifications, the house is self contained with a kitchen, bathroom and toilet inside. It is a single roomed house located at Ntinda town near the main road.
We agreed to meet and check on the room the following morning. On reaching at the designated meeting point , we called him and he said he was busy with other people showing them another house somewhere and promised to send us his colleague to work with us. This is the first trick they use to disguise their identity. He actually is the one who comes but changes and uses another number to disguise as another person.
On meeting him, he asks for almost 70% of broker fee before he begins to show you the houses. I believe this money is to work as security so that he doesn’t make a loss in case you don’t like the houses. If you don’t give him the money he asks for, he doesn’t show you anything. They use this trick because they know you are desperate for a room at such a fair price and you can’t refuse to pay. On paying, he calls his two boda guys who disguise as if they don’t know each other. This is another trick because he doesn’t want to waste a lot of time at the scene so he makes sure the motorists are already in place. We discovered that they knew each other and are involved in the deal because they ride straight to the houses without any direction given. They even forget and start communicating as people who know each other.
On reaching where the houses are, his boda guys remain behind and then he takes you to see the room you wanted. He is so quick so that other tenants may not realize. He knows that you may get chance to talk to other tenants in case they were there. After seeing the good to be true goodies, he quickly tells you to come out and discuss the rest from outside. He then tells you to talk to the landlord.
NB: this is a fake landlord. He has his friend saves as landlord. He will even go ahead to bargain for you the price. The fake landlord agreed to reduce the houses to 130k. He tells you to organize and meet up to pay the rent for three months.
He then tells you to get back on the boda and they take you back to Ntinda stage.
This is a truck they also use because they don’t want you to go back and check the houses as you may talk to other tenants.
We however refused to take boda and told them that we want to get something to eat from a nearby restaurant. We now wanted to prove whether they were genuine or fake as reported.
We went back to the houses and had a chat with one of the tenants. She told us that the rooms were for UGX 450k per month not the UGX 139k as promised. We were showed the caretakers house and we went to talk to her.
However, the caretaker quickly entered the house and locked herself inside. She told us through the window that she was not around. This was a very disturbing situation as we were left wondering how the person claiming to be away talking from inside her house.
According to our observation, we believe the care taker is also in the deal and she was afraid we had found out.
Things to learn from our experiment and observation.
Do not trust every broker you find online. Many of them are thieves and will fraud you.
Never pay for rent without asking at least three tenants and proving that you are paying the right amount to the right landlord.
Avoid online house brokers mostly found on Facebook, Jiji and Tunda websites and apps. Always visit the broker’s office and know where to find them in case you get a problem. Never trust a broker who has no office.
Avoid things which are good to be true, it is very hard to find cheap and nice houses. Make a lot of research before taking such risky offers.
Do not pay a broker before checking the houses. Try so many other brokers who will go by your terms.
Below are current prices of rooms you can trust in major Kampala suburbs.
Single rooms with no store and no ceilings – UGX 80,000- 100,000
Single rooms with store and ceiling – UGX 110,000- 150k
Single rooms with tiles and in gate – UGX 150m – UGX 200k
Single rooms with toilet inside – UGX 180k – UGX 250k
Single rooms with toilet and kitchen UGX 250k – UGX 350k
Don’t be cheated as many single rooms will range in that price in most Kampala suburbs.
Do you have any broker fraud stories, send them to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via comment section below.